10 mistakes that leaders make as a result of which they scare away their best employees

leadership development management

When employees quit, they often don’t leave their job, they leave the boss. If you want to keep good people, you should avoid the following management mistakes.

Bad pay, annoying colleagues or boredom: There are many reasons why employees quit their jobs. Surprisingly often, however, their own boss also puts them on the run: Almost one in five employees (18 percent) has thought about quitting their jobs in the past twelve months because of their direct superior as the Gallup Engagement Index shows.

Losing good employees can be a major risk for companies. After all, a replacement takes a long time, training costs a lot of money and important projects can be delayed. Does your company have a high fluctuation rate? Then you should avoid these ten mistakes so that your team stays with you as long as possible and your best employees do not move to the competition.

Error 1: They only report when something is not running.

Bosses should also show up when there is no acute problem. Because if you just sit in your ivory tower, you don’t know what’s going on in the company. Are your employees actually doing well? What do they do all day anyway? Make sure you visit your team regularly and don’t wait until the numbers are wrong to come by the office.

Error 2: You overtax your employees.

Many leaders confuse overtime with productivity. They praise employees who sit at their desks late and regularly stay longer. When an important project comes up, it can of course happen that employees stay in the office for a long time, a team can also weld together. But a good boss looks after his employees and makes sure they don’t overwork themselves. Because that only leads to illness and chronic stress.

For example, Google gives its employees 20 percent of their working time for private projects. If you’re not under pressure all the time, you’re more productive and balanced than someone who stumbles from one stressful task to the next.

Error 3: They underchallenge their employees.

Worse than too much stress is actually only too much boredom. Because underchallenge leads to demotivation and challenges are important for good ideas. You should therefore make sure that your employees do not feel permanently underchallenged.

Error 4: You are not binding.

Being the boss means making decisions even difficult ones. But many bosses do not want to commit themselves, keep all options open and please everyone. Speak out what you expect from your team. Formulate firm goals and don’t talk vaguely about them. Be binding, reliable and consistent.

Error 5: You leave no room for your own ideas.

Good employees also need room to develop because not only the boss’s ideas are good. Listen to your employees and take their ideas seriously. If you ignore your employees’ ideas in the long run, they will eventually stop thinking and only work to rule. Or leave completely.

Error 6: You show no appreciation.

Appreciation and praise are important for the motivation of your employees. But you should be aware that every employee is motivated by a different kind of appreciation: One person is happy about a bonus or more responsibility, the other one gets a lot out of praise in the presence of the whole team. Show your appreciation.

Error 7: You patronize with unnecessary rules.

Listening to music in the office – forbidden, home office – forbidden, private messages – forbidden, holiday pictures on the desk – forbidden. Good employees know how to work productively and successfully. You don’t need to tell them when to take breaks, whether to work quietly or with music or whether to turn their office into a jungle with 35 different green plants. Give your employees enough freedom and they will enjoy their work.

Error 8: You keep goals secret.

Many decisions are made in a company: prices are increased, employees are fired, projects are stopped. Of course a boss does not have to justify every decision to his team. But if you explain the background of decisions, even unpopular decisions become understandable. Good employees want to know where the journey is going and why it is worth working for something. Let your employees see the big picture.

Error 9: You do not take responsibility.

Bosses bear the responsibility this is their main task. If something goes wrong in the team, a good boss must not always shift the blame downwards, but must bear it himself.

Error 10: Micro-manage them.

For many employees there is hardly anything more demotivating than having a micro-manager as boss. Although micro-managers assign tasks to the team, they check every single step and thus make it clear: You cannot trust the employee. Such bosses not only set the goal, but also the way to get there. This frustrates and demotivates. So instead of control, delegation is the order of the day. Do the self-test: Am I a micro-manager?

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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