Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else at work hates you? Everyone hates their boss, right? Not so. If you perform your job correctly, your team members should feel comfortable around you–not feel like throwing you off the top of the office building. What are you doing wrong? Consider these bad habits that are making you a terrible boss.
1. You Don’t Communicate Well (But Expect Your Employees To)
You know darn well that you can’t read an employee’s mind. So why do you expect your team members to read yours? It’s frustrating for everyone when there’s little communication occurring. When you chew out employees for not communicating well but you’re just as guilty of it yourself, the work environment quickly becomes negative and stressful.
To start communicating better, consider these tips:
- Set aside time for communicating. Spend at least 15 minutes per day engaging in informal conversation with employees to create a comfortable atmosphere. Consider having a weekly one-on-one meeting with individuals or groups to discuss concerns within the team.
- Make sure people understand your message. Before you begin speaking with your team members, evaluate your own abilities and prepare yourself to deliver the full message. Leave the floor open for questions in case you’ve been unclear.
- Recognize good work. If the only messages you send are negative, employees will start rolling their eyes and ignoring you. Create an environment where you’re heard by sharing positive messages, such as praising employees personally.
- Listen to your employees. Communicating well isn’t all about sharing your message. Make sure you listen to what other team members have to say, taking input seriously and taking action if necessary.
2. You Promote People Before They’re Ready
While offering promotions and incentives is a great way to create a positive environment, it can hurt your team if you promote people before they’re ready. This can lead to stressed out employees who can’t perform their job adequately, leaving everyone with a poor attitude.
Before giving out promotions, test your employees’ skills. You might arrange for an employee to cover for you so you can see how capable he or she is of taking on a larger role. Let them in on a few management decisions to see how they handle it. If an employee can’t handle these small tasks, they’re certainly not ready to take on a full-time promotion.
3. You Take Too Much Pride in Your Role
Being in a powerful position is often a great feeling, but letting it go to your head can quickly turn people against you. If you strut around the office like you’re king and expect your employees to bow at your feet and kiss your ring as you walk by, people are probably going to spit in your coffee. Just because you hold a higher position than others doesn’t mean you’re better than them.
Let your employees know that their role is just as important as yours by praising their contributions, distributing the company’s wealth fairly, and creating an environment of equality with things like sharing a break room.
4. You Don’t Share Your Vision Enough
You may have the perfect road map drawn out in your mind about how the final project is supposed to look. But again, employees can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell them what you expect, how do they know what to deliver? Instead of simply saying, “Get to work,” make sure your employees know exactly how to get from point A to point B by sharing how you envision the final product. Apply this practice to anything from projects for clients to long-term team-building exercises.
5. You Think You Know Everything
Acting like a know-it-all is only going to annoy your employees. If you think you know everything about everything, they’re going to be afraid to share their ideas for fear that you’ll turn them away. Instead, allow your employees to voice their opinions, and make sure to approach the situation with an open mind. You never know what you might learn from others simply by accepting that they have knowledge that you don’t.
6. You Don’t Give Your Employees Freedom
Some bosses set such strict rules that employees feel like they’re in the military. Stop acting so much like a drill sergeant, and start treating your employees like the adults they are. Studies show that employees who are given more freedom are happier, healthier, and more productive than those with a strict set of rules. Consider these ideas to allow more freedom without sacrificing employee productivity:
- Relinquish the 9–5 and let employees choose their own schedule.
- Set a certain amount of time for lunch, but let employees take it when they like.
- Implement a BYOD program to give employees flexibility with their mobile devices.
- Allow employees to listen to music while at work. It will boost their job satisfaction and productivity. [Source]
- Create a work-at-home option whereby employees can work remotely one day or more per week.
- Don’t harp on employees when they’re on their phone. Short Internet or texting breaks can actually make them more productive! [Source]
7. You Promote Competition
A little competition can be a good thing and motivate employees, but when you’re constantly pitting groups against each other, the competition can get fierce. This effectively creates a drama-filled, negative environment. Instead of promoting competition against other employees, motivate your team by praising work based on the individual, not how he or she compares to everyone else.
8. You Take All the Credit
Have you ever been praised for a project by a client or someone higher up only to say something like, “Thank you, Sir. I worked really hard on it.” Notice how there’s no mention of your team members? If you’re taking credit for all your delegated tasks, people won’t want to stick around on your team. Give credit where credit is due by speaking about your team or specific team members depending on who actually did the work.
Being a great boss is a tough job. If you avoid these bad habits, becoming a boss people actually like will be much easier.
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