5 Reasons Your Employees Probably Hate You

employees, boss, leadership, relationship, retention


Many years ago I worked for a company whose CEO was a stickler for how many hours employees worked. He made a point to note who came early and who stayed late. He considered anyone who didn’t a slacker.

As far as I know, nobody ever told him how shortsighted his approach was. Instead of rewarding results, he rewarded butt-in-chair time. Instead of focusing on output, he focused on input. Most hated the practice, but nobody told him.

How many of your behaviors drive your employees silently crazy that you don’t know about? Here are five leadership missteps to look out for:

1. You reward the wrong things. 
What gets rewarded gets done. It is such a familiar axiom of management that it is nearly cliché. It is, however, completely true. Where you focus your attention focuses your employees’ attention. What you notice, note and reward will get done more frequently.

Identify and focus on the results that matter. And don’t be like the executive above who confused activity with accomplishment.

2. You don’t listen. 
Even if your employees told you about a qualm of theirs, you might not really hear them. It is too easy to be distracted and pre-occupied.

Becoming a better listener is actually quite easy. When an employee is in your workspace to talk, turn off your email alerts, close your door and let your monitor go into sleep mode. Give your undivided attention to the person in front of you. They will feel you value them, and you’ll likely increase the quality and speed of the interaction.

3. You don’t notice what your employees are doing.
Brittney was a financial manager at a client firm. She was bubbly and outgoing. She also had the ability to draw attention to her “contributions,” though many weren’t that significant. Employees hated her self-aggrandizement. But they also disliked that management noted Brittney’s efforts because they were easily observed. Leaders didn’t pay attention to the good and often better work others were doing.

Great work is often done backstage, out of the spotlight. The glitter of self-promotion doesn’t blind great entrepreneurs. They seek out those people doing good work and make it a point to notice. Pay attention to people who do good work and let them know. And don’t get suckered by people who are better at promoting themselves than producing results.

4. Your attitude sucks. 

Bill is an entrepreneur who constantly complains about how terrible his employees are at delivering customer service. He berates and belittles even their best efforts. And yet he’s puzzled why those same employees treat customers poorly. The irony escapes him.

Attitudes are contagious. Mirror neurons pick up on and are affected by the moods of those around us. Leaders are especially powerful in influencing the mood of those on their team.

Don’t expect others to be more upbeat than you or treat customers better than you treat them. There are a few entrepreneurs who might have dodged this bullet, but not enough to be statistically significant. Your attitude is contagious, so pay attention to how you act at work each day.

5. You can’t keep your mouth shut. 
A young entrepreneur we will call Bob loved to share insider information about others. At one after-work beer session, he shared something HR told him confidentially about a coworker who was not at the gathering. It was less than flattering and was instantly off-putting to those in the group. The employee, a valued and productive member of the team, learned of the betrayal of confidence and was outraged. She left the company soon after.

Don’t think that trust can be effectively compartmentalized. If you’re known to be untrustworthy in your personal life, few will trust you in your professional dealings. If people don’t trust you, they will follow, but out of compliance instead of commitment.

No one is a mind-reader. If you want to find out why your team is dissatisfied to be a better leader, work on building trust and being equally open to both good and bad news. Ask them what they really think. And most importantly: listen.                 -Mark Sanborn

Are you a tour guide-style or a travel agent-style leader?

Tour Guide, Behavior, Business, Chief Executive Officers, Leadership and tagged behavior, Business, CEO, Chief Executive Officers, Leadership, Tour guide, Travel, Travel agency.



Are you a tour guide-style or a travel agent-style leader?

In the early years of my career, I used to think that leaders distinguished themselves by rising above their people, so that was my goal. It was the cream of the crop theory. That was a mistake. What I’ve learned – and what has made a complete difference for me – is that leaders distinguish themselves by rising with their people, not above them.

Great leaders take people with them on the journey. They don’t go by themselves. If you’re going along all by yourself, you are not a leader. You might be a self-made, successful person, but you’re not a leader. You might even have recognition as a leader, but you are not truly leading people like you could be. To be a leader, you have to make a decision: Are you going to be a tour guide or a travel agent? Let me explain.

Travel agents can give you brochures and tell you about the trip, while having never even been to that destination. They get the tickets for you and send you off somewhere. You don’t want to lead like a travel agent. Instead, you want to be a tour guide. You want to take people to a place you know well and have spent time in.

You want to bring your people along with you and say, “Let me show you something. I’m going to take you places where I’ve been and lived. I want to tell you all about them as we go.”

What is the downside for the leader who tries to rise above his or her people? Leaders who feel that they should be separated from others and who mistakenly feel that leaders should rise above their people, have a number of detrimental things that can happen to them.

Here are just a few of the things that I have experienced:

  • I was lonely.

We’ve all heard that it is lonely at the top, haven’t we? Well, I was at the top, and yes, I was lonely. (By the way, I know now that it wasn’t a leader who came up with that saying. Think about it. If you’re at the top and you’re all alone, then nobody’s following you.) I realized I was successful; I just wasn’t a successful leader.

If I were you, I’d get off the mountain and go find the people. As soon as I did that, I began to open up a whole new realm of relationships and leadership that I had never experienced.

  • I seldom asked for help.

The reason I seldom asked for help is because I thought it was a sign of weakness. I thought that I had to be Mr. Answer Man. Why would a leader ask somebody for help? After all, that would make the leader kind of like the people, and after a while, you could be a commoner if you weren’t careful.

But reality set in and I quickly discovered that sooner or later, everyone needs help, and admitting it does not make you less of a leader. In fact, it helped me become a better leader because it bridged a gap between myself and those who followed me.

  • I was very position conscious.

As a young leader, I was always making sure that I had my title, my position and my rights. Let me tell you, leaders come from all walks of life, and they often lead people without the benefit of a position or a title. They do it by building influence with others. People who are focused on their position are too wrapped up in rights and responsibilities to influence anyone. They are too busy protecting themselves instead of spending their time influencing others.

  • I was very competitive.

I became very competitive during my initial leadership development process, because t I was always trying to beat someone else. People are not apt to follow you if your goal is to defeat them and make a loser out of them. Leaders encourage people and make them feel like winners. As soon as I learned that I was working with the people around me, rather than working against them, I began to influence them in ways I hadn’t before. They began to see me as their leader rather than a competitor.

Remember, the most successful people realize that they can only make it as a team. They can’t do it if all they seek it recognition and titles for themselves. They can’t do it if they are competing against those who can help them the most.

Make a commitment to rise with your people, to take them along on your journey, and you will see them follow you in ways you have not seen before.

                                                          John Maxwell, is the author of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”