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Six Ways Managers Ruin Employee Engagement

A good manager can make working at an otherwise sub-par organization almost enjoyable, but a bad one can take an engaged employee and turn them to a disengaged one pretty quickly. Some of the following behaviors contribute to ruining employee engagement:

  • Not communicating: You might think that the high-level strategy meeting you just attended has nothing to do with your low-level direct reports, but you would be wrong. Everyone on your team should know the part he or she is expected to play in your team’s success, and how that success fits into the larger picture of the company’s strategy. Even if it is a bit over some people’s heads, they will appreciate your effort to be transparent.
  • Playing favorites: We’re all human and there will be times that you feel more comfortable or personally like one team member better than another. However, you have to do your absolute best to make sure that these feelings do not leak into the work environment, especially when it comes to things like raises, promotions, and assignments. Never make an employee feel that they are the outsider in your clique.
  • Not giving regular feedback: An annual review should not be the only time your employees hear about their performance. It leaves them feeling blind-sided that you’ve been saving up all these points all year without mentioning them, and also leads to huge missed opportunities for improvement along the way. Even negative feedback is better than no feedback at all. The feeling that your work is going into a black hole is a terrible one, and it saps motivation.
  • Not recognizing their achievements: A recent HBR article cited the statistic that 63% of employees believe their managers don’t recognize their achievements enough. Saying “thank you” or “good job” is one of the easiest things you can do as a manager to ensure that your employees are engaged. An even more egregious version of this bad habit is taking credit for your employees’ work, whether outright or by omission. Do we even have to comment on that one?
  • Not caring about them as people: People will work hardest for those that they actually like, and nobody likes a boss who treats them like a number. Take note of your employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries and be sure to acknowledge them. Ask them how their vacation was when they return instead of launching into all the things they missed while they were out. If they call out sick, express concern instead of frustration that you’ll have to cover for them. Just be a nice person!
  • Not taking their ideas seriously: It can take a lot for some people to speak up and pitch an idea or give an opinion. If you consistently brush them off, these employees will become frustrated and maybe even intimidated and clam up. You could be missing out on some excellent new ideas that you would never have thought of otherwise. Even if you don’t implement the suggestions, validating the ones that are good and giving honest feedback on others will empower your employees to continue to speak up and contribute.

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