We all know that employee morale can have a huge impact —positive or negative — on the performance and success of an organization. But what you may not realize is that the overall attitude, satisfaction and outlook of a company’s employees rest nearly completely on the leadership skills of its executives, managers, and supervisors. In many instances, leaders don’t realize that they are contributing to a morale issue within their organization. Here are some of the biggest morale-killing behaviors to watch out for:
Discouraging constructive criticism
A lot of workplace leaders struggle with accepting unfavorable – but constructive – feedback from their subordinates. After all, you’ve likely been in this industry longer and/or worked for this company much longer than they have – why should you listen to someone with less experience and workplace wisdom compared to you?
Answer: because they may have valuable insight that you’d miss out on if they don’t speak up. If you want to truly develop an innovative workplace culture, then you need to follow through when you promise your employees that they can offer input when they have ideas or suggestions. All too often, bosses verbally encourage this, while their reactions to criticism suggest they’re not so open to feedback like they say they are. Make sure your words align with your actions and be willing to accept constructive criticism from those working closely with you.
It’s hard to feel motivated to perform your job when you know more than half of your tasks will be intensely scrutinized and criticized by your boss later on. Micromanaging bosses tend to correlate with higher employee turnover rates because most people don’t want someone constantly checking up on them and making sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.
Micromanaging your employees can make them feel like you think they’re incompetent (even if this isn’t what you truly think), and most adults don’t want to feel like they’re children with overbearing parents watching their every move in the workplace. Many employees value at least an average level of independence to complete their assignments (within reason, of course), so do yourself and your employees a favor by learning to let go and trust them until/unless they prove themselves incapable of completing assignments on time and/or correctly.
Valuing efficiency above all else
If your only value is efficiency, then hopefully your employees are all machines and robots because human beings aren’t built for maximum efficiency, all the time. Sometimes, life just gets in the way, whether that’s a mental illness, physical sickness, issues with family at home, death of a loved one, financial struggles, or all of the above. Get to know your employees and do what you can to help them not only do their job well but to achieve some level of work-life balance. Have you made any effort to get to know your employees and their career and life goals? Studies have shown that helping employees with life goals —or helping to solve a problem they’re facing — can dramatically increase morale.
Rather than striving for efficiency above all else, take time and effort to display more compassion and understanding towards your employees. Just like you, they’re not perfect – but they’ll be much more willing to give you their best efforts if they feel like you genuinely care about how they’re doing.