Are your employees happy? Do you feel like they’re performing at a level equal to their skills and potential?
Or do you find getting good work from them is like pulling teeth? Do some of them have one foot out the door (or, maybe, already left)?
We’re all responsible for our own thoughts and attitudes, and the same goes for your employees. Yet, too often in the workplace, the conditions we create as managers make our employees unhappy, unmotivated, and ultimately crush morale.
As a leader, it’s important to recognize how you impact those around you. No matter where you are in the org chart, from first-level manager to CEO, your efforts and attitude impact your team.
Gallup calls this the “Cascade Effect” as they found engagement at one level impacts the morale of those below them in an organization:
However, your attitude alone is not enough to make someone on your team engaged and performing at their highest level. To truly improve employee morale, you have to take action on the things that cause frustration and ruin a workplace.
Below are 5 common ways managers contribute to even the best employees being discouraged and disengaged.
Some managers are very hands off. They give their teams a wide berth and a lot of autonomy to do their jobs.
Other managers are very hands on. Some might even call them micro-managers when taken too far.
Both approaches are wrong.
Management is not one size fits all. Sometimes you need to be hands on. Other times, staying out of the way is the best thing you can do.
Andy Grove, cofounder of Intel, coined the phrase Task Relevant Maturity in his management classic, High Output Management. Basically, it’s taking the idea that you should be as hands on (or off) as needed, depending on the experience level of your employee for the specific task they currently have. This chart explains it best:
The problem managers run into is that they look at Task Relevant Maturity at the employee level instead of the task level.
When an employee is taking on a new task or responsibility, they want guidance and help. When they struggle at doing something and there’s no help to be found, it’s frustrating and discouraging.
Meanwhile, when they know what they’re doing, and they’re meeting or exceeding your expectations, the last thing they want is you telling them exactly how to do their work.
Consider each person on your team and where the stand in Task Relevant Maturity for their core responsibilities. Adjust how hands on or off you are based on that.
Also, use your one on ones to ask where they want more help and guidance. They’ll appreciate the support where they need it and the focus on outcomes over micromanagement where they’re comfortable.