You are a dark assassin, quietly stalking the cubicle farm with a micromanaging katana, slicing down any semblance of joy your employees might feel for their job. This is your job after all; a happy employee is an unproductive employee, right? Maybe you should ask Google if your statement holds true and loose the 1950s managerial handbook “How to Make Your Workers Miserable While Smoking , Drinking Scotch and Having An Affair With The Secretary”. To be fair, you morale assassinating ways might not even be intentional, but here are some mistakes that are guaranteed to shove the rusted sword of discontent into the job satisfaction of even the most motivated employee.
1. Public Execution
You don’t even have the dignity to blindfold them and give them a cigarette before you riddle your victim with verbal bullets. There is a reason that humanity has decided (okay, most of humanity) that public humiliation and executions aren’t all that civilized; it’s because they’re not. You on the other hand, treat reprimands like an executioner implementing the Bloody Code they’re always public, vicious and make at least one person watching cry. Reprimanding your employees publicly not only demoralizes the victim, it also demoralizes the entire team. If you really absolutely need to criticize an employee, pull them aside before you berate them.
2. Falling on the Grenade
Actually falling on the grenade isn’t exactly the right description…it’s more like tossing the grenade towards your team. A sure fire way to make sure no employee gives a rat’s ass or flying flark about their work, is never owning up to mistakes. You expect accountability from your employees and they in turn expect accountability from you, by passing on the responsibility of failures to subordinates faster than someone handling a dangerous device (like the earlier mentioned grenade) you will demotivate your people faster than someone that was just tossed a dangerous device and has nowhere else to throw it.
3. The Monarch
Off with their head! If you’re managing strategy is reminiscent of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, i.e. to threaten every single infraction with termination, then eventually you will lose your own head. In a metaphorical sense, of course, because employees that are under the constant threat of losing their jobs will jump ship quicker than a sailor on fire (because water is all around the ship, thus the quickest way to extinguish themselves). Eventually, your organization will be bleeding talent faster than you can hire and without talent you are up to a fecal creek without a paddle. I apologize for all the nautically themed metaphors.
4. Suicide Mission
When you know that there is no way in hell you are getting out of a situation alive, you tend to not give a real big sh*t. This is exactly the case of you as a commander- um, sorry, I mean manager. You set the bar so unbelievably high that there is no way in hell goals can be met. This is also true if your lofty goals have such a tight deadline that people would literally have to negate basic human functions such as sleeping, eating and excreting to meet it. So, before you imagine your glorious victory beating out every single company record, think of what it will do to your soldiers…I mean, subordinates. If you do it frequently enough you will end up with a cubicle farm full of jaded, dead-eyed and hardened employees that really don’t care what the next goal is, because they aren’t going to meet it anyway.
Do you know of any other factors that can kill morale? Let us know in the comment section below.