You spend a great deal of time recruiting and training the best people possible. But are you driving them crazy without realizing it? It’s possible, says human resources consultant Roberta Matuson, founder of Matuson Consulting and author of Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace that Attracts and Keeps the Best (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2013). Just like few people will tell you if you have bad breath, employees aren’t generally eager to point out the error of these management ways, she says. So, check yourself for these bad behaviors.
1. Saying one thing and (appearing) to do another.
If you've just gotten everyone on board with foregoing raises this year because company profits are down, don't show up driving a new Lexus a few weeks later. Even you got a great deal on the lease or your spouse surprised you with it for your birthday, you’re not acting the way you’ve asked everyone else to act, Matuson says. That can make your employees feel duped and erode their trust in you.
2. Cheaping out.
It's one thing to have a method of purchasing supplies to reduce costs. It’s something else to refuse to invest in the equipment or support your employees need to be effective, Matuson says. If the copier has duct tape on it or your servers are constantly crashing because you have a sub-standard IT service provider, you need to revisit how you’re spending money on your business.
"If the equipment they need keeps breaking down or you’re constantly understaffed, your employees can't perform at their best. Eventually, that’s going to wear on their morale," Matuson says. "You have to find ways to give people what they need to do their jobs."
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This one is a biggie. If you hired good people to work for you and you’ve trained them properly, let them do their jobs. Correct performance problems with more training, but if the outcome and efficiency are acceptable, you have to let go and let them do their jobs. Micromanaging demoralizes your employees and reduces their incentive to find new and better ways to do their jobs because they know you’re always going to correct them.
Next time you’re tempted to tell someone they’re “doing it wrong,” ask yourself if that’s really necessary. If not, take a deep breath and move on, Matuson says.
4. Expecting everyone to be like you.
You didn’t hire clones. That’s a good thing because different people bring fresh ideas and insights to your business -- but only if you let them. You might think that sleek open floor plan is great for collaboration, but some employees may do their best work in a more private setting. You might love to work on Sundays when the phone is not ringing, but your assistant likely wants at least most of his weekends off. Respect the different personalities and preferences among your employees, and understand what they need to do their best work.
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