4 Things that Drive Employees Crazy
We love to think about what drives leaders crazy.
But, what about employees?
Red tape. The reason red tape drives employees crazy is they want to get things done.
- The function of management is to make it easier, not more difficult, to achieve results.
- Call, “Why are we doing things this way” meetings with front-line employees and mid-level managers. You might try adding, “What policy or procedure could we simplify or eliminate,” to the next agenda.
- Run interference for your team.
Attending irrelevant or poorly run meetings.
- Call meetings when human connection and interaction are necessary.
- Use video conferencing if the purpose of the meeting is information.
- Anyone who doesn’t participate is dead weight. The leader who doesn’t participate is a policeman.
- Cap the number of participants at 7. Meetings become about information when more people sit at the table. (See #2.)
Micromanaging. Micromanaging feels like distrust.
- Micro-managers think micromanaging is good management. Everyone else tolerates it. There’s energy in positive relationships.
- Explore and answer your points of distrust. Then release people and expect responsibility.
- Respond to mistakes with, “What are we learning,” not, “You screwed up.” Try, “What will you do differently next time?”
- Ask, “How would you do this?” And, “What do you think?” Go with their approach unless it’s harmful.
Negative feedback without honor, reward, or gratitude.
- Keep negative feedback to one event. Don’t say, “You’ve been doing this for months.” Piling on negative examples to validate negative feedback invites defensiveness.
- Circle back in a week or so to reconnect and see how things are going. Make the pursuit of excellence a process, not an arrival.
- Give 3x more affirmations than criticisms.
- Focus recognition on behaviors you want repeated. Avoid giving recognition exclusively for results. Recognize behaviors that deliver results.
What drives employees crazy? What might leaders do about that?
**See the complete list of things that drain energy from employees on Facebook.
Nice one! How about “time for meetings” but no time for “talking about innovation or improvement?” How about being asked for ideas only to have them ignored completely, you know the old “suggestion system” that is actually the black hole of ideas?
Supervisors should have a facilitation competency, one that is akin to coaching but is more about asking and allowing.
You continually amaze me with how dead on you are with your insights, Dan. As a front line employee for 32yrs, I applaud you for being so astute. It leaves me puzzled to think that what you have so said so simply hear, continues to elude so many managers/business leaders. It goes to show just how ingrained our belief systems are. Managers are following what they believe are “best practices”.
Thank you for spreading the word, so many more managers can embrace your ideas and begin to make the changes in their way of leading that brings out the best in employees. They DO want to give their best and they ARE intelligent. It is our outdated practices and mindsets (of both managers and employees) that chip away at people’s spirit and motivation.
But we’re learning and there’s hope!
Dan, Don’t forget the “red tape” that comes from outside the company! The items controlled by others so to speak, governing bodies, Authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) these groups can really muddy the waters into the corporate, costing millions of dollars in rhetoric, more watch dogs, meetings, etc. It is almost like they don’t want us to perform the work anymore!
I’d add a fifth: Working in an organization for which the rewards and the ‘call-outs’ don’t reflect the attention to the organization mission and goals.
Wow, Red Tape No. 2, irrelevant or poorly run meetings no. 1, Micromanaging. Outside of a very bad cup of coffee in the morning and no cell phone connection when needed most. When you think the day can”t get any worse, those begin to happen, and with bad coffee almost impossible to tolerate. Been there and don’t want to go back.
Dan, I agree with you that bureaucracy, unproductive and uninspiring meetings, managers who undermine the responsibility of staff’s work, and those who do not recognize potential, value inquiry, and reward excellence—drive staff bananas: They drive them to MAS: Mindless Acceptance Syndrome.
I believe there becomes a common and fundamental belief among staff members that they are powerless to do anything other than go and suffer through these poorly run meetings, for example, and live another day to hear and see their manager exhibit criticism and negative feedback—without constructive or productive purpose or reason.
But the truth is, they’re not powerless at all. In fact, the cure for MAS is right there in their hands. It’s right at their fingertips, literally. If only they would remember their high school Spanish: They answer to MAS (Mindless Acceptance Syndrome) is “No MAS!” Which means “No more!” or something like, “Enough already, make it stop!”
Here’s how No MAS works. It’s very simple. The next time a staff member gets a meeting invitation that doesn’t have a lot of information in it, they click the tentative button! It’s right next to the accept button. Or the “maybe” button, or whatever button is there for them NOT to accept immediately. Then, they can get in touch with the person who asked them to the meeting. They can tell them they’re very excited to support their work, ask them what the goal of the meeting is, and tell them they’re interested in learning how they can help achieve their goal.
Imagine, Dan, if staff members did this often enough, and do it respectfully, people might start to be a little bit more thoughtful about the way they put together meetings. And the same will be true about red tape, micro-managing, and negative feedback.
People just might start to change their behavior because we have changed ours.
Fantastic post Dan – absolutely relevant to our organisation here in New Zealand. Thank you.
3x more affirmations, energy in relationships… Positive psychology in action! Lead people to be their best selves, which is all anybody wants anyway. Thanks!
It is all based on the climate of the organization and that climate needs to be established at the very top. However, even if the top of the organization has good intentions, the mindset needs to be believed-in all the way to the bottom. In most instances, there are multiple layers of management within an organization that can thwart and wreak havoc to the very best of intentions. Open communication is the key to preventing organizational discourse.
I like your quick hit style. Small, continuous reminders to help leaders focus. Good stuff.
Its really a interesting and great article about the employees, and it implies so how on all the employee which is so realistic. Thanks for the nice article.
Wow. Anyone who doesn’t participate in a meeting are dead weight. I needed it. It can’t come at a better time. All this time I was always silent at our discussions, thinking what’s the use. Now I know