When we have trouble with an employee, it’s easy to place the blame on them. If they’d only followed the procedure, or if they’d only understood the clients’ needs, or if they’d showed more initiative, then things might not have gone wrong. The problem is that it’s not always the employee’s fault. Sometimes we’re truly the one who deserves the blame.
Want to make sure you don’t unintentionally create the situation you’re trying to avoid? Here are 6 behaviors that are guaranteed to cause problems in your workplace.
1. Give your employee a lofty title. You might think that you’re doing an employee a favor if you hire them to handle your social media and have their business cards printed with the title of “Director of Marketing.” You can be creating a nightmare situation, though. I once hired a bright and talented employee, and for marketing purposes, I made her a director of one of my company’s departments. When she did a little research and discovered that people who shared her title typically made far more money than she did, she quit. Not only did I lose a great member of my staff, but she also floundered in her job search, discovering that she wasn’t actually qualified for the positions she wanted. Give your staff appropriate titles that reflect not only their abilities, but also their real-world position in relation to the rest of their field.
2. Make a technical person into a manager – and vice versa. We tend to promote people who excel in their field, whether it’s sales or accounting, giving them more money and a more prestigious title. The problem , though, is that management has its own distinct skill set, and being a competent sales person doesn’t necessarily mean that your employee is capable of managing the entire sales department. Likewise, a manager doesn’t necessarily have the fine expertise required to complete all of the duties of the folks they manage. Make sure you hire and promote based on your employees’ abilities with relation to the tasks they’ll actually have to accomplish.
3. Fail to prepare for their arrival. When new employees arrive home, the first question they’ll be asked is “How was your first day?” The problem is that we often stick new hires in a corner to fill out paperwork, rather than carefully planning their first day in a way that leaves the employee with a great first impression. Don’t give your new hires the impression that you’re disorganized or that you don’t really need their contribution to the team. Plan carefully and wow your new staff. Set them up to be impressed and feel honored to be part of your team.
4. Mishandle praise and punishment. In addition to handling criticism in private, one of the most important things you need to learn is that employees need to know what they’re doing right. It’ s best to give specific praise in front of fellow staff, reinforcing the positive behavior that you want to see continue from every employee.
5. Give one-way feedback. If all of the information that’s exchanged between you and your employee flows in a single direction, then something’s very wrong. Communication requires at least two participants, and if you’re not soliciting your staff’s feedback on how you’re managing them and what they need in order to be able to do their job successfully, then you’re missing the boat.
6. Fail to establish clear, measurable expectations and a formal review process. Even if you communicate with your staff on a daily basis, you must ensure that you give them formal feedback on their progress and standing in your company. Ideally, you should have formal employee reviews once per quarter, or semi-annually at the very least. Clear, measurable goals mean that your staff knows exactly what they need to do to keep the boss happy and stay in good standing. It also ensures that you keep your company headed in the right direction.
Yes, you’re the boss, and yes, you’re in charge, but being in charge also means taking accountability for things that don’t go as planned. By establishing open communication, appropriate methods for disciplining your staff, and by planning for how you’ll handle any problems that arise, you’re setting your company up for success.