Let’s face it, most entrepreneurs are inept managers. For the majority of small business owners (especially those who have spent little to no time in a formal corporate environment), management is a paramount challenge that prevents them from achieving company growth.
In many instances, consistently poor employee management leads to the eventual demise of the organization. Unhappy employees become emotionally wearing to the entrepreneur, they demolish their confidence, kill their ability to focus on their own job and often spread their discontent around the office (turning off other employees) which multiplies all the problems above.
The challenge is that when an employee is dissatisfied, they rarely verbalize the reasons. An entrepreneur must use their intuition. Here’s an obvious secret: employees who are disgruntled at their bosses become cold, challenging, unproductive, defiant and / or depressed (depending on individual personality).
The longer this goes on for, the more likely the employee is going to quit or, even worse take action to get back at their old boss from sheer frustration and need to get even.
Pinpointing What Disgruntles Employees
Determining that an employee is upset is the easy part. Determining why an employee is unhappy is the more difficult puzzle to solve. However pinpointing the driver for dissatisfaction is the first step to rectifying the problem.
After spending 12 years running a recruiting firm, it has become apparent that there are a few common ways in which small business owners tend to turn what could be satisfied, productive workers into their worst nightmare.
Below, our recruiters have listed 3 factors that unravel a boss’s ability to get anything great done.
1. Missing the balancing act that is delegation. It’s usually one extreme or the other. Either the entrepreneur doesn’t delegate enough or they rule with an iron fist. Both tactics are highly problematic.
First, lack of delegation results in confusion among subordinates and makes the business owner appear disorganized, which erodes performance and engagement.
After all, if a worker doesn’t know what they should be doing, they are not going to do it well. Also, failure to assign clear tasks makes it near impossible for management to hold employees accountable for their performance.
Conversely, when the entrepreneur delegates like a tyrant, they gain short term compliance from workers, however curry resentment from the get-go, which in the long-term results in an unhappy workforce that often does the opposite of what they are told the moment the boss is not looking.
Autonomy is a necessary component for employee happiness. However, too much autonomy is a set-up for failure.
2. The undesired label that is “self-centered.” Workers stop caring about their job if they perceive that their boss does not care about them. Often, this is not the case, however if the employees perceive it to be reality, then in effect, it is a real problem.
The number one driver leading to this scenario is when the entrepreneur fails to keep their word. Whether it be on pay, potential work upside or anything else, a great way to lose trust is to promise the world to an employee and not deliver.
A more subtle way entrepreneurs appear uncaring is when they become overly focused on their own work and in turn fail to support those under them with either emotional support and / or sufficient resources.
3. Perceived lack of character. Employees judge their managers based upon the way they act, not what they say. Entrepreneurs that build successful companies lead from the front. They set the right examples. They establish trust through perceived competence and strength.
When personal ethical code comes into question, any and all corporate vision goes out of the window. Often, they are perceived as weak and, since the employees feel that they cannot impact the world, they don’t listen.
In the End
It’s not that entrepreneurs don’t want to be effective managers. It’s not that they don’t recognize the sheer importance leadership (a.k.a – having productive, engaged employees).
Management requires a high degree of practice, learning and making the right judgements. Most importantly, it encompasses understanding when, why and how leadership abilities are either gained or lost.