Nearly three in four Americans are disgruntled with their jobs—and their bosses are a big reason.
Ever wonder if your employees hate you? Bad bosses are the primary reason 70 percent of workers report they hate or are disengaged from their jobs, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report.
Todd Rhoad, managing director of BT Consulting in Atlanta, is a career coach for high-achieving individuals—many of whom have experienced frustration due to an intolerable boss. Here are the three biggest sins Rhoad sees business owners commit against employees, and how they can turn their actions around.
You’re a micromanager.
If business were a football game, “all of the coaches (managers) would be on the field seeking the glory days while the best and brightest sit on the sidelines watching the spectacle,” Rhoad says. Why do so many business owners feel compelled to hover over their employees? They’re afraid of feeling disconnected from the business, according to Rhoad, and they stick with what they know. For example, a business owner with a background in accounting may micromanage the employee responsible for dealing with budgets, rather than focusing more on organizational strategy.
Breaking the habit starts with hiring individuals with better credentials, more experience and a stronger track record than the business owner, Rhoad says. “Owners often avoid top performers because they don’t want to accept a challenge from those under them,” he says. “But owners should turn the operations over to capable managers and focus their energy on creating strategy and direction for the organization. If the owner finds they are spending time showing a manager how to do their work, they’ve made a hiring mistake.”
You’re a glory thief.
A surefire way to demotivate employees: a manager who takes credit for his or her employees’ work and doesn’t reward them for contributing good ideas. “The reason most owners get it wrong is that they don’t do it often enough and they don’t reward employees with something they value,” Rhoad says.
Using an online survey tool, a business owner can easily survey the management team to learn specifically what each manager needs to remain satisfied at work, be it public recognition of an accomplishment, a leadership role in a project team or an intellectually challenging task.
You have a God complex.
If your employees see you as arrogant and watch you make bad decisions alone, seemingly with no repercussions, watch out. “I’ve seen so many small companies collapse because their management would make major decisions without seeking the expertise to make such a decision,” Rhoad says.
Any major consideration needs input from subject-matter experts—but don’t call in a consultant just yet. “I would only consult an outside source to validate the solutions offered internally or possibly when the topic is beyond the expertise of your internal experts, such as a new product or market,” Rhoad says. “You can’t alienate your employees from decisions that are vital to the company’s existence. Rewards will do little to overcome the fact that the employees are not seen as contributing members of the organization. They want ownership in its future.”