image Whoa, Boss: 7 Ways You’re Accidentally Scaring Employees (and How to Avoid It)

Whoa, Boss: 7 Ways You’re Accidentally Scaring Employees (and How to Avoid It)

What if you were stressing out your employees and you didn’t even know it? 

Good managers spend time considering how they are talking to their employees. Unfortunately, it’s not always what you say that is likely to scare your subordinates but what you do instead. 

In short, you may be accidentally scaring your employees without knowing it. Keep reading to discover the most stressful things that managers do and how to avoid them! 

1. Setting Inconsistent Goals 

Running a successful workplace is all about establishing goals. These can be individual goals as well as KPI-led team goals that help keep everyone on the same page. 

However, bosses sometimes give conflicting goals that leave subordinates unsure of what to do. For example, in a customer service job, someone might not know whether to log a customer complaint right away (because you always say customer service is your highest goal) or whether to help the next customer on the phone (because in last week’s meeting, you said everyone needs to make taking more calls a top priority). 

An effective business leader knows which tasks are most important and what employees should prioritize. By letting everyone know the priority order of certain tasks, you can avoid the kind of confusion that might stress subordinates out. 

2. Taking All the Credit 

Ever notice how everyone accepting a major award takes the time to thank those who help them get there? For example, someone winning an Academy Award for acting will often go out of their way to thank the director, the crew, and fellow cast members. 

Good bosses are all about giving props to everyone on the team for their accomplishments. However, some managers are in such a hurry to make a name for themselves they try to take all the credit for a successful project. 

If you ever do this, it may offer short-term rewards (such as making you look good in front of the CEO at a corporate meeting), but it presents many more long-term dangers. For example, when your best workers see how little you value their contributions, they are much likelier to look elsewhere for work. Improve your leadership by improving your ability to praise others. 

3. Information Overload 

We all grew up hearing the phrase “knowledge is power.” Because of this, some managers think that giving employees as much info as possible is an empowering act. The reality, though, is that this approach annoys and drives away workers (especially new ones). 

When you give subordinates too much info all at once, it causes two immediate problems. First, they are going to have trouble processing everything. Second, they may not know what they should focus on first because you just told them so much about so many things. 

Ultimately, you need to delegate the importance of info just as well as delegate responsibilities to subordinates. Otherwise, you may drive key personnel away. 

4. Too Many Meetings 

Would great employees actually quit a job over having to attend too many meetings? Yes, Virginia, it’s true! 

While meetings are a necessary evil in the corporate world, your workers expect (rightfully so) for meetings to either offer them valuable info (such as you sharing a big announcement from company executives) or give them valuable info (such as brainstorming potential solutions to a new problem). 

If you constantly schedule meetings (like having several meetings a week), though, it diminishes the value of any information you could either provide or gather. Furthermore, subordinates may feel like you are wasting their time and keeping them from completing important projects. By more judiciously scheduling meetings like a good leader, you can retain some of your best workers. 

5. Being a Micromanager 

Earlier, we touched on the importance of delegating different responsibilities to different people. If you are incapable of doing so, you will eventually get a well-deserved reputation as a micromanaging control freak, and this will inevitably scare your employees

Micromanagers often think they are doing something important: namely, shouldering all of the biggest burdens of the team and making sure the buck stops with them. It makes it seem like you don’t trust subordinates to do the very job you hired them for when you micromanage every little thing. 

By relaxing and delegating more, you create a more dynamic office that is likelier to come up with more innovative solutions. Moreover, you’ll engender real employee loyalty while learning more about what your most trustworthy workers can do. 

Angry employee waves hands in the air at a meeting

6. Creating an Obedience Culture 

Imagine this: At the next meeting, most of your workers seem overly agreeable with you. In fact, they seem mostly interested in parroting back to you what you want to hear. Now, would you consider this a good thing or a bad thing? 

This is most definitely a bad thing because it means, intentionally or not, you have created an “obedience culture” at work where people are afraid to disagree with you. When subordinates are afraid you won’t like what they have to say, they will be more afraid to bring new ideas to the table, resulting in your business stagnating. 

It may sound a tad cheesy, but you can keep this from happening by frequently reminding subordinates that there are “no bad ideas.” Make sure to praise the good ideas when they come in and let your employees try new things out to make sure your company stays innovative and your workers are less stressed

7. Never Leaving Your Office 

The last way you may be scaring employees is also the most straightforward. If you never leave your office, you’re likely freaking everyone out! 

Sometimes, managers do this because they think it’s the opposite of micromanaging (after all, it means staying out of everyone’s hair in a big way). The reality is that if your door is always closed, workers will hesitate to come to you for advice or help. If you only really communicate via email, they’ll learn to dread those messages. 

Instead of hiding in your office, take the time to collaborate with employees and publicly praise their contributions. When you are in your office, make sure to let workers know the door is always open. 

Put Your Management Skills to Their Best Use Today! 

Now you know how you’re accidentally scaring employees and what to do to avoid it. But do you know where you can put your management skills to their best possible use? 

Here at Confie, we’re always looking for great new leaders like yourself. To take your first step on a new journey with us, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 714-252-2500!