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May 3 2017

3 Ways You’re Accidentally Sabotaging Your Team’s Success


Once you’re promoted from the role of an individual contributor to management, your main responsibility becomes your reports: their results, their progress, their work satisfaction, and their career growth.

The last thing you want to do is demotivate them. But of course, most bosses don’t set out to demotivate their team—it happens by accident, maybe without them ever realizing what’s happening.

If you’re a manager, check out the top three ways you might be unintentionally sabotaging employee morale.

1. You Don’t Praise Good Work

Our default reaction to bad work? Call it out, so the person responsible can fix it. That’s an appropriate response. However, we need to make sure we’re also recognizing success. While there’s a less immediate need to congratulate someone (after all, everything is going well), it’s critical in the long term.

Metaphorically patting someone on the back tells them to continue. If you want the same caliber of work going forward, you must acknowledge it in the present.

That might be as simple as saying, “Your code has become noticeably more elegant in the past few months,” or it might be as involved as giving them an award.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the optimal ratio is five positive comments to every one negative comment. Yet the typical ratio is roughly two positive for every one negative—and low-performing teams average three negative for every one positive.

The takeaway is: Try to give your reports credit far more frequently than correcting them. Negative feedback has its place, but being too heavy-handed will do more harm than good.

2. You Hold Too Many Meetings

Unfortunately, many offices have gotten meetings-happy. Instead of reserving meetings for conversations that need to happen face-to-face, we hold them for every little discussion or action point.

Not only does this waste precious time, it also tells your employees that you’re not looking out for their productivity.

Change your culture so meetings are the last option, not the default. Talk over email and chat when you can. You’ll find that output and work engagement will soar as your number of meetings drops.

3. You Shoot Down Ideas

Don’t be too quick to reject your reports’ suggestions. Even though many will be unfeasible, few things are more demoralizing than constantly getting rejected.

Plus, you never know when someone will have a brilliant idea. Instead of saying “No, that won’t work,” help your report decide for themselves if it’s a workable concept.

Ask questions like:

  • “What would be the ideal outcome? How does that relate to our team, department, and company objectives?”
  • “Which resources would we need to make this happen? How would we get them?”
  • “Who would lead this project? How much time would they need to spend to pull it off?”
  • “Are there any other ways to accomplish the same goal?”
  • “What are the major obstacles you foresee?”

The employee will typically end up drawing their own conclusions. You’ll avoid seeming like the bad guy, and they’ll gain important lessons in critical thinking and self-analysis.

Once you’ve stopped making these mistakes with your reports, satisfaction, retention, and results will improve.

About Signature Consultants, LLC

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 29 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit https://www.sigconsult.com. Signature Consultants is the parent company to Hunter Hollis and Madison Gunn.

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