Low team morale is one of the biggest success killers in the workplace. Whilst everyone has to pull his or her weight together to maintain team morale, ultimately, maintaining morale lies heavily on the manager. So what are the most common mistakes managers make to shatter employee morale? Are you or someone you know guilty of any?
They set staff up for employee burnout
It’s not uncommon for bad managers to push good employees too far. They hire someone based on a job description that was created to fill a full-time week, then build up additional tasks without applying control measures to prevent employee burnout. Studies suggest that employees working an 80 hour a week get no more work done than employees working 50, so watching employees stay back all hours of the day to do their job isn’t practical. Managers will turn to their best employees when an extra task needs doing, but a manager should never forget what they principally hired that individual to do and what core activity makes them valuable. Good managers should keep their employees focused on key tasks, delegate with thought and monitor their workload tightly.
They don’t use enough positive reinforcement
Human beings have an instinctive nature to let things pass without comment unless something goes wrong. This can be anything from a simple spelling mistake to a missed deadline. This often means good work goes un-noticed and underappreciated. Remember, it’s the good work an employee does that generates company success, so its needs to be acknowledged. It could be a great email they sent round or the way they dealt with a particular client meeting or colleague. A good manager will sit down with their team on a 1-2-1 basis to establish what work they value the most and want the most recognition for. Ultimately, a manager who doesn’t apply positive reinforcement will eventually chip at an employee’s obligation to do their job at all.
They allow their team to take the hit
The employee hierarchy system needs to be acknowledged when a mistake is made within the team and good managers need to demonstrate that they can accept responsibility for mistakes made under their leadership. As well, good managers never pull an employee up for their mistake in front of others. They manage the matter in confidence and with a solution focused approach. A good leader should never address an employee’s mistake without having a solution in mind first. Finishing it off with a solution shows strong leadership and direction.
Managers over promise and under deliver
How many times have you heard your manager tease you with the promise of a new employee benefit or a pay rise? Or a juicy project to sink your teeth into? Come 6 months later and none of it has materialised. What’s happened here is that the manager has over promised and under delivered. Effective managers have plans for their employees in the pipeline but measure control on when these will be rolled out or if they are possible at all. For example, a manager cannot promise their employee a promotion in the next year if there is an ongoing hiring freeze. When managers fail to deliver, employees get distrustful and incredibly de-motivated. Don’t promise 10 things and deliver on 3. Promise 3 and deliver on 4!
Managers tell employees ‘that’s not how we do things round here’
Simply, if smart employees don’t feel like their ideas and ‘smarts’ are valued, they will leave! As well, this will kill off innovation within the team and managers will then wonder why performance has gone stagnant.
To conclude, it’s very important that before managers start evaluating team morale, they start with themselves first. High performing managers mustn’t be afraid to ask for employee feedback and must remain solution focused when addressing a dip in energy or performance within in the team.
You must have experienced low team morale at some point. What initiative did you or your manager take to tackle the issue?
Akbar Ali, Team Leader at Projectus Consulting
Image Credit: Peter Naake Law
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