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Old 15th September 2016, 05:32 AM   #1
Squash Player
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Default Employee disrespect/hate

I have about 12 main employees (plus 4 support staff). Unfortunately, about 4 of the main staff appear to be starting to gang up on me. I have history with staff wanting to leave usually after about 15 months. I guess my management style rubs people the wrong way. I am not abrasive or abusive (and can be sweet and generous) but somehow I still upset people. They do not seem to like the attention to detail and correction of their work Ė but as far as I am concerned, that is what has grown the company from 2 employees to 12. Of course if I could retain staff, I do not doubt the business would grow even bigger. What I require advice on is this: How do I handle these 4 people? There is one that is a gentle easy-going guy that I assumed was loyal, but he is now one of the ring-leaders (I bring that out in people I guess). I mentioned a pay rise to him recently (it was always my intention to do this but the recent situation pushed me into it even quicker) and he just sort of shrugged and didnít even say thanks. However, I have thought about speaking to him alone and asking him what the problem is and why he is distant and starting to be disrespectful. I have also thought of addressing all 4 (separately or jointly) of them but I know that would leave me in a weak position that they probably would seek to exploit in the future (I feel as their boss I must display some strength right?) as in lets gang up again to get what we want. All in all, they are beginning to get disrespectful now (dislike is easier to handle than disrespect) and if I take the no-nonsense approach and yell - they will all end up walking away individually at some point soon. As I say, I have history with this kind of thing. Please advise!! Thanks

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Old 16th September 2016, 11:28 AM   #2
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One thing that's really hard as our business grows is to learn to let go a bit. In fact, it's at that point that many small businesses fail -- when the owner, who has been used to doing things for himself, has to make the transition to managing employees and watching them do things, perhaps using different techniques or tactics than he would have done.

Consider: it's possible that what you see as "attention to detail" they see as "intolerable micromanaging."

Certainly, what you've done so far has allowed your business to grow. Does that mean that you're the only one who can have good ideas about how to run the business? Does it mean that your way of doing things is the only good way of proceeding? Of course not!

Try to take an honest look at the "constructive criticism" you've been offering your workers. Is it really about where they're doing something that needs to be corrected, or is it really more about where they're simply doing something different from what you would have done? If it's the latter, "correcting" them is a problem.

Unless you're hiring unskilled children, your employees are all adults with intelligence and skills. Think about why you hired them in the first place. Did you hire people just because you thought they would be "yes men" who simply went along with everything you said? Or did you hire them because you wanted to take advantage of the unique skills and experience they could bring to the table?

If you've been hiring "yes men," that's a problem for the long-term health of your business. If you're hiring talented people but not turning them loose to do the jobs you hired them for, that's a problem for both short-term employee retention and for the long-term health of your business. And it's bound to bring resentment from the people, who thought they were being hired for their own unique skills and talents, and instead feel as though they're simply supposed to be automatons doing your bidding.

Talking to your employees -- letting them know that you're aware something is wrong, that you want to retain them as employees, that you want honest feedback from them about what is wrong (with no repercussions, retaliation or revenge afterwards), and that you're committed to changing whatever is necessary to keep good employees happy and the business growing -- is not a sign of weakness. The boss who insists that everything has to be done his way is actually demonstrating his insecurity and weakness. Strong, confident people are not afraid to seek feedback; they're willing to let their people make mistakes (and learn from them) without punishing them for trying something new; they're open to changing how they do things as the circumstances of their business change.

The fact that you're aware there is a problem is a huge plus in your favor! Many business owners lack that level of insight. Now, build on that. Get feedback from your people, if possible, and act on what they tell you. Let go of some of your control, even if it leaves you feeling a little (or a lot!) uncomfortable. Your business is growing, and this is going to require you to step out of your comfort zone, try some new ways of doing things, if you want to keep growing.

It won't be easy, but the potential rewards are great. Best of luck!

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Old 20th September 2016, 05:43 AM   #3
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Hi,

Thank you so very much for your great advice. I have been travelling and was thus unable to reply to you sooner. I will take the plunge and speak to the one guy I referred to in my post. I am not sure I have the nerve to speak with all four at once. I hope and believe that the one guy will explain the issues to me and I can take it from there.

Once again, very many thanks and regards.

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Old 20th September 2016, 08:14 AM   #4
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It's good that you're aware that there's an issue. Many bosses aren't.

I'd say speak to them individually, but don't be angry or accusatory. Ask them how they feel about the company and their jobs, listen to what they have to say, and then explain to them how you will work to make things better for everyone. Having a concrete plan in place and showing your employees that you care about their concerns (and will act on them when possible) will help them feel more engaged at work. If they're asking for changes that you can't make, explain to them why you can't and work to make them happier in another way.

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Old 20th September 2016, 10:22 AM   #5
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Good for you! Please come back and let us know how it went.

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Old 20th September 2016, 11:01 AM   #6
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Thank you Torka and Thinking Capital! I will let you know how it goes.

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Old 22nd September 2016, 09:23 AM   #7
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Hi, I am constrained to return for further advice as I do not want to make a mess of it. I have two employees (one of which I referenced in my original post) that I have really made an effort on both professionally and in their personal lives. I believe they should be relatively loyal. My inclination is to speak to them individually and gently highlight the efforts I have made as regards them personally before then asking them what the problem is generally. I feel the need to do this because I am afraid I may just hit a brick wall (as in they will just say, no there is nothing wrong even though there very clearly is). Is it wrong to remind them or I wonder if it has just got so bad that even though they know I have made efforts, they no longer care.

2nd Scenario.

It has been my intention to do an overhaul of the salaries of three of the employees because of the recession and they have proved their worth. The highest paid is a 4th guy and quite frankly I would like to get rid of him as he is not productive for what he gets paid. I am considering with these 3 guys individually, mentioning the major overhaul as I ask them what is wrong and then simply getting rid of the 4th guy. Are they likely to gang up even more in defence of this guy, I wonder....or will the salaries placate them.

By the way, even with the first scenario, I will still do a salary overhaul.

Anyway, the above are just my general thoughts. I await your feedback - Tell me if I am all wrong please. Thank you.

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Old 22nd September 2016, 11:10 AM   #8
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First off, welcome to the forum! I'm happy you found our group.

I'm not sure there is a right or wrong, but I'll throw in my two cents. I would personally consider taking a different approach. You seem emotionally involved in this. That is completely understandable, but before proceeding too far I would take the time to get myself in a good space that was balanced both emotionally and rationally.

My second thought is that you seem to be struggling with pay raises, timing and performance. Have you consider that it may be beneficial to provide your employees with formal employee performance reviews? It could be a tool for you to provide your employees feedback in an objective manner. Additionally, a regular schedule (annually) can let everyone know what to expect - including a discussion of pay and raises at this time. Do you provide reviews now? If not, maybe something to consider.... you could even give them a copy of what they will be reviewed on before the evaluation period.

Third, when you review your employees performance ... they could also be given an opportunity for them to provide you feedback about their job, the company and you.

It could even be best that a separate "manager" completes the evaluation .. or someone else reviews your evaluation of the employee before you share it. Is it objective?

Finally, I'd tie pay raises and compensation to the employee review ... track things over time/years. Set goals with your employees before/after each review.

Just an alternative approach that came to my mind, and consider it brainstorming. Maybe it'll help think of the situation a little different.

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Old 23rd September 2016, 11:18 AM   #9
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Thank you very much.

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Old 26th September 2016, 03:02 AM   #10
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I think your management style should vary employee to employee but that you could be very tiring that just having one. Remember that you can not please everyone. You are a boss and they are employees. They are there to work for you, be corrected for mistakes or errors, be praised for a job well done and compensated correctly or fired if they are not performing something that is not right.

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