What Signs are You Watching For?

buy-in demoralizing management style employee engagement high performers leadership culture leadership in management performance productivity signs of a miserable job team environment Apr 27, 2022
Three Signs of a Miserable Job

Creating an atmosphere where our team members don’t throw up when they think about working for us involves more than just avoiding the urge to be an insufferable jerk by demoralizing everyone we manage and yelling louder when they don’t heed our every command. There might not be cause to celebrate just because they don’t constantly look like they want to kill us… Having team members who don’t hate the ground we walk on is a good start for a few supervisors and managers I’ve dealt with over the years but that’s still no guarantee those team members aren’t absolutely miserable in what they’re doing.

So what are the signs we need to be watching for that suggest the folks on our teams are miserable? I’ll assume you can spot some of the more obvious ones; anger, constant complaining and arguing, spreading strife throughout the group… While I’m never OK with any of those, they’re not the ones that concern me the most! Quite honestly, those are some of the simplest to deal with since they’re so easy to recognize. The signs that do concern me are the ones that aren’t slapping us in the face on an hourly basis.

Have you ever noticed someone on your team had previously asked a lot of questions and often made suggestions, but stopped doing either somewhere along the line? How about the person who used to jump right in any time there was an issue or a coworker needed a hand, and now they seem content to stay to themselves. And what about the one who was always interacting with the folks around or constantly looking for what could be done next but has grown content with the status quo?

To me, these folks are a far bigger concern! First off, we may not even recognize the changes because it’s been so gradual. Second, those are often folks who have previously been some of our most engaged team members. And third - but certainly not finally - they may have one foot out the door by the time their misery actually impacts their outward behavior. I’ve never seen an employee engagement survey or study of any kind that showed actively engaged employees representing more than 35% of a workforce, and most I’ve seen have shown between 20 & 30%. When we consider that the folks I referred to above had likely been in that actively engaged group prior to job misery sinking its ugly claws into them, there’s even more cause for concern!

So what can we do to avoid causing that often invisible misery for our most cherished team members? I believe it boils down to building a positive work environment… And We can do that by showing them a few signs of our own; signs that provide them with immediate and ongoing feedback on their performance and the impact they have on each person they’re serving in the process! We’ll pick up there next time…