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In our previous week’s personal development blog we spoke about the cost of misery in the workplace and how co-workers contribute to a negative working environment. As much as we generally focus on others, we also need to be bold and look at ourselves as co-workers. How do we perhaps spread misery in the workplace?

The second common cause of misery at work is our managers and leaders. The well-known saying from Jack Walsh is that people leave managers and not companies. Managers can make our work lives miserable and negative so that we see no alternative but to leave. This is not always the case, but 70% of people resign because of their manager’s behaviour – that’s a fairly high number. What is it that managers do that makes employees’ lives miserable?

These are the things that managers do to inhibit happiness at the workplace:

  1. By being unsupportive and non-committal towards their employees’ work tasks or ideas.
  2. They are rude and condescending when communicating. This aggravates employees and may even anger them so much so that it can lead to disengaged, unmotivated and uncommitted staff who have a “whatever” attitude.
  3. They have poor working relationships with their team and tend to manage electronically by email and Skype rather than building strong personal connections. These managers need to make time for their staff and walk around and talk to them!
  4. They don’t celebrate accomplishments (big and small). These guys need to observe progress made, growth achieved, improvement attained and thank their team. The celebrations must mean something and the gesture must come from the heart! Let’s bust the myth that celebrating once a year is enough or that we need to throw money at it. We need to celebrate often and in a meaningful way!
  5. They don’t finish things! Projects/tasks are started, halted, replaced with something else, or perhaps shelved. This can be very frustrating and it wastes time, energy and commitment. We need to think, plan and recognise the effort that has gone into a task.
  6. People want to be heard and understood. Listening doesn’t come easy for most of us and managers need to develop listening skills for both meaning and understanding which differs substantially from peripheral listening. Failing to listen results in employees stopping to talk!
  7. Every employee wants to know that what they do serves another person so that they can have meaning and purpose in their work. They want to understand how their activities impact on another person’s life. If that purpose is left unanswered their work becomes meaningless and instils an “I don’t care” attitude.
  8. Lastly, every employee, and for that matter human being, wants to be treated fairly.

Leading a team is a vocation and an honour, and it impacts lives. We see leaders and managers approach their employees with an irritation and regard them as a burden. Leadership is a value-based and relationship-permeated role that makes our employees work invigorating.

For more information about personal coaching and happiness at the workplace, visit the 4Seeds website.