Human Resources News & Insights

7 deadly sins your managers may be committing

Managers get blamed for a lot of turnover and internal issues, but how much of that is really their fault? 

Well, as it turns out, probably a lot of it, according to a study by Gallup that looked at employee engagement levels throughout 2.5 million work units. The study determined that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across different business units.

Common and costly mistakes managers make probably have a lot to do with how and why that figure is so high.

That being said, here’s our rundown of the seven deadliest sins that managers make and must avoid:

  1. Failing to treat people with respect or enough care. This prideful manager sin leads to employees leaving because their manager never comes to view them as anything more than company assets. People don’t like thinking they’re viewed as just another cog in the machine. Good managers connect with their teams on a personal level by asking questions about work needs, home life, interests, etc.
  2. Being envious of a job well done and not recognizing employees’ efforts. The manager who commits this sin may have many reasons for doing so, but each one leads to the same damage. Unappreciated employees tend to take their talents where they will be recognized. A dutiful manager will make sure credit is given where it’s due, even if it’s just a quick personal thank-you for a job well done.
  3. Assuming employees are gluttons for punishment. Sinful managers who assume everyone is a workaholic will lose talent to burn-out. Most employees want to spend time with loved ones or pursue hobbies. That’s especially true for the influx of Millennial workers who tend, at least more than other employee groups, to have the “working to live” mentality rather than a “living to work” mentality. To avoid this sin, make sure managers understand how important breaks are for employee health and productivity levels.
  4. Betraying employees’ trust. A good manager will stand by what they say and own up to mistakes in a professional manner. Managers who don’t do this are breaking one of the cardinal rules of the workplace: don’t lie. In doing so, they’re also breaking employees’ trust. When managers don’t own up to mistakes or past promises, and instead shift blame to others, it sends a clear message to everyone working alongside them that there is a lack of accountability. If that becomes the overwhelming message, you can bet employees will be lining up for exit interviews in no time.
  5. Taking shortcuts on hiring and procedures. Not only can this lazy habit come back to bite you legally when policies aren’t equally enforced, but also hiring the wrong people can lead to disengagement with the company’s culture. In fact, 36% of employees in a recent LinkedIn survey reported that a disconnect with their company’s culture was the reason they decided to move on. This sin can impact every employee, even those not directly working with this particular manager, so it’s best to make sure managers are following the company’s hiring procedures to give everyone an equal chance to shine.
  6. Having a forceful and tough-love management style. Instilling fear of the manager’s wrath is not always the most effective management style, unless they’re a coach for a pro-football team. Trying to motivate the workforce through fear should have gone out of style years ago. Instead, managers should always be speaking from a place of care — for their team and the work it does.
  7. Failing to help ensure people are paid fairly. Bad managers don’t go to bat for employees who deserve more than just a cost-of-living increase when it comes time for performance reviews and raises.
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