Difficult boss: How do I stop being too hard on my employees?

BY THE OFFICE COACH - OCTOBER 28, 2016

I have been given the feedback that I am too hard on my employees. How can I ease up on them, what am I doing wrong?

There are three types of  ‘bad bosses’: the indecisive boss, the insecure leader and the all-knowing. Regardless of which category you might fall into, you can come across as overly critical, when you have the best intentions.

Ask yourself three questions, and be honest.

1. Do you share why you’re hard to please?

Managers can be tough on their best employees, because they see potential, and want to push them. And when the employee who’s the target of their manager’s toughness, sees peers ‘getting away’ with something, they might feel frustrated and that their contributions aren’t valued.

To fix this, be transparent. If you’re being harsh on an employee because you think they’re talented (and therefore have higher expectations), tell them. As a result they will know you believe in which is why you have high expectations of them. This communication can make the the difference between feeling frustrated and feeling motivated.

2. Are you never satisfied?

Are you forever sending back work for not being good enough? Are you a controlling perfectionist? If you don’t want labeled as such, you need to pay attention to your language and actions.

Even when giving constructive feedback or motivating the team, you need to speak respectfully. And if you are challenging someone because you think they can do better, you should back it up with opportunities for growth, and interesting, meaningful projects.

3. Do you encourage dialogues?

Do you listen to your team’s questions and suggestions? If you don’t, your employees may feel like their ideas or concerns aren’t valuable. If you haven’t honed your listening skills, people can become afraid to approach you, and share what they’re really thinking; and that’s bad for business and relationships.

Become an active listener. Be calm and truly give your employee the space to speak freely.

No one wants to be known as an overly critical boss.

Use these three questions and tips to do a quick self-assessment and correct your behaviors where necessary.

That’s the WHAT and WHY. For workshops that help you unlock the HOW, contact [email protected] .