With a never-ending to-do list, meetings and pressure to maximize the bottom line, it can be easy to let essential courtesies in your day-to-day interactions slip through the cracks. This can really piss off your employees and make them feel undervalued.
It might not seem terribly detrimental in relation to your top-level priorities, but your day-to-day communication style can make or break your reputation as a good boss — one worthy of high-esteem, trust and respect.
Don’t get me wrong. You can’t please every employee (nor should you try). You can, however, consistently take measures to make employees feel more valued as a whole. For starters, avoid the following seemingly small-scale (yet common) missteps that can tarnish your reputation:
Ignoring that urgent e-mail or meeting request
Few things are more frustrating for employees than waiting for critical feedback or approval from you. By neglecting to respond to their urgent requests, you’re essentially acting as a roadblock for your employees instead of empowering them to succeed.
Here’s when it really harms morale: If you frequently delay employee progress by failing to respond, your team will feel that they can’t be held accountable for completing tasks. After all, projects pending your approval are out of their hands, right? Cue the blame game.
Solution: Even if you don’t have time in your schedule to offer feedback or approval to one team, make sure you respond with something. Give them a rough estimation of when you’ll be free to maintain momentum.
Not recognizing everyone involved
This is easier said than done. All too often, work will go unrecognized — a direct cause for resentment, especially among hardworking lower-level employees.
It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s contribution, but a little goes a long way. A simple nod, smile or thank-you to your key players is sometimes enough of an acknowledgement.
Solution: During your regular team meetings, allow everyone an opportunity to offer a shout-out to congratulate or thank colleagues for critical accomplishments.
For instance, one employee might say, “I couldn’t have made that pressing deadline without Tom’s killer researching skills.” This employee shout-out serves to allow the speaker to share their accomplishment and to shed light on Tom’s contribution as well. Two birds, one stone.
Your team thrives on your feedback. Remember this. If you fail to give constructive criticism thoughtfully, you’ll start to blur the team’s vision. Without a clear vision, your team’s chance of doing a great job just dwindled to zero.
Your feedback should align with the company’s goals. Frequently changing your mind or throwing a wrench into the works is another recipe for resentment. A foggy team vision raises questions such as “What does he want from us?”
Solution: Give feedback and give it often — and make it consistent with what you said before. Great feedback requires a small investment of your time. Employees will be much more receptive and understanding if you can clearly explain how your suggestions better aligns with the end goal. The best way to be consistent is to follow up on your suggestions. Note the positives and give feedback on areas of improvement.
Ritika Trikha writes at CareerBliss.com, a job-information website that helps people find happiness in the workplace.