Unlock Your Work Happiness

Let's start by unlocking your passions (foundation) so you can live more of your
core values, grow your career, and expand your happiness. You'll also
receive the Unlock Your Passions ecourse and Unlock Your Superpowers
Manifesto. Let's get started today!

10 Big Mistakes That Kill Employee Morale

tired-polar-bear-595

tired-polar-bear-595

A few months in at my last job the greatness started to wear off. I wish it could have been different. The main issue was my relationship with my boss.

He never complimented me or thanked me for my hard work. Every idea that I presented was ignored. My boss, while a good manager on his good days, was a bit of a grump on bad days. Don’t get me wrong, we got along most of the time. But our work relationship suffered. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to psych myself up. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted out.

Here’s the thing: everyone wants a team of employees who are dedicated to their jobs and are excited to come to work every day. The best way to achieve this, of course, is by maintaining a high level of morale in the workplace. You probably know the phrase “a happy wife makes a happy life?” Well, a happy employee makes employers more money.

The problem? This is easier said than done.

Achieving a happy office is largely dependent upon the professional health of the leadership. As even executives are human, it’s all too easy for leaders to get lost in the shuffle of everyday business needs rather than actively searching out how they can address the needs of the employees. Who can set the environment of an organization but the leader?

Leaders who want to be effective, respected and well liked should avoid some of the most common mistakes that directly impact the morale of their employees:

Mistake #1: Trying Too Hard to Be Everywhere

Have you ever seen the portraits where the eyes of the subject seem to follow the viewer wherever they go? It’s creepy, right? Don’t be like that.

As a leader, you’re held responsible for the quality of all projects. It can be hard to trust employees to get it done how you want, especially when they’re new to the team. It’s easy to want to check-in frequently to see how things are going and give them a hand to get the project moving in the right direction. Doing so can inhibit the productivity and creativity of your team, though.

Next time you feel yourself checking in too often, remember why you handed the project off: you’re too busy to do everything yourself and you have a team of capable, knowledgeable employees.

Give employees the space and authority they need to make educated decisions, and trust them to do it. They’ll feel much more confident, and you’ll feel much more relaxed not having to be everywhere at once.

Mistake #2: Being too Proud to Admit a Mistake

The best example of how to behave is by looking at the behavior patterns set by the leadership.  With that being said, however, leaders are prone to making mistakes just like everyone else. What sets a good leader apart from others is their willingness to honestly admit when they are wrong, which, according to Steve Blank at Entrepreneur, is “one more step toward a more effective and cohesive company.”

Even if it’s a small and unintentional mistake, fess up to it. Employees will appreciate the forthrightness and honesty. And, they’ll be more likely to own up to their own mistakes in the future.

Mistake #3: Being Too Busy to Listen to Your Employees

Your phone is ringing off the hook, your inbox is full, and you have a report due to a client in a few hours. It’s easy to neglect your own needs, let alone the needs of your employees.

Be sure to make time to listen to your employees. Foster an environment that welcomes and embraces ingenuity and innovation, and is considerate of your employees’ concerns. After all, giving employees the opportunity to come up with new and better ways of performing their tasks can save the company time, resources and money.

Mistake #4: Thinking You Know What Someone Wants Without Asking Them.

No one wants to be a puppet or the scapegoat of why a project didn’t get completed.

Encourage employees to speak up for themselves so that everyone can understand how the pieces of the group fit together. This ability to converse and be honest and open with one another means that problems will be addressed more quickly and respectfully, as that is the expectation being set. 

Mistake #5: Not Taking the Time to Say Thank You When You are Busy

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and needed. Forgetting to acknowledge the accomplishments of workers can make them feel just the opposite, and chances are, it won’t be long until they go work for someone else who will see – and acknowledge – their value.

Lindsey Lavine, from Fast Company, wrote an excellent article on the power of showing appreciation. Her article discusses the psychological impact gratitude has on getting people to help out, which is incredibly beneficial when trying to motivate employees to work hard.

Mistake #6: Not Emphasizing that Your Employees Ideas Are Important

Leaders who are doing their job well know that every skillset is important. Whether or not the job requires a lot of education or experience doesn’t matter.

Making employees feel as though their opinion matters and they aren’t being lorded over does, so try not to pull rank and make them feel stupid. Instead, appreciate any comments or feedback they offer.

Mistake #7: Not Giving Off the Proper Signals that You are Approachable

Think for a second about the waiting area of the doctor’s office. It’s full of potential issues and problems waiting to be solved by the doctor. The problem is that the doctor is incredibly busy with a long list of patients who arrived earlier. This means a long wait that seems like an eternity.

Often times, leaders also let their employees sit in the waiting room. Their employees’ questions go unanswered and no one gets a proper diagnosis or treatment.

Become more accessible with open communication lines and an open-door policy with specific visiting hours. Be sure to also show that you’re approachable by being transparent and starting the conversation.

Mistake #8: Losing Track of What You Promised To Do

Everyone struggles with this, but follow-through is incredibly important in establishing and maintaining respect with employees. If leadership decides that raises will happen in the spring but doesn’t actually deliver on that promise when the time comes, how is that going to make the employees feel? Like maybe they weren’t worth the money or their boss wasn’t totally honest?

Follow through. Be accountable. Say it and then deliver on it.

Mistake #9: Coasting at Work for Long Periods of Time

Time is always moving, trends are always changing and there are always new developments. Leaders should strive to keep up as best as possible.

There is nothing wrong with taking breaks throughout the day and vacations to recharge. In fact it’s a healthy aspect of work, but coasting for long periods of time is detrimental to you and your staff.

This means taking classes, attending trainings, pushing to be better at the jobs they’re performing. This continual education and professional development shows employees that even leaders need to change or improve habits. After all, that’s what this article is for, right?

Mistake #10: Remaining Rigid and Unforgiving

Let’s face it: Life happens. Traffic gets heavy, commutes are long and sometimes, people just oversleep. There are a million reasons why an employee may be late or why they may need to take a longer lunch or use up their sick time on a Monday morning.

Give employees the flexibility they need to stay sane in both their personal lives and at work. Be compassionate to their needs but expect the work to get done in a timely fashion.

Being a leader comes with lots of opportunities for making these common blunders. However, leaders who make their employees’ happiness a priority are more likely to retain staff and foster a work environment that is friendly and powerful. That sounds like a great leader to work for, doesn’t it?

Now it’s your turn to share a story. What is one small example that you remember from a great boss that you would like to share with us? (Just let us know in the comment section.)

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers. Follow her for more inspiring tips at @SarahLandrum

What’s Your Next Step?

Curious Cat

Curious Cat

Many well-intentioned parents, grandparents, and teachers urge kids to get a job with good benefits.

I couldn’t agree more.

Except.

Except that when most people talk about “benefits,” they usually mean really, really good health insurance (with full dental!) and some sort of retirement plan that will take care of you when you’re put out to pasture.

When I was going through high school, trying to decide what I wanted to do in life, I got the impression that these specific benefits were very important. Even more important than liking the actual job I was doing to obtain said benefits.

That seemed backward to me. The idea of doing a job I hated (or only kinda liked) just for the so-called benefits made shooting myself out of a cannon into a brick wall more appealing.

Fortunately, my parents did support me as I gravitated toward a career in art that pretty much assured there would be no such benefits.

It blows my mind how many people make major life decisions based almost exclusively on this narrow view of “benefits.” They are willing to stay stuck in dead-end jobs that eat their soul just because they have a good vision plan. I think that a Cadillac health insurance program or generous vacation packages are fine factors to consider when hashing out the pros and cons of any potential job. But they should never be the only ones. And maybe not even the main ones.

The truth is that my job offers NONE of the benefits in the traditional sense. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In fact, my job as an artist, author, and speaker, comes with TONS of benefits:

  • The work I do makes a difference.
  • I spend every day doing things I love.
  • I set my own hours.
  • I am rewarded for the results my hard work generates.
  • I don’t have to answer to clueless middle managers, corporate suits, or short-sighted shareholders.
  • I get paid to travel to cool places.
  • I have no dress code. (I literally wear jeans or sweatpants every day.)
  • I can take time off whenever I want. (Kim and I were BOTH able to take a maternity leave when our kids were born.)
  • On most days, I get to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my family.
  • My daily commute is seven seconds long.

Now these benefits don’t come without a price. (In fact, ALL benefits come with a price of some sort.) Most of mine have required many years of hard work and persistence. Then there’s the pressure of being responsible for generating income (no sales = no groceries). Also, I don’t have a pension or company-matching 401k program, but I love what I do so much that I don’t envision ever really retiring. Oh yeah, and I have to pay a few hundred bucks a month for health insurance.

Totally worth it.

So yes, you should definitely have a job with benefits.

Just make sure they’re the ones you really want.

Do here is what you can do.

Write out a list of at least ten benefits you’d like in your idea job. They could be things like a good health plan, zero commute, freedom of schedule, relaxed dress code, doing work that matters to me, lots of variety, etc. Then decide on the three most important benefits to you and circle them.

If your current job has all three, great! You’re in a good spot. If not, your next step is…to decide what your next step is. I know that sounds flip, but on the road to our dreams, we rarely know ALL the steps we’ll need to take to get there. We often don’t even know the next three. But we always know the NEXT step (and it’s usually not to just quit your job!)

Get a little curious about about what you could do to bring more benefits to your career. It’s your curiosity that will drive your next step. Maybe it’s to make a phone call. Buy a book. Attend a conference. Or design a new logo. Do that, and the next step will materialize.

What’s your next step?

Jason Kotecki is an artist, professional speaker, and author of the book “Penguins Can’t Fly +39 Other Rules That Don’t Exist,” (Amazon link) which uncovers some of the most useless so-called rules we can find ourselves living by. It explores some small but mighty actions you can take to turn your life into the fun, adventurous and exciting story you deserve. This beautiful 240-page hardcover work of art is a magical combination of Jason’s whimsical illustrations, humorous wit, and poignant anecdotes. Learn more at RulesThatDontExist.com.

What Can Your Boss Can Learn from a Goose?

Flying V

Have you ever looked up in the sky and noticed one of the most amazing skills any animal possesses? You’ve probably seen it at least a few times. Geese flying in a V formation is beautiful thing to watch. It’s teamwork at it’s best. You remember fifth grade science or probably looked up in the […]

Continue reading...

Why Does Your Work Experience Trump Income Level?

mentorship-two-women-595

Millennials don’t want new cars, furniture, or artwork. Why do you think this is? Think about your best times at work. Does it ever revolve around kicking back on your chair and looking at your bank statement? Not usually, unless your Scrooge McDuck. It revolves around the positive experience that were created when working on […]

Continue reading...

5 Ways Great Leaders Help Their Employees Process Stress

stress at work

I have a friend who works for a tech company and she is constantly on edge. They push her and her team very hard. She told me that her hands sweat every time her boss approaches her. He might just walk up and ask how her day was going, but because of past issues she […]

Continue reading...

Feeling Unfulfilled at Work? Try This…

Shine light on your darkness

We all want to feel fulfilled in our work. A lucky few find fulfillment naturally and easily in their careers. For the rest of us, we have to get creative to find that elusive sense of fulfillment. Maybe the reason we haven’t found it yet is that we’ve been looking in the wrong place. Once […]

Continue reading...

Managing employees used to be hard. Then I tried this…

leadership coaching

When I left the corporate world I thought managing people was impossible. When I was asked to take a lead on projects many employees didn’t want to do what I asked. I was lucky if they did half of what I asked. I remember when my father coached my soccer team when I was in […]

Continue reading...

11 Ways to have More Productive Mornings

city sunrise happiness quote

I was perfectly happy – and productive – staying up late into the night to study and sleeping in until nine or ten in the morning. Then my first full time job came along. It was a tough adjustment. Not only did I have to learn to wake up early, but I had to learn how […]

Continue reading...

What Makes You Feel Good About Your Work?

Legos at the office

Have you ever been pulled from a project? or Have you ever had a project end abruptly? Leaving you feeling empty inside. It’s a terrible feeling. I was pulled from a big project I spent months of my time working on. The CEO wanted to put me in a different department. Just like that my […]

Continue reading...

Believe Again

Believe again

“STOP!” My eyes darted around looking for a car barreling toward us. No car. No danger. My 5-year-old son ran into the grass of our front yard. Grabbed something from the air and came back to me. “Got it,” he said. “Got what?” I asked. “My dragon.” He cracked open his hand and whispered something […]

Continue reading...

Like Us On Facebook