Today, I'm giving you a short self-test to determine whether or not you are a manager who uses fear to try and motivate employees. These are not things that you might normally think of as making employees afraid of you, but they are things that they notice and it makes them wary and puts them on the defensive. Ask yourself each of the following questions, then think carefully and honestly about your answer. Give yourself one point each time you answer yes:
- Are you inconsistent? (Do you make a decision then change your mind within a few hours or days?).
- Are you dismissive of the ideas and suggestions of subordinates?
- Do you schedule or cancel meetings at short notice? (Within hours of the meeting).
- Do you avoid, or give the silent treatment to, employees you are unhappy with?
- Do you often work in your office with the door closed?
- Do you make a big deal out of little mistakes or problems that have no long term importance?
- Are you a micromanager? (Hovering over employees or constantly directing every move).
- Do you make snap decisions without fully understanding a job, procedure, or process?
- Do you take credit, or allow credit to be given to you, when others did the job?
- When things go wrong, do you deflect the blame onto others?
How did you do? Take the total number of times you answered yes and see what you your score reveals about you below.
- Answered "yes" 1-3 times: We all make mistakes. We all have bad days. You're not necessarily a bully, but you need to be careful about consciously noticing your behavior, make changes where you answered "yes," and resolve right now to avoid letting your behavior slip into any of the areas where you answered "no.".
- Answered "yes" 4-7 times: You are likely a bully and your employees resent your actions and don't enjoy working for you. Morale among your employees is moderately low, but will get worse as time goes on unless you make changes. You may be losing a few good employees who found new jobs. Productivity and customer service (internal, external, or both) are not as high as they could be. Be careful as your behavior could start to affect profits (lack of efficiency, increased hiring and training costs). You need to be very conscious of what you are doing and why and work to make positive changes. Read some books on leadership or find a mentor.
- Answered "yes" 8-10 times: You are a bully. Your actions affect nearly everyone who works with you. Employees don't like working for you and try to avoid dealing with you. Morale is extremely low and employees are leaving for other jobs, looking for other jobs, or thinking about leaving. Morale is also affecting customer service, which in turn is leading to lower revenues and profits. You need to do some serious soul searching about why you treat your subordinates with such disrespect and look for help and training to become a better manager before you find yourself fired or your business fails.
Starting next week I'll focus on understanding morale in the workplace and some "big picture" things that you can do to make a positive change in the morale of the office.
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