A prevalent leadership style in our culture is to run around all day telling people what to do. Some innovators ask for input before going with their own ideas. Other visionaries hover over their employees to make sure they're, "Doing it the right way." These types of leadership behaviors are the same as telling people that they aren't smart enough and can't possibly do things on their own which, in turn, leads to sagging morale. Here are ten tips to help you keep this kind of workplace going and make sure you all enjoy low morale.
- Don't praise people unless you're trying to get them to do something for you.
- Always point out what people aren't doing correctly and use it as an opportunity to tell them what to do again and again.
- Behave inconsistently: be stern one minute, angry the next and occasionally nice but not too nice because that shows weakness.
- Always stick to the rules regardless of extenuating circumstances or common-sense concerns.
- Focus on practicing behaviors that don't work like micromanaging, forcing people to do things they don't want to do or shouting at them.
- Tell people they mean a lot to you and your organization and then pay them inadequately and expect them to work like machines.
- Stifle creativity by discounting people's ideas and telling them to stick to the way things have always been done.
- Let people know how lucky they are to work for your organization and remind them that it's a tough world out there if they can't handle it in here.
- Value profits and productivity over people at all times.
- Stay away from letting people use their genuine talents and abilities or do work that's meaningful to them.
Many well-meaning leaders design workplaces very similar to this. It's not that they're evil or mean, it's just that this is the way things have been done for a long time. Your challenge as a leader is to find ways to do the opposite of the examples we've mentioned here in order to create a workplace where people feel valued and morale soars. The process starts by examining your own behavior and taking action to move in a positive direction. What will you do differently to improve morale in your workplace?