20 Dumb Mistakes Employers Make

by Reedz on September 2, 2011

ITB Convo 2009

  1. Add another level of hierarchy because people aren’t doing what you want them to do. (More watchers get results??)
  2. Appraise the performance of individuals and provide bonuses for the performance of individuals and complain that you cannot get your staff working as a team.
  3. Add inspectors and multiple audits because you don’t trust people’s work to meet standards.
  4. Fail to create standards and give people clear expectations so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail.
  5. Create hierarchical, permission steps and other roadblocks that teach people quickly that their ideas are subject to veto and wonder why no one has any suggestions for improvement.
  6. Ask people for their opinions, ideas, and continuous improvement suggestions, and fail to implement their suggestions or empower them to do so. Better? Don’t even provide feedback about whether the idea was considered or why it was rejected.
  7. Make a decision and then ask people for their input as if their feedback mattered.
  8. Find a few people breaking rules and company policies and chide everybody at company meetings rather than dealing directly with the rule breakers. Better? Make everyone wonder “who” the bad guy is. Best? Make up another policy to punish every employee.
  9. Make up new rules for everyone to follow as a means to address the failings of a few.
  10. Provide recognition in expected patterns so that what started as a great idea quickly becomes entitlement. (For example, buy Friday lunch when production goals are met. Wait until people start asking you for the money if they cannot attend the lunch. And, find employees meeting only the production goal that will merit the prize – and not one bit more. )
  11. Treat people as if they are untrustworthy – watch them, track them, admonish them for every slight failing – because a few people are untrustworthy.
  12. Fail to address behavior and actions of people that are inconsistent with stated and published organizational expectations and policies. (Better yet, let non-conformance go on until you are out of patience; then ambush the next offender, no matter how insignificant, with a disciplinary action.)
  13. When managers complain that they cannot get to all of their reviews because they have too many reporting staff members, and performance development planning takes too much time, eliminate PDPs. Better? Require supervisors to do them less frequently than quarterly. Or, hire more supervisors to do reviews. (Fail to recognize that an hour per quarter per person invested in employee development is the manager’s most important job.)
  14. Create policies for every contingency, thus allowing very little management latitude in addressing individual employee needs.
  15. Conversely, have so few policies, that employees feel as if they reside in a free-for-all environment of favoritism and unfair treatment.
  16. Make every task a priority. People will soon believe there are no priorities. More importantly, they will never feel as if they have accomplished a complete task or goal.
  17. Schedule daily emergencies that prove to be false. This will ensure employees don’t know what to do, or are, minimally, jaded about responding when you have a true customer emergency.
  18. Ask employees to change the way they are doing something without providing a picture of what you are attempting to accomplish with the change. Label them “resisters” and send them to change management training when they don’t immediately hop on the train.
  19. Expect that people learn by doing everything perfectly the first time rather than recognizing that learning occurs most frequently in failure.
  20. Letting a person fail when you had information, that he did not, which he might have used to make a different decision.

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