How to Lose an Employee in 10 Days
Are you inspired by the headlines about harsh, take-no-prisoners leaders? Want to really show your employees who’s boss?
Congratulations! Your employees are probably looking for new jobs.
Here’s the thing. We’ve all heard the truism “Employees don’t quit a company. They quit a manager.” And it’s true — managers are important. The best managers in my career have brought me new opportunities, helped me grow in ways I didn’t expect, and highlighted my potential even when I didn’t always see it.
So in the spirit of the 2003 classic rom-com, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” let’s think through common ways you could be losing your employees — and how to get back on the right track.
Put Yourself First
Don’t do anything that inconveniences you, boss! Let your employees handle the tough stuff and all of the ungratifying work. Pass off the grunt work like it’s a hot potato.
➡THE SWITCH: It’s okay to delegate, but not always. Sometimes you need to deal with a sticky problem yourself, or work with your employees to divide and conquer and solve the problem. Working closely with your team will allow you to have a greater appreciation for the work they do and your employees will appreciate the partnership.
If you lose a deal or embarrass yourself in front of senior leaders, blame it on your team immediately — and make sure you turn to that employee in front of others to tell him or her they’ve failed. Pile on extra blame if that employee provided you with the information you needed and you chose to ignore it and take a different path.
➡THE SWITCH: Even if your team may have contributed to a poor outcome, you’re the leader and should take accountability. It’s okay to have private productive follow-up conversations to mentor your employees. It’s also okay to give credit when credit is due. It’s never okay to berate an employee (or anyone for that matter) in front of others.
Problems? What problems? Pretend personnel issues don’t exist and let them pile up. If one employee isn’t pulling their weight, ignore it — the rest of the team will pick up the slack. They won’t mind watching him or her come in late, surf the web all day, and leave early.
➡THE SWITCH: Have those tough conversations no matter how uncomfortable they are. Act confidently and decisively as a leader, and you’ll give your employees faith in your leadership when the next tough problem comes up.
Always choose the same employee for the exciting opportunities. Better yet, give them the best bonus and raise every year even if they’re not the highest performer on your team. And make sure they flaunt those opportunities for the rest of the team to see.
➡THE SWITCH: Empower all employees with new opportunities and show that each employee has equal value to your team and organization. Some employees may require mentoring, but the effort you put in will inspire them to be better and do better, resulting in a more productive employee.
Don’t Worry About Your Team’s Health or Happiness
This is work, not recess! Make work a priority above everything else and make sure employees know they need to be available 24/7. Send late-night texts and emails asking unimportant questions and deny all requests for time off because you’re just too busy (always).
➡THE SWITCH: Remember to value your employees’ personal lives. There is always a way to find the right balance. Rather than crossing the boundaries, respect your employees’ personal time and ask yourself if it can wait until the morning or until Monday. Know that when your employee is able to take time off, they will come back refreshed and more productive. As a leader, your employees will follow your lead.
To all the managers out there, know that employees won’t stay forever, no matter how supportive you are. But we can take little steps every day to provide an employee experience that people rave about (instead of run from!). Good luck!