Every little thing a business leader does has an impact on the success or failure of the organization, from the style of clothing they wear to the attitude they exhibit around the workplace. Unfortunately, this means that business leaders could be committing any number of unconscious behaviors that are negatively affecting how their workplace functions.
Business leaders need to do their utmost to act intentionally in the workplace to ensure that employees are appropriately motivated to do their work to the best of their abilities. Here are a few mistakes many leaders might be making and how to fix the resulting dips in performance and morale.
Delaying Important Talks With Employees
Managers are undeniably busy, and many have to-do lists that will keep their schedules packed for weeks on end. However, when an employee approaches their superior and asks to talk, managers should drop everything to make time for that worker.
Employees have their own responsibilities, and few will request a meeting for something less than extremely important. A manager who tries to schedule time to talk in a few days or weeks only shows their worker that their concerns are low on their boss’s list of priorities, which will result in a plunge in morale. Taking a raincheck on an important talk is a small but significant action that managers should always try to avoid.
Criticizing Employees in Front of Others
Humans are social creatures, and whenever groups of people get together, gossip will ensue. While workplaces can control harmful gossip with honesty and transparency, business leaders will never be able to prevent the spread of information from worker to worker. Ultimately, this means that anything a manager says to one employee is bound to get out — to include criticism of an employee’s performance.
Though managers are bound to feel frustrated by some workers, it is imperative that they keep their feelings to themselves. Airing grievances about employees, especially to other employees, will create a divide in the workforce and encourage damaging competition within the team. Managers can dole out public praise with abandon, but disapproval should be reserved for private employee evaluations.
Ignoring Workplace Conflict
Just as gossip is inevitable in the workplace, conflict always arises when people with different backgrounds are expected to work together. In the workplace, conflict is rarely so disruptive that it interrupts work entirely, so many managers elect to ignore conflict until it becomes obvious and unbearable.
Many people are uncomfortable with conflict, but business leaders need to recognize that addressing and resolving conflict is a significant responsibility for their role. Even seemingly small conflicts between employees can create workplace tensions that reduce productivity, so managers need to be willing and able to help their team work through conflicts as soon as they develop.
Placing Too Much Pressure on High-performing Employees
Some employees are better than others. Not everyone can be top talent — but expecting top talent to pick up the slack for the rest of the team is a bad management strategy. Go-getters enjoy extra responsibilities and tough challenges, but only if they are appropriately recognized for their efforts and accomplishments. Expectations that remain too high for too long will cause burnout amongst the most important staff, and performance will plummet.
Managers can utilize effective performance management processes to better understand which employees are reaching individual and organizational goals and which employees need a more encouragement. When high-performing employees’ numbers start to dip, business leaders can give them the support they need to keep going.
Justifying Poor Behavior
Many managers know that they are not doing their best to motivate, inspire and lead in the workplace, but it is easy for them to justify their poor behavior. Business leadership is difficult, and stress causes people to behave in all sorts of unproductive ways. However, few will respect excuses when they are used again and again without any impactful change to attitude and actions.
The only appropriate response to poor behavior is a concerted effort to avoid the same behavior in the future. Business leaders need to implement strategies in their professional and personal lives that allow them to recognize and avoid negative responses. This might mean reevaluating their work-life balance or finding new tricks for deescalating emotions as they arise.
It is not possible for a business leader to be a perfect model of workplace behavior — but they should try. By avoiding the above dangerous behaviors, business leaders will create a more productive and profitable place to work.