5 Things Your Employees Aren’t Telling You
Managing other people is hard, no matter the industry or field. And it doesn't matter how great your relationship is with your employees, the minute you have supervisory authority over someone else, a line is drawn in the sand—and you definitely won’t be getting the full story.
Here are five things your employees probably aren't telling you.
I Made A Mistake
We all screw up sometimes—maybe we’re moving too fast in order to meet a deadline or simply drop the ball. As a manager, you don’t want to be surprised by a blunder, so it’s important to develop a team culture that lets employees know it’s better to fess up and own their mistakes than try to cover them up. After all, is there anything worse than being surprised as a supervisor? You can work to build this kind of culture by not overreacting to employee errors and admitting your own shortcomings when appropriate. No one is superhuman.
I'm Overwhelmed By My Workload
You’ll often find out too late that employees are overwhelmed. Either a major deadline gets missed, or an employee burns out, and you're at a loss for a key resource during a stressful time. As a manager, you can work to avoid these challenges by checking in with team members frequently and ensuring you’re on the same page in terms of project priorities. That's a neutral way to approach employees you suspect might be overwhelmed. Ask whether you can help prioritize their workloads and address any obstacles. This language takes the emotion or judgment out of the situation.
I Need You To Trust Me More
On the flip side, while you need to have a firm grasp on the status of projects, you don't need to know the minute details. If employees feel micromanaged, they will begin to believe you don’t trust them enough to do their jobs, and they might start losing confidence. That's rough. It's hard to step back from certain projects, particularly if you’ve only recently been promoted. But it's critical to give employees some breathing room, both for their sanity and yours. You've got other things to worry about now.
I Need More Information About The Big Picture
It's easy to get caught up in your to-do list and forget your reports don't have the same perspective as you do. They're not communicating directly with your boss, so they might not be aware of major company initiatives, the "why" behind new HR policies, and more. But your employees need to be as tied in to the big picture as you are—and if you don't share information with them, they'll be tempted to fill in the gaps among themselves, and that situation can cause trouble. It's better to communicate early and often and control the message
Employees are generally hesitant to tell you they're bored. They're leery you'll decide their position isn't needed, or you'll give them too much more to do (see overwhelmed above). But bored employees are at best a lost opportunity and at worst a liability. They might start filling their time with online shopping or social media. Or they might start looking for other jobs. To ward off boredom, check in with employees frequently about whether they feel positively challenged in their positions. If they are starting to feel stagnant, then work with them to find additional opportunities or new ways to contribute to the team.
While your employees won't share this information with you during their employment, they're likely to after they've given their two weeks' notice. Better to keep these areas in mind upfront and retain your employees.