Rise Performance Group

The World’s Worst Advice for Keeping Employees Happy at Work

By Sally Ann Moyer

Sometimes it feels like robots rule the world. If a computer can do it, a computer will do it. Companies have downsized with the help of technology and some jobs are now all but obsolete. So what happens to the humans who remain? Some jobs can never be replaced. Does our technologically advanced society demand that humans working with machines become like robots too? The world’s worst advice for staying happy at work might encourage you to give up on your humanity and follow the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality.

Effective managers know that it’s important to get humanity back into business. When it comes to boosting employee attitudes and encouraging employee motivation, here are three blunders they know to avoid:

1. Treating your employees like robots

Impersonal leadership is a dangerous game. Keeping a cold distance from your employees can actually make them feel like “hostages at work,” according to an HBR blog on leadership. People need a secure base for comfort and energy. If you want to boost employee motivation, ease their anxieties. Effective managers don’t have to become paternalistic caregivers, but they should work to develop attachments at work.

Every enterprise or organization will likely face some levels of unexpected stress. You want to be able to work together as a team with your employees when that time comes. Build relationships now to keep employee attitudes high even when their environment becomes hostile or difficult. Your employees should be able to trust you. If you want them to have faith in your leadership capabilities, they need to have faith in you.

2. Never asking for help or relinquishing power

It’s natural to want to assume the role of the fearless leader. As someone in a position of authority, you might be afraid to fail. However, tucking your pride away can help your employees feel more valuable. According to a TribeHR Blog, “desperation is the perfect time to recognize how much you value your employees’ skills and contributions.” It is in these weak moments that your team can come together to build an even better company. Boost morale and employee attitudes by thanking your employees for their contributions. When they see that they are important to the success of your organization, they will be more eager to help out in the future.

Being generous with power also helps build employee trust. It shows that you care about what your staff is doing or not doing. Sharing power also mean sharing the responsibility for dealing with the consequences, according to a Fast Company article by Erika Andersen. This is not a path for lazy managers. You will have to communicate more with your employees by providing continuous feedback. However, the payoff is huge. “Generous leadership makes people feel capable, included, and motivated to succeed,” Andersen wrote. Effective managers want to empower their employees.

3. Trying to catch people screwing up

Are you the boss who always notices when something goes wrong? Forgetting your employees’ daily successes can create a hostile work environment. Instead of relentless fault-finding missions, celebrate small acts of kindness. An HBR Blog on catching people doing things right argues that kindness and compassion are what reminds us to be human in the midst of our technology-driven world. Providing employees with constructive feedback and praising their small successes can go a long way in keeping people happy at work. For example, TD Bank stays human-centered by rewarding employees with stickers every time a manager or officer catches them living up to the company’s principles of great services. As the card fills with stickers, employees become eligible for prizes.

Looking for the positive can help keep humanity in your workplace. Robots don’t care about feelings or attitudes. Your employees are not robots. You must remember to treat them like humans if you want to build strong relationships for successful team efforts.

How do you keep employees happy at work?

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