Some people hate to be criticized, and nobody wants to hear unpleasant news. In the business world, however, there are times when both need to be done.
Bad news and criticism rarely flows up; it almost always rolls downhill, from management to the rank-and-file. Employees don’t communicate problems, criticize or are the bearer of unpleasant news, simply because they are often terrified of losing their jobs.
There are some issues that human resources experts hear often, in virtually every business and industry. These are the problems that hinder productivity, prevent collaboration and create a disgruntled and dysfunctional workplace.
The six things employees wish they could tell you:
- Micromanagement Is Bad Management.
The desire to keep your fingers in every pie is not a way to run a business; it saps initiative and blocks autonomy. Too much control from you means less control in your staff. When the time comes for employees to work on their own, they will not be able to respond to the challenge. Micromanagement doesn’t allow employees the tools to be successful. They are only dependent on you, leaving you working twice as hard to re-train your employees just so they can be independent.
- Demands Are Not Incentives.
Forcing employees is not the way to get things done. Too much “stick” and not enough “carrot” only adds to a stressful, non-productive workplace. By relying on threats to get the job done, you submit your workers to a substantial disadvantage. Plus, they are working out of fear, not a sense of a common goal.
- Take Responsibility.
Everyone in the corporate structure has responsibilities. As a manager, you are in charge of promoting company values, recognizing what is working (or not) in the workplace and taking appropriate steps to make things right. If you have not accomplished your mission, be responsible for your actions (or inactions).
- Why Should I Be The Bad Guy?
There are times when I have to “take one for the team” with customers, clients or co-workers. That doesn’t mean I like it, or even do it without question. By explaining employees’ role in the “bigger picture,” treat them with respect and develop incentives to soften the blow, maybe you will need to rely on us “bad guys” a little less.
- Just Ask, If You Don’t Know Something.
Nobody likes to be the fool, but pretending you know something you genuinely don’t can be extremely harmful for morale. Good management comes from respect, and respect comes from honesty. So when you come upon something that is beyond your expertise, be honest and ask!
- An Effective Workplace Starts From The Top.
It is a fact of life; all things roll downhill naturally. This is especially true for attitude. Treating employees poorly will result in customers being handled in the same way.
The main reason employees leave is not the company, it is management. Everything you do as an employer has consequences, good and bad. If you act appropriately and professionally, these unintended negative consequences can be kept in check. You do have power, much more than you realize, to transform disgruntled employees into energetic team members. It all starts with you.
Take these six pieces of (constructive) criticism to heart, to address potential issues before they turn into uncontrollable difficulties. Look at yourself first, because you can be sure that well-managed, respected and engaged employees are always more productive and effective.