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Great Ways To Kill Morale

Source | LinkedIn : By Dr. Travis BradBerry

What makes you happy at work? Maybe you have a great boss who gives you the freedom to be creative, rewards you for going the extra mile, and helps you to reach your career goals.

Maybe you have none of the above and are updating your résumé as we speak.

It’s pretty incredible how often you hear managers complaining about their best employees leaving, and they really do have something to complain about—few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

But managers tend to blame their turnover problems on everything under the sun while ignoring the crux of the matter: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.

Bad management does not discriminate based on salary or job title. A Fortune 500 executive team can experience more dissatisfaction and turnover than the baristas at a local coffee shop. The more demanding your job is and the less control you have over what you do, the more likely you are to suffer. A study by the American Psychological Association found that people whose work meets both these criteria are more likely to experience exhaustion, poor sleep, anxiety, and depression.

The sad thing is that this suffering can easily be avoided. All that’s required is a new perspective and some extra effort on the manager’s part to give employees autonomy and make their work feel less demanding. To get there, managers must understand what they’re doing to kill morale. The following practices are the worst offenders, and they must be abolished if you’re going to hang on to good employees.

Overworking people. Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work the best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing for them as it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for their great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford showed that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of working more. Talented employees will take on a bigger workload, but they won’t stay if their job suffocates them in the process. Raises, promotions, and title-changes are all acceptable ways to increase workload. If managers simply increase workload because people are talented, without changing a thing, these employees will seek another job that gives them what they deserve.

Holding people back. As an employee, you want to bring value to your job, and you do so with a unique set of skills and experience. So how is it that you can do your job so well that you become irreplaceable? This happens when managers sacrifice your upward mobility for their best interests. If you’re looking for your next career opportunity, and your boss is unwilling to let you move up the ladder, your enthusiasm is bound to wane. Taking away opportunities for advancement is a serious morale killer.

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