Studies repeatedly show that many Americans hate their jobs. In 2017, CBS News reported that despite the strong economy, as much as two-thirds of the working population were disengaged at work, meaning they only did the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs. Another 16 percent were “actively disengaged.” They resented their jobs and complained, lowering the morale of those working around them.
But, why the lack of love? Is the pay too low? Hours too long? Too much stress? While those factors may play some part in employee dissatisfaction, the biggest reason Americans give for hating their jobs is…their boss.
Unfortunately, good employees are often promoted to supervisory positions whether or not they’re good at managing people. It’s traditionally seen as the next step in their career path. After all, if they excel at their job, won’t they be great at leading the team? Not necessarily.
Not everyone has what it takes to be a boss. Some people don’t have the personality to lead others. Or they may not have the ability to motivate or have hard conversations with under-performing employees.
Plus, not everyone wants to be a boss. Sometimes they like what they’re doing and don’t want the distractions of managing a team. The pay, the promotion, and the perks might be tempting. But do they want the day-to-day responsibilities? Maybe not.
If you have a boss in your company that’s too bossy or one that’s not a good enough leader, or if you’re on the lookout for new leaders as your company grows, try these tips.
Have a discussion with each of the employees who report to you. Don’t just wait for their annual review time. Try more frequent conversations. Find out what each one wants from his or her career. Is management on their goal list? Do they love their job as it is? Would a team coach position be better than a team leader position for someone who excels but isn’t interested in managing? Talk about opportunities for advancement that will use each person’s unique skill sets while maintaining engagement.
If you have employees with leadership potential and who are interested in managing a team and advancing in the company, invest in them. Send them to management training classes and assign them a mentor who can help develop their skills. Let them fill in when their manager is on vacation, to try out leadership on a short-term basis. Continue talking and assessing as the employee learns what it takes to lead and see if it’s truly a viable track for him or her.
Maybe you’ve already given employees a supervisory or management position and it’s not working out. For instance, they no longer have an obvious enthusiasm for their work, or people within their department keep quitting. Talk with them to assess if there’s any way you can assist. Determine whether additional training will help. If not, see if transferring them to another position is the best option. The employee may be glad to return to his or her previous role or be transferred to another department where his or her skills can shine.
If you supply your bosses and potential bosses with the training and encouragement to do a great job, those who have the skills to lead will excel and develop loyal, effective teams of dedicated employees.
Spotting bosses who are bringing teams down and, if they are worth keeping around, moving them into positions where they can excel in other areas will reduce turnover and show employees that there are career path options for just about everyone.
July 19, 2018
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