Your team hates you. Really. They do. They hate their boss (you) but they just won’t say so because they like getting paid. But when they go home at night, they spill their bile about their taskmaster of a boss who does nothing but drive them crazy (isn’t that what you do too?).
It’s been a while since I’ve been controversial (okay, maybe the post on trust not being the most important aspect business partnerships was provocative but I’m talking controversial at the level of the I don’t care about your degree post). For this post, I’ve been sure to drink a glass of vinegar before typing.
If you don’t start fixing some of these behaviors, you might end up with a mutiny on your hands. In today’s world though, that doesn’t involve them tossing you in a dinghy – instead they’ll all just quit their jobs.
Before you go all “Mike has lost it again. This post doesn’t apply to me so I won’t read any more of it.” I’d ask you to spend the 2-3 minutes it will take to spin through the below list and see if any of the points resonate. If you make it through all ten and can honestly say none apply to you, bravo (related: are you hiring?).
If some of the points do resonate, I’m asking you to commit to rectifying some of these behaviors. We’ll all be happier that way. To assist with that, I’ve offered some suggested behavior modifications for each of the ten.
Full disclosure – I’ve been plenty guilty of some of the below behaviors. Fortunately I’ve had talented folks around me help me work on many of them. I’m not perfect by a long shot yet. I guess what I’m saying is all of these things apply to all of us even in some small measure.
So here goes… 10 Reasons Your Team Hates You:
10. You don’t prioritize. Everything is important. When you do this, you remove your team’s ability to say no to less important work and focus their efforts on critical tasks. The fix: write down all the tasks you have folks working on and FORCE yourself to assign a H, M, or L to each task (and treat it as such). Thou shalt only have 33% of all tasks in each of those three categories – you can’t assign everything a “High” importance.
9. You treat them like employees. You don’t know a darn thing about them as a person (which makes them feel like nothing more than a number). The fix: read this post about 7Up (and if you want the full version of the story, grab a copy of my book One Piece of Paper – CLICK HERE to get it).
8. You don’t fight for them. When is the last time you went to bat for a team member? And I mean went to bat where you had something to lose if it didn’t work out? When you don’t stand up for them, you lose their trust. The fix: identify something you should have gone to the mat for recently and get out there and fight. Get someone that raise they deserve. Go fight for them to get that cool new project.
7. You tell them to “have a balanced life” then set a bad example. You tell them weekends are precious and they should spend them with their family then you go and send them emails or voicemails on Sunday afternoon. The fix: either curb your bad habit of not being in balance or learn how to do delayed send in Outlook so your messages won’t go out until Monday morning.
6. You never relax. You walk around like you have a potato chip wedged between your butt cheeks and you’re trying not to break it. When you’re uptight all the time, it makes them uptight. Negative or stressful energy transfers to others. The fix: laugh, get a remote controlled car or tricycle to drive around the office, or put on a Burger King crown. When you relax, your team knows it’s okay for them to relax too.
5. You micromanage. You know every detail of what they’re working on and you’ve become a control freak. They have no room to make decisions on their own (which means yes, they’ll make a mistake or two). The fix: back off. Pick a few low risk projects and commit to not doing ANYTHING on them unless your team member asks you for assistance. It’ll be uncomfortable for you. Give it a try you micromanaging control freak.
4. You’re a suck-up. If your boss stopped short while walking down the hall, you’d break your neck. Your team hates seeing you do this because it demonstrates lack of spine and willingness to fight for them. It can also signal to them that you expect them to be a sycophant just like you. The fix: try kicking up and kissing down instead.
3. You treat them like mushrooms. Translation: they’re kept in the dark and fed a bunch of crap. Do you ration information? Do you withhold “important” things from them because it’s “need to know” only? All you’re doing is creating gossip and fear. The fix: stop acting like 007 and spill some beans.
2. You’re above getting your hands dirty. You’re great at assigning work. Doing work? Not so much. They hate watching you preside (and they hate it even more when you take credit for what they slaved over). The fix: get dirty. Climb under the proverbial tank and turn a wrench. Roll up your sleeves and pick a smaller project you can handle in addition to your other responsibilities and DO THE PROJECT YOURSELF.
1. You’re indecisive. Maybe. Or not. But possibly. Yeah. No. I don’t know. OH MY GOSH MAKE A DECISION ALREADY! That’s what you get paid to do as the leader. You drive them crazy with your incessant flip-flopping or waffling (mmmm waffles… oh. Sorry… still writing). The fix: DO SOMETHING! Acknowledge you might make a mistake but do something. A team is much more likely to follow a leader who makes decisions (even some bad ones) than a leader who makes no decisions at all.
There they are: 10 reasons your team hates you. Do any of them fit? I’ll tell you what: I DARE you to email this post to your team members and ask them to anonymously circle any of the above behaviors that apply to you. I then further challenge you to fix the one or two that have the most votes. Trust me – all of you will be happier if you do. How’s THAT for provocative?
– If you want to be a better leader than the above, grab a copy of my book One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership