You’re a terrific boss, but what are your employee engagement goals? You’re an employee who wants to succeed, but your boss is a little difficult—to say the least. Maybe they have control issues or you feel they overlook your skills.

It may not matter that companies spend an annual $15 billion on managerial leadership development, particularly when your boss thinks they know everything already.

Here are common mistakes bosses make that undermine a company’s success—and a simple plan for both employees and managers to manage expectations and gain results.


Takes credit

Who likes working hard only to have the boss swoop in and declare it as “working magic” to the higher ups? No one. Interestingly, BabyBoomers are more irritated when it happens. A study found that 57 percent of Millennials (workers between 18-29) disagree with a boss taking credit while 77 percent of workers over the age of 60 years or older say that kind of behavior is incredibly unprofessional. Maybe with less job security, bigger student loan debts, and a world weighing under climate change, Millennials are worried about other things.


Does not trust you/does not empower you

Trust is key in any relationship, professional or not. A boss that empowers his or her employees by showing them their judgement is trusted and respected. A good boss reveals that they have in confidence in their employee’s decision making. This indicates the most important quality employees want in the workplace: respect


Hires and/or promotes unqualified people

When your boss hires or promotes the wrong person, it can demoralize team spirit to say the least. Maybe they passed on a perfectly qualified colleague or onboard a person who the company doesn’t really need. This kind of move would call a manager’s judgment into question.


Takes the side of the client. Always.

Not much demotivates an employee like knowing that their boss will always take the client’s side. “The customer’s always right” may be a popular saying, but it’s an ineffective way to lead and inspire a team. Employees want to know their boss will weigh facts and hear both sides of the story and proceed as they can. We get working with clients is challenging, but working with junior staff is essential to minimize turnover.


Does not give clear directions

One way to ensure failure and frustration: do not give understandable directions. It’s on the part of the employee to ask for clarification. However, if after several attempts, directions still remain unclear, it’s time for the boss to distill what they’re asking for.


Does not give autonomy

Micromanaging is one of the worst behaviors in the workplace—it produces zero results in employee engagement, project performance, or morale. In fact, 69 percent of employees said they would consider finding a new job if their bosses were micromanagers. It causes stress, high blood pressure, job insecurity, emotional distress, and shows a lack of confidence. No employee can thrive under such conditions.


Focuses on weakness

One study done by Gallup found that managers who received strengths-based feedback improved their productivity by 12.5%. This lead to an improvement in company profitability by 8.9%. Additionally, another study found that employees are 30X more motivated and feel more engaged in their work when managers focus on their strengths. Focusing on what an employee is doing wrong will backfire.


No clear expectations

Having no expectations is worse than have low expectations—because at least an employee will have a change to surprise a manager with hard work and creativity. With no expectations, it only means failure; it only leads to both manager and employee feeling dissatisfied. It falls on the manager to ensure the team is meeting objectives. Those goals cannot be achieved if they’re not correctly communicated. Have a sit down with your employee and manager and talk about the job description and goals in-depth.


What to do?

Set the scene for success. Download this simple Goals & Objective document. It will keep the conversation focused on defining tasks and scheduling project goal dates.

Start with setting clear goals and objectives. If you’re an employee, this may give your micromanager boss peace of mind (or closer to that) if you initiated a conversation about making sure you reach your goals. If you’re a manager, outlining what you need from an employee or an entire team sets standards and deadline—both much needed for a well-run and effective workplace.


Companies, like BMW, leverage Retorio's deep tech to support their own recruitment teams.  Our video-based AI was featured in TechCrunch and Süddeutsche Zeitung 

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Elizabeth T.

Written by Elizabeth T.

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