There is a saying that goes, “people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.” We’ve found this to be true, especially as we talk with frontline employees about the challenges they’re experiencing with technology. Now, it doesn’t usually become an outright complain-fest about the failures of management, but we’ve noticed the following nine factors that tie poor job morale with lackluster management.
Not in Touch With Their Struggles
It’s the everyday frustrations: Having a single monitor, waiting for their computer to load, a lack of storage, systems crashing—A line of business application that stay constantly in the whirligig of waiting. These are things that all frontline employees experience but aren’t usually passed through the management ranks. Why? Let’s face it—management has the best systems, the quickest support and (usually) the least hands-on involvement with business applications. Good managers recognize these challenges and either provide enough time to deal with them or mitigate them with regular refreshes or improvements. If you don’t, you’re going to continually drain your employees’ energy, create frustration and leave them longing for a more efficient day-to-day.
Lack of Communication
As a manager, have you ever spent hours in a meeting making important decisions and then just expected that your employees understand what happened? Maybe you’re too tired to pass on the information and then get lost in the next item on your to-do list. Maybe you assume that they should already know what’s going on. Lack of communication is a quick ticket to frustration. Every time you make a decision, make sure you have a clear path to inform your teams, whether it’s a daily huddle, a summary email or a classic memo.
Not communicating is one thing. Giving vague instructions and then expecting your team to deliver exactly what you envision is another equally painful result of poor management. Instead, make sure you’re clearly documenting your vision. We utilize Basecamp and Trello for this purpose, ensuring that our teams receive the message and have enough detail to take action. Beyond the written word, make sure you’re touching base with your team daily on progress, questions and areas requiring support.
The opposite of vague direction is micromanagement. No one wants to be monitored constantly, especially in a job that they know like the back of their hand. Put systems in play where you can manage key performance indicators, job performance and time sucks (like restrictions on how long people can spend on Facebook during their workday). Then let your people do their work.
Taking Credit/Not Giving Credit Where It’s Due
After your employees complete their work, make sure you give them credit. This is the number one reason people hate their bosses. Whether it’s an email or meeting shout-out, give your people their gold stars. It will go a long way toward maintaining employee engagement.
Lack of Advocacy
If your employees bring you a problem, (e.g.,. their systems aren’t performing properly, software is making their life unbearable or they spend half their time fixing the copy machine rather than doing their day job), do something about it. If you don’t have someone to help you with these challenges, start looking for someone who can, like a full managed services company. Get your employees’ challenges taken care of so everyone can get back to work.
While any good employee understands that they may need to put in extra hours from time to time, make sure you set certain work expectations from the beginning and hold tight to those expectations. If you do need someone to burn the candle at both ends, at least acknowledge their extra effort.
Not Using Strengths
Each person brings unique skills to the job. Take the time to get to know your employee’s strengths and make sure you’re utilizing them. Granted, everyone is going to have to do their fair share of busywork every once in a while, but the more you can throw them a bone with a task clearly within their zone of passion, the happier they will be.
No Path to Growth
Dead-end jobs lead to zombie employees and great resentment. Make sure you have clear roadmaps in play that drive your employee’s growth and that they understand expectations and benchmarks.
In some situations, an employee may just not get along with their boss. Most often, though, the misstep falls amongst one of these nine issues. As such, they are fairly easy to alleviate with the right technology, communication skills, and clear direction driven by the proper managerial motivation.