My HR role affords me a unique opportunity to get into the heads of the rank and file; my colleagues who perform the important work of the business. I’ve learned a lot about what frustrates employees about their direct supervisors based on conversations with staff over the years.
There are several themes that continue to be a a source of frustration for staff. Here’s a list of the top 4 things that you may be doing every day that frustrate your employees to the nth degree:
1. Micromanaging your staff. This continues to be one of the biggest hair raising concerns that employees have with their supervisor. Your staff understand that there’s a very fine line between giving an employee the direction needed to complete a project, versus barking directives at them every step of the way as if they are incompetent. Employees recognize that closely managing your employee may be needed on those occasions where there are certified performance issues. But sans any workplace issues, your staff want you to step back and let them do the jobs that they were hired to do. It’s fine to make any expectations that you have clear but then give them the ball and let them run with it.
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2. Changing the rules mid stream, (sending mixed messages). Employees have shared stories of supervisors who change their workplace expectations from day to day; express concern over projects not being completed on time while neglecting to acknowledge that they’ve pulled their employee in multiple directions by asking them to stop one “important” task to work on a second or even third “more important task”. Employees understand that sometimes priorities change, yet feel disrespected when your changing priorities are then used to lambaste them when a task is not completed. Bottom line: Your staff don’t want to be called on the carpet for not finishing a task when you’ve changed the rules midstream.
3. Highlighting mistakes and ignoring accomplishments. It’s your role as a manager to make your employees aware of minor issues with the intent of helping them to grow. But oftentimes your intent to highlight minor faux pas can be perceived as overly critical; especially when achievements are never acknowledged. Make a point of letting your employees know that you are aware of all of the wonderful things that they do, both big and small on a regular basis.
4. Not developing staff. I’m a major proponent of employees, “taking charge of their career”. But managers do have a responsibility for helping staff to continue to develop their skills. It’s human nature to want to hold your staff close when they are really good at what they do for fear of losing them. But it’s a best management practice to help expand an employee’s skill set. Look at it this way; staff who are interested in professional development will leave you anyway if they aren’t getting their needs met. Isn’t it better to develop your employees in ways that can benefit you and the organization while they are still working for you than to lose them prematurely because they are unhappy? It’s frustrating for staff who are ambitious and are interested in learning new things to feel that they are being restricted from learning and growing within an organization.
It just takes a little tweaking of your management style to improve employee morale within you organization.
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