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20 ways to make your employees detest you

Thursday, December 18, 2008   By Mike Reddy


It’s all too easy to get people offside through poor communication – the careless remark that cuts to the quick, the dismissive answer. People make mistakes in how they communicate with others all the time.

Managers are no different.

Ask yourself if you deal with your employees in any of the ways listed below. Every one of them demonstrates a careless indifference to the concerns of the other person or a gap between talking the talk and actually walking the walk. Any discrepancy between the talking and the walking will get you labelled as a bad communicator and a bad boss.

  1. Ask people for their opinions, ideas, and continuous improvement suggestions, and fail to acknowledge their contribution or provide a reason for why it can’t be implemented. Worse - acknowledge it was a good idea and then proceed to do nothing about implementing it.
  2. Tell them they are in charge of something because they have the most skills and knowledge then step in and micromanage how they do things. Worse - undermine or change their decisions without explaining why.
  3. Ask people for their input as if their feedback mattered even though you have already made up your mind about the final decision.
  4. Call a meeting and turn up late leaving everybody frustrated with the waste of their time. Worse - send in a message saying something more important has come up and you can’t make it after all.
  5. Bring the kids or pet dog in and let them run riot then ask an employee to clean up the mess.
  6. Badmouth employees to their colleagues. They’ll know they will be getting the same rubbishing from you behind their back in their turn. Just as bad – humiliate them in meetings in front of coworkers.
  7. Set a strict dress code for employees then turn up in your track suit. Worse (at least from a fashion statement point of view) – tuck them into a pair of Ugg boots).
  8. Fail to address behaviour and actions of people that are inconsistent with company policy. Worse - apply them inconsistently or make excuses for the shortcomings of favourites.
  9. Make your priority everybody’s priority by always getting people to drop what they were doing and help you out. Worse – then blame them for not getting their tasks done on time.
  10. Appropriate your employee’s idea and take credit for it. Worse – do it in a team meeting (at least some of the people there will know who really came up with the idea first).
  11. Change your mind frequently about plans and timelines without good reason. Worse - fail to communicate the changes to the people expected to do the work.
  12. Allow an employee to fail when you had information that he did not and which he might have used to make a different decision.
  13. Speak loudly and rudely to intimidate people. Worse - dominate all conversations so people don’t get the opportunity to respond to accusations and comments.
  14. Refuse to accept constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  15. Ignore certain people and/or favour others. Worse – be inconsistent and make a person a superstar one day and a non event the next.
  16. Let your anger show by swearing, bullying employees, shouting at them on the phone and slamming doors on them.
  17. Don't return the calls or emails of employees - keep them wondering.
  18. Slap down questions, concerns and ideas that come up in meetings. Worse – belittle the person who dared to speak up.
  19. Cut off the employee you were talking to to take a personal call no matter how important the matter under discussion – or unimportant the personal call.
  20. Misrepresent or distort conversations with your employees when discussing them with a third party.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.