10 Tips on how to destroy employee morale


Submitted on 2014/05/06 at 9:52 pm

10 tips on how to destroy employee morale ….. 

Tips for some of the Port Orange Management team

I have (mostly) had the fortune of working for some very good managers/leaders throughout my career, including some excellent Singaporean managers. And I myself have had to lead employees and teams in Singapore, rest of Asia, Europe and the US.
However unfortunate a situation you find yourself in, the times we learn the most are often those in which we are placed in the most difficult situations and that’s why I have always said, “There is no such thing as a bad experience”.
One of these difficult situations, which I found myself in, was working for a boss who did all the wrong things when it came to creating a positive, energized, work environment.
Yet it was in this very situation that I found myself learning through first hand experience, how NOT to manage and lead others and I firmly believe (or certainly hope) that through this experience more than any others, I have become a better leader myself.
So what have I learned? I learned that, as a leader, the best way to destroy employee morale, innovation, and productivity, and to create an environment of high staff turnover is to:
1) Constantly Change Direction
If you want to really demotivate even the best of employees, just keep changing the direction of the company. I’m not talking about changing direction every year, or even every month, but change direction every week for the best results.
You will be guaranteed to create frustration and confusion, and your employees will simply throw their hands up in the air and stop work on their projects knowing that next week, they will have to start work on different projects anyway.
2) Criticize Everything
A great way to kill innovation and creativity in the workplace is to criticize any idea. Better yet, criticize these ideas in front of other employees for an even greater impact.
Then be sure to follow this up with how you feel it should be done. After all, you are the boss, and your employees are simply your low level minions, right?
3) Micro-Manage Activities (while holding individuals accountable for results)
A real morale killer is micro-management. If you want a team of poor performers, drive out your best performers by micro-managing everything they do (while frequently criticizing).
And to speed up the process, hold them accountable for results too. Your best performers will surely feel as though they are in a no-win situation and start looking for something new.
4) Set Unrealistic Goals
Another fantastic way to demotivate is to set goals that are completely unrealistic, without providing employees resources or leeway to drive their projects.
5) Blame Employees When Results are Poor; Give Credit to Outside Factors When Results are Good
Surely poor results are not due to your stellar leadership skills so it has to be your employees, so make sure they know this.
And when sales are doing great, be sure to explain that this is due to the economy or the results of the work done by the prior employees (who have long moved on to another company).
6) Pit Departments Against Each Other
Competition is good, right? Then what better way to build a great team environment than to have each department compete against each other?
Take employees comments about the other departments out of context and use this to “motivate” the department manager to outperform the other departments. You will surely create an untrusting, un-collaborative work environment which is a pre-requisite to poor productivity and exceptionally bad customer service.
7) Don’t Invest Time in In-Depth Interviews
Interviews take too much time and can be tiring so to build a team of poor performers, don’t waste time on finding and hiring the right people.
Spend no more than 1 hour with your final candidate(s) and during this time, spend most of it talking about yourself or your company.
And definitely don’t waste time calling and personally speaking with the candidate’s references. Soon, you will start building up a reputation as a poor leader and company culture, stopping any good candidates from considering joining your team.
8) Reduce Benefits to the Absolute Minimum
A truly effective leadership style to destroy employee morale is to have the attitude that employees should be thankful they have a job, especially in tough economic times.
And make sure they know this. A good way to make them feel this, is to reduce or cut out all ‘frivolous’ benefits including vacation time. Unhappy families create unhappy employees which creates unhappy work environments.
9) Create Excessive Paper Work and Meetings
Top performers like to feel as though what they are working on makes a real, positive, impact on the business. So if you want to drive them out, be sure to fill up their days with a lot of unnecessary paper work, reports, meetings, and anything else which keeps them from working on meaningful projects or engaging with customers.
10) Never Make Decisions
And finally, never make any decisions. When your employees come to you with proposals, have them rework the proposal because you don’t understand it or it isn’t in the format you want. And when they come back to you with the reworked proposal, have them re-work it again. Keep this cycle going until the employee gives up and stops pestering you for a decision.
Job well done! You have just destroyed any employee morale and you can look forward to high turnover, disgruntled employees, and as a result, poor productivity, customer service, and financial results.
Obviously, I’m trying to make a point here because one way to learn how to do something, is to first learn how NOT to do something. If you are in any leadership position (which means a position of influence and not necessarily a position of authority), reflect on the above points and challenge yourself on which of the above traits you sometimes exhibit.
And commit to improving the one that is most impacting employee morale in a negative way.
Robert Kleinschmidt, A Passionate Business Builder and Turnaround Professional
– See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/commentary/10-tips-how-destroy-employee-morale#sthash.uZNKhrNJ.dpuf

3 thoughts on “10 Tips on how to destroy employee morale

  • May 7, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    What Happens to an Organization With Bad Management?
    by Carol Deeb, Demand Media
    Bad management can impact employees and a company’s overall operations. Incompetent managers exist, and they can have challenges relating to staff members and keeping them motivated. In addition, substandard supervisors may not be able to balance budgets, increase revenues or capably perform other crucial tasks. If employees complain about working for your management team, investigate the claims so your organization doesn’t suffer irreparably from poor leadership.
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    Low Morale
    Low employee morale in your organization can be a result of bad management. When employees complain to each other, complete their tasks with minimal effort or fail to finish their work assignments on time or at all, they may be suffering from a lack of motivation due to a manager who does not relate to the staff. Employees may perceive inequitable treatment of some co-workers that results in favoritism; or they don’t have leadership necessary to keep them on task. In addition, a poor supervisor may not pay attention to the needs of employees, such as allowing a balance between work duties and personal life or providing training.
    Reduced Productivity
    If management does not clearly define performance expectations or follow up with employees about their levels of productivity, your organization can experience reduced revenues. When employees join your company, they should receive a performance plan with the standards for their positions listed. Regular appraisals help employees to know that the organization is satisfied with their performance. If management does not set performance standards and follow up with reviews, staff members may not feel appreciated. Continually wondering if they are meeting expected requirements will sap productivity. Without set standards, management will face a disciplinary challenge when poor work performance eventually does affect productivity.
    Related Reading: What Ways Can an Individual Influence an Organization Through the Quality of His Management?
    Decrease in Profits
    Bad management can lead to a decrease in profits in two ways: by not supervising personnel properly and not balancing the company budget. When employees are faced with bad management, they may spend their time looking for other employment and not focusing on reaching the goals of the organization. This causes the company to pay an industry wage for a low output. If the sales department is affected by bad management, gross profits are directly impacted when quotas are not met. In addition, if expenditures are too high or money is otherwise mismanaged, a lower business income will be realized.
    Business Failure
    Bad management has caused organizations to permanently close their doors. Poor leadership results in high turnover of employees; the cost of recruitment and training becomes prohibitive, which can impact a business’s ability to continue operations. Bad management may affect the coffers directly, too, if company funds are mismanaged or the budget is overextended in comparison with revenues earned. Without sufficient business reserves, you may not be able to absorb consistent losses, and your organization can fail.

  • May 8, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Performance Management
    Performance Management Cycle
    Valuing Employee Performance – An Important Aspect of Performance Culture
    OPM’s Human Capital Accountability and Assessment Framework is a tool to help agencies strategically manage their human resources. One of the dimensions of the scorecard is Performance Culture, and one of the measures of Performance Culture is employees’ perceptions of how well the organization values their performance. If employees feel valued by the organization, a performance culture can develop that sets the stage for high levels of performance. Agencies can use many formal and informal methods to ensure that employees know that the agency values employee performance.
    Formal Methods:
    •Award programs should provide supervisors and managers the tools they need to formally recognize and reward their employees for good performance. Regulations provide for four forms of awards that agencies can grant to Federal employees: cash awards, honorary awards, informal recognition awards, and time off awards.
    •Award programs can include some form of public recognition that includes an explanation of why the recognition is given. Supervisors and employees should know what awards the agency grants, the criteria for each award, and the recipients of those awards, while complying with privacy requirements.
    •Supervisors should include employees in the process of developing employee performance plans. That process should include a discussion of organizational and work unit goals, and how the employee’s performance supports those goals. By formally outlining how employee efforts help the agency, the supervisor shows that the employee is important to the organization.
    •Agencies should train and develop their supervisors in human relations skills and communication techniques. These skills improve the employee-employer relationship and help to create an atmosphere of mutual respect where people value everyone’s contributions.
    •Agencies can provide developmental and promotional opportunities, give employees additional responsibilities, and allow employees to represent the organization at meetings. Providing these and other developmental opportunities help employees see how much the agency values its employees through its commitment in time and money to employee development.
    Informal Methods:
    •Supervisors should actively solicit employee input on issues, act on the input, and communicate those actions to employees. These actions show employees that agencies value their opinions and suggestions.
    •Supervisors should verbally thank employees for jobs well done, provide informal recognition when warranted, and give positive feedback to employees on their performance as often as possible. These small gestures of appreciation can mean a lot to employees.
    •Supervisors should discuss with employees their role in the organization and how they contribute to achieving organizational goals. When employees know where they fit in and can see how their efforts help the agency meet its goals, they know they make a positive difference.
    •Management should conduct informative all-hands or staff meetings to discuss and share information about the organization as a whole, its mission, and its goals. Taking these steps keeps the employee informed. Employees tend to feel valued if management shares important information with them.
    The role of supervisors is pivotal in developing a performance culture. Good supervisors communicate well with employees and can help them feel that their performance is valued and that they are important to carrying out the agency’s mission.

  • May 8, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Good Management, Bad Management
    By Justin Bellinger
    Thursday February 25, 2010
    Good Management, Bad Management
    Being a good manager is not actually that hard, all it takes is practice and a willingness to communicate. And, like all talents, you need to practice constantly, here’s a handy list to help you spot the differences and to help you practice being a good manager:
    1.A good manager listens more than he or she talks. A bad manager talks and never listens.
    2.A good manager is as much a team player as a leader. A bad manager hides in his or her ivory tower.
    3.A good manager delivers good or bad news in person. A bad manager delivers bad news via email, and rarely delivers good news.
    4.A good manager gives credit where it is due. A bad manager takes all the credit, in the mistaken belief that he or she was the key reason something worked.
    5.A good manager schedules downtime so as not to burn out the team. A bad manager burns out the team, and replaces people when they are burnt out, thinking they were losers.
    6.A good manager makes the workplace (and work) fun. A bad manager believes having fun is something you should do on your own time.
    7.A good manager surrounds him or herself with people better than them at doing the task. A bad manager hires “yes” people who makes the manager look good.
    8.A good manager understands and encourages focused side-projects. A bad manager fires people for doing anything not mandated by that manager.
    9.A good manager does not tolerate in-fighting and empire building. A bad manager empire builds and encourages “favourites”.
    10.A good manager promotes on merit and ability. A bad manager promotes his friends based on their ability not to show him or her up.
    11.A good manager takes some of the pain when cuts need to be made. A bad manager fires the most expensive people.
    12.A good manager makes work somewhere you want to be. A bad manager makes going to work hell.
    A good manager is someone you want to work for and with. What’s your manager like?


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