We all wish to advance in our careers, that’s why we work long hours and are even willing to take work home. If you’ve played your cards right, then you might have already earned the promotion that you were after. Unfortunately, your rise to the top does not always inspire the admiration and respect of your colleagues.
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As you ascend the ladder, you’ll have more to prove, and there will be more people looking at you, evaluating every move you make. Your actions and decisions, whether right or wrong, will inevitably affect more people than they did before, which can be scary. Therefore you have to be careful, because in the face of fear, you might end up shouting at your employees or micromanaging them hoping for better results. If you go down this road then eventually you will have created a wall around you and you will have lost the human touch that you were once proud of, while you will also have managed to earn the wrath of your employees.
The top can be lonely and scary even when you know in your heart you have earned the position. You have to value your employees and make sure you listen to them as this is the most important leadership skill to succeed in a managerial or supervisory position. If you suspect that your employees already hate you, fear not; the list below includes both the signs that your employees are likely to demonstrate if they hate you and solutions to remedy the situation in order to earn their respect.
1. Non-Existent Communication
focus is getting work done, taking a few minutes to discuss the weather or the latest internet fad is healthy. However, if your employees hate you, they will keep conversations strictly professional and avoid any ‘fun’ conversations with you. They will treat you like an outsider and cease conversation immediately you appear. Alternatively, they will limit their conversation even on work-related matters to short answers, and they will only give you explanations after hours of probing.
Resolve: Listen, listen and the listen some more. Listening will make you a better leader and earn you the respect and trust of your employees. It also allows you to influence your employees in a way that inspires them to do things a certain way. Take time to receive feedback from your employees in a group setting and one-on-one meetings. Make their time valuable by taking their feedback and acting on it. If you cannot act immediately, give them feedback on your position. They may not like your feedback, but they will respect that you took the time to listen to them and address their concerns. This will also make them feel more confident on consulting you.
Additionally, understand that your employees will not understand you. Often, they will think you have it easier than them and will give you a hard time about it. Understanding this early will help you differentiate between hate and them treating you like their boss. So make sure that you learn how to enjoy your own company. If you can’t do that, then focus on enjoying the company of people outside the work environment. Make regular lunch dates with friends outside the office so that your employees’ gloomy attitude towards you doesn’t get you down.
2. You are in Their Space or You Are Unavailable
Employees hate employers who micromanage. Your role as the leader is to set goals, divide tasks and provide the proper tools and support for your team. Often, employees will work within themselves to deliver the results and sometimes go beyond expectation. However, if you are on their case all the time demanding that they perform their tasks within specific limitations or do things your way; you will quickly earn their hate.
Leadership is an art of balance. Giving your employees too much space can also be dangerous. Your employees understand that you are on top and that your opinion matters, they crave your feedback. If you do not give regular feedback, your employees will create a wall and start to resent you. You’ll become the person who only speaks to them when giving instructions or in problematic times, which will have negative effects on the team.
Resolve: As a leader, you have to learn how to balance. Focus more on earning the respect and trust of your employees than on earning their love. Evaluate all situations carefully and then select the appropriate approach. Choose your battles wisely; do not sweat the small stuff; only confront an issue as a last resort to avoid unnecessary confrontations. Develop systems that allow you to oversee your employees’ work while giving them room to get creative. For example, you can ask for biweekly reports on projects or evaluation meetings on a regular basis.
3. You Overpromise
As a manager or supervisor, you constantly yearn the liking of your employees. To stay in their good books, you will find yourself making promises you cannot keep. Alternatively, you may promise your clients heaven and then pressure your employees to deliver. Either way, your ‘false’ promises may sound like a good idea in the beginning but they will only earn you the wrath of your employees with time. Keeping it real is not easy but is part of the job.
Resolve: Be honest at all times. Honesty will save you long explanations and earn you respect as a confident leader even in tough times. If you make a promise, follow through with it. Avoid situations where you have to give excuses or explanations; it affects your credibility.
4. Compliments Get a Cold Stare
As the head of your team, you will regularly applaud your teammates for a god job, if your employees respond with a cold stare or seem uninterested; it might be a sign that they hate your guts. Your employees feel that your compliment is not genuine. Alternatively, they may feel that you look down on them. Your words or actions may have given them the impression that you think you are better that them, which makes them detest you.
Resolve: Understand that your position does not make you better than your employees. Your role as a leader is to serve those you lead and help them achieve a common goal. Consult your employees on a regular basis; involve them in decision-making and consult them especially on decisions that directly affect their work. Make your employees feel special by showing that you appreciate the knowledge and skills they bring to the team.
Leadership is hard. You will often have to rely on yourself to go through the work weak. Learn to laugh and value the sound of your laughter. Being at the top can easily suck the energy out of your lungs. Take time off from work to get a good laugh and get positive energy into your body. Watch a funny YouTube clip during your breaks or catch up with friends after work for a good laugh. Laughing will help you relieve work related stress. As a stress-free leader, you are more likely to interact better with your colleagues. After all, nobody likes a grumpy boss.
Remember that leadership is about making mistakes and accepting that you will always be a student. Approach it confidently and open yourself to new learning experiences. Get close friends to keep you in check and cheer you on when things go right. Additionally, understand that your new position is about personal growth and take advantage of the lessons you will learn in this role.