There are few things that kill employee morale and motivation faster than a manager who allows racial, gender or age related put-downs. It isn’t just the employees who find themselves the butt of such put-downs, often in the form of “jokes” (yeah, right, like that’s funny) or not-so-subtle name calling (“Gramps” “Lesbo” “Brown Sugar”) who object to such treatment, the majority of today’s employees consider such put-downs unacceptable.
Don’t you accept them!
1. When a prejudiced joke crosses your company email, when you hear an employee, even under their breath, mutter a slur, speak up! Abuse flourishes in silence. When you fail to address the slur or the joke, you join the abusers. Make it clear to all those who work with and for you that put-downs will not be tolerated.
2. Don’t inadvertently leave certain employees out of key projects or teams or discussions. It can easily happen without your meaning to. Monitor your own behavior. Discourage race/gender/age-ism by making sure to include employees of all stripes as often as possible.
It’s tempting, when you’re the Boss—be that of a department, or the whole business—to give orders and expect them to be carried out, no questions asked. After all, wouldn’t that save a whole bunch of time, and don’t you know best anyway?
Maybe. But slavery was officially abolished in 1865 in the US, and if you think you can order a Millennial around and get away with it . . . good luck!
Genuine leadership is based on 2 principles:
1. The leader has the know-how, skills and command of resources to get what needs to be done, done.
2. The leader understands that success is built on the contributions of every member of the team, and therefore values and supports those contributions.
So check your ego at the door. Take a strict inventory of yourself, and if you don’t have sufficient know-how, skills or command of resources to get the present job done well, do what it takes to achieve those. Ask others for help, get a mentor (yes, CEOs have mentors too), brush up your skills, develop better systems for resources.
Don’t discount the input and opinions of every member of your team. Value, appreciate and above all, put into play as many of your employees’ contributions as you can. They will work that much harder for you, guaranteed, and smile while doing it.
You are so fed up with employees whose response to your requests or instructions is “whatever” – whether actually spoken as such, or just implied by their lackadaisical “I don’t give a hoot” approach to work.
What’s with these people?! Why can’t they put the pedal to the metal, get charged up, show some enthusiasm—heck, you’d settle for a modicum of interest in what they’re doing.
Then I guess you’d better show a modicum of interest in what your employees are doing. Employees need feedback! Yes, they love positive feedback, otherwise known as recognition, but often employees just want feedback—good or bad.
Too often, bosses and managers figure “Heck, my employees are getting a paycheck, surely that’s feedback enough.” No, it’s not. Study after study shows a paycheck is necessary but insufficient to generate enthusiasm.
So give it. Give your employees feedback, preferably more strokes (a lot more) than criticism, but both are valuable. Give your employees feedback and they’ll be less inclined to be “whatever.”
Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s the loss of an account, maybe new HR requirements are costing you. For whatever reason, the company or your department is having financial problems. It happens.
But at team meetings, inter-departmental meetings, whenever you meet with employees for any reason, you’re Mr/Ms Chipper Everything-Is-Hunky-Dory. Which would be fine, except when the stuff hits the fan, and the layoffs begin. Or budgets are slashed.
Now, your employees don’t trust you. They don’t know any more when a happy face means “happy” versus “faking it.” And they’re going to bank on “faking it” because they feel betrayed when your happy face ends up in them getting laid off.
Employee engagement suffers. Enthusiasm for the job wanes. The downward spiral begins.
Don’t sugar-coat! You don’t need to panic employees but you certainly owe them a certain measure of honesty. “We’re going through a rough patch, and doing all we can to get through it successfully,” for example, lets your employees know what the skinny is, without hitting the panic button.
Now you can invite employee help through said rough patch, which they’ll be much more willing to give.