A colleague forwarded this article from salary.com titled “7 Signs Your Employees Hate You” at http://business.salary.com/7-signs-your-employees-hate-you/.
My favorite is “#7. Office Ninjas: They avoid running into you at all costs. Whether they’re always finding excuses to skip your meetings or crossing to the other side of a busy street when they see you approaching, these are clear indicators of a distinct problem.”
OUCH. Unfortunately, I have been on both sides of this one, and every word is true.
It got me thinking about a three-part series we wrote in May 2012 titled, “When you stop believing in your Boss.”
We had just completed a focus group for support teams across the country in a giant attempt to find the disconnect between the boss and the team when trying to reach a common goal within a small business.
We were astonished at what we discovered. We found an unrelenting commitment of team with an honest, while respectful, cry for a place to allow them to grow your business with joy and ease. Team members and bosses speak two distinctly different languages, which often leads to disconnect even though both sides want to achieve the same goal. Here’s an inside look into the voices of support team members so you can better understand and communicate with yours.
The common themes of the conversation were:
. The team wants to be included in the good, bad, and uncertainty.
. It’s the inconsistent, unintentional (or lack of) communication that strangles all faith and hope, for you and for them.
. Once there is a willingness to shed the light on “what’s not working,” only then can we pave the path of possibility with discernment.
Another theme that made us so very proud to be a part of this industry was the deep, rich and eternal gratitude that each of these team members shared about how honored they were to be important enough to be included. Not one of them took this highly regarded responsibility lightly.
We’ve categorized the responses into three main categories, which we will share on this blog in a three-part series. (Visit www.yeschick.com to read the entire series.) But in the spirit of this blog, we will share an excerpt about the frustrations they feel.
So here they are – voices from the unofficial board room.
What Is Your Greatest Frustration Working for an Entrepreneur?
a. I don’t have faith/trust that they will get it done. I would not hire my own boss as a client, and I don’t like feeling that way. It is disheartening.
b. Won’t just let go and trust the key people in the company. If he/she would, I think things would run much smoother. I realize it’s hard to do that, but it’s crucial for the betterment of the business.
c. Won’t get out of my way. I expressed my frustrations to him/her in the moment and received encouragement, then all downhill from there, then things go back to the same. I really am at a loss to get his/her attention, and I can’t seem to communicate that to him.
d. We are known as the “Last Minute Larrys” and now we’ve all gotten in the habit of making that the norm.
e. Letting the boss hire family. When the boss hires the wife, kids, extended family, etc., and there is no accountability in the business. The team doesn’t respect them and will never say anything because they are afraid they will be out of a job. And it sucks for the spouse because they become the buffer, because people will go “whine” to them hoping they will do something about it at home. Then the circular cycle begins.
f. Getting interrupted. I am preparing documents, answering phones and keeping the calendar and everything else. I will be in the middle of drafting and the boss is always shouting out things to me, and I lose track and mistakes happen. I don’t have four walls or a door around me, so I am in the constant firing line, and if something comes into his mind, he has to interrupt me to tell me at that very moment. It’s ineffective.
g. Lack of responsibility on entrepreneur’s part.
h. Getting my boss to focus on the top pressing cases. I present the “TOP Three Gottas” for the day; he will agree but then he will go hide out in email and not do what he said he would. Then sometimes things will linger out there for 2-3 weeks and the clients will be frustrated. At first, I was hopeful that things would happen, but now I just feel blown off and disrespected, and I don’t ever believe that he is going to follow through. Then I have to lie and make excuses to clients. I don’t lie. It is not OK with me to lie.
i. False agreement. No matter how many times we remind them that they have priorities and they agree, they have absolutely no commitment to it. They are just “yessing” us to get us out of their office, but they are going to do what they want anyway.
j. I am excited at the start of the week when we have our TOP things identified that we are going to knock out of the ballpark this week. Then we have a client who is sick or has an emergency. We will over-care for them and overcompensate to help them and drop all the other things, and everything else goes out the window. It’s a new distraction for the entrepreneur, without any understanding of how they just wrecked the world of the assistants and other clients. Not to say we are not going to tend to our clients in need, but the boss will make it into a big social worker ordeal so they don’t have to “work” on the things they don’t like. They thrive in chaos and crisis.
k. Nothing is ever as easy as the entrepreneur thinks when they initially commit. I feel like she thinks what I do and the value I bring is to handle tasks that are simply “quick and easy.”
l. Trying to manage my schedule, but I feel like I always need to go back to my boss to get stuff from them and I have to stand there until they finish it, because I have no faith that he will ever complete it unless I hound him, or eventually break down in tears. Then I appear emotionally unstable instead of committed to the business.
m. They destroy their weekly calendar, which in fact destroys ours.
n. Time management with the boss. They are very unorganized and it’s very frustrating when they throw a curveball into everyone else’s day.
o. Trying to close the loop on open items. When you are trying to pin down the business owner and I have a deadline. I submitted the same thing four times and it keeps getting “lost” in her priorities; now I am in the red and can’t move this off my list and it looks like I am not getting MY job done. I don’t like feeling like I am not doing my job.
Are you surprised at what team members think? We hope you noticed the immense caring for the business behind each of these frustrations. Team members who are just collecting a paycheck don’t care if clients are mad or things aren’t done. These team members care – and that is invaluable. Sometimes we don’t like the crucial truth. It’s a tough conversation, but it can be a real transformer if you allow it to be.
If you want your team to begin to feel this pride, ownership and value in their jobs, consider enrolling them in the Don’t Be a Yes Chick tele-training series to create intrapreneurs in an entrepreneur’s world. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
By Molly Hall