We all make mistakes sometimes; it’s impossible to avoid. However, many of us try hard not to make mistakes because we worry about our job security. A large mistake at work can mean the difference between a steady job and being back out in the job market, so it’s important to work hard and avoid as many mistakes as possible. While employees often worry about upsetting their bosses, sometimes we forget that even bosses make mistakes.
Depending on the boss you have, they may be reluctant to admit when they make mistakes (but chances are that if they have their own boss, they will be accountable to that person). Some bosses don’t even realize that they make mistakes, but of course, they do. There are some mistakes that are truly detrimental to a working relationship with employees. Here are five mistakes that bosses make that can negatively affect a work atmosphere.
1. Not being a leader
Leadership qualities should be one of the first traits that a boss regularly displays. A boss needs to be able to lead subordinates in multiple ways, including leading meetings, leading projects, establishing rules, and managing problems in a department or team. Many bosses also need to be able to distribute tasks, confidently work with clients, and build relationships. All of these tasks require strong leadership qualities, and a good leader also needs to be confident, trustworthy, and empowering. A boss who regularly neglects responsibilities, drops the ball on important meetings, fails to listen to employees, or displays qualities that are not leadership-worthy (such as saying that employees should do one thing, but doing something else) is failing as a boss.
2. Micromanaging employees
It’s one thing to carefully follow and direct the work of an employee who has consistently failed to meet expectations, but it’s another to micromanage multiple or all employees. Although a strong boss will provide direction to employees, giving too much direction, or never allowing employees to work on their own, can be detrimental to a work environment. Employees need to know that their boss trusts them to get the work done, and to do it properly. This builds confidence and self-reliance. Although every boss wants projects to be handled correctly, and the work to be the best possible, it’s a mistake to never allow employees any freedom in their work. All employees need a chance to show that they can handle their workload, and sometimes, they also need a chance to contribute and execute ideas as well.
If you are wondering if you are a micromanager, signs include resisting delegating, consistently correcting details instead of considering the bigger picture, and taking work back that you already assigned.
3. Withholding or failing to share important information
Most bosses have the prerogative to share information when they think it is appropriate and necessary. A boss needn’t share every detail about each client or change in the company, in order to be a good boss; doing so regularly would be sharing too much information. However, it’s important that bosses not regularly withhold or fail to share important information with employees. Sometimes bosses get so busy that they simply forget to share information, or they intentionally keep it to themselves in order to have control over a situation. However, this causes employees not to trust their bosses. It also creates a potential for serious problems if pertinent information isn’t shared: a project can easily go the wrong direction if the people working on it don’t know all the important details.
4. Picking favorites
There will always be people that we like more than other people, and that’s impossible to avoid. However, if a boss regularly show preference to a certain employee (or even a few), other employees will notice. This is a really difficult mistake to avoid, but it’s necessary to try. Bosses should avoid being too friendly with any employee; although a boss should be approachable, being too relaxed with certain employees can backfire. The employees that are on the boss’s good side might start to feel like their boss is more of their friend than their boss, which can reduce productivity. Employees that witness their boss being more chummy with a specific employee, or notice that their boss shows someone else preference in other ways, will feel resentful.
5. Being too relaxed or too tough on employees
Bosses need to be willing to tell an employee when they are not doing a good job and offer suggestions for improvement. This sometimes requires setting uncomfortable meetings, and really speaking up when an employee is failing or underperforming at some aspect of their job. Bosses who fail to inform their employees when they need to improve are making a mistake.
However, bosses that are too hard on employees are also making a mistake. Bosses that consistently cut down employees verbally, or even refuse to compliment an employee’s work, or show appreciation once in a while, can overwhelm employees. It’s exhausting to work for an employer who is never satisfied. Bosses can also become a bully, either by verbally abusing employees, or humiliating them. Other types of bullies include bosses that sexually or otherwise discriminate against employees.
There are many other mistakes that bosses make, and many of them go unseen. While an error in a report might never be known to employees, regularly making any of the five mistakes listed above will negatively affect employees and the work atmosphere.