Four Fast Ways to Demoralize Your Team and Lose Credibility

Despite company-wide engagement surveys conducted and the reports analyzed afterwards, an employee’s job satisfaction often still comes down to his/her individual manager as a driving factor.

Managers, you may not even realize your behavior is having such a demoralizing impact on your team.

These four traps, when they take place repeatedly, cause you to rapidly lose credibility:

1. Micromanage the work. This signals that you do not trust your team members when you do not treat them like professionals. Resist the temptation to double-and triple-check every calculation and formula.

Solution: The higher you get in the organization, the more comfort you must gain letting go of the details. The more work you delegate, the more it frees you up to take on different responsibilities yourself and learn new things.

2. Set unrealistic deadlines and then hold people accountable to them no matter what. This usually means you committed to a date (for whatever reason – it may have even been a good reason) without gathering input from your team members on its’ feasibility. It also means you are unwilling to go back and renegotiate a new date. This makes your team members feel like you do not have their backs.

Solution: Seek a compromise date that still stretches your team while meeting as many of the needs of the requestor as possible. Next time, don’t commit so fast. Involve your team up front.

3. Question the loyalty of your team members. The people who are the closest to the details of getting the work done often have the most insight on where and how process improvements would make the most sense. Many leaders take those suggestions as a personal affront. Some default back to, “We’ve always done it this way.”

Solution: Instead, build your personal resilience to change. Do not take suggestions or recommendations personally. They are rarely intended that way.

4. Provide NO career guidance or advice. As millennials enter the workforce in record numbers, more and more employees seek their manager’s counsel on how to get promoted or on what their next career move should be.

Solution: When presented with such a query, be ready! It is NOT the responsibility of HR to build the talent in every business department. Have a point of view on what experiences the employee needs on the job to grow and develop the appropriate skills at this point in his/her career.

Managing a team is not easy.

Building credibility with a team takes time. Losing that credibility, however, can happen very quickly. It will eventually show up on the engagement survey one way or another. The question is what will you do about it?

Betsy Winkler is Partner at People Results. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at Sign up to receive her and her colleagues’ blog at Current