The Top 10 Things Business Owners Do that Demoralizes Their Employees

Drawn from my experience of working with business owners in my consulting work at the Platinum Group, I’ve developed the top ten things that business owners do that drives their staff crazy and eventually, drives them out of their business.

#10: You’re a moving target

You’ll tell your staff to focus on task A this week and then blow your stack that they didn’t focus on task B. Or worse, you “lay down the law” and tell them that they “must do” task “A” a certain way, only to instruct them a few weeks later how to do it differently. You can shift quickly on what you want and you get upset when your staff gets confused.

Matthew 5.37: But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

#9: You act childishly

Speaking of blowing your stack, when you don’t get your way, you get angry. You through a fit over minor infractions and have little tolerance for normal differences of opinion. But since you don’t know how to approach conflict and employee management in a mature way, you fume and fuss to yourself, spending way too much emotional energy and thinking time on how crummy and incompetent your employees are. As a result, you stay in bad moods much longer than you should. Others will describe you as being “moody”.

Psalm 37.8: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Ecclesiastes 7.9: Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools

#8: You have a low opinion of your employees and a high opinion of yourself

You honestly believe that no one can do it (it doesn’t matter what “it” is) nearly as well as you. You may be a “happy arrogant” in which, through your charisma, you’re able to mask some of your arrogance, but it comes out in your thoughts, conclusions and emails to trusted advisors. You describe your employees as those who act stupidly. They are incompetent, they try to “milk you” for additional pay or incentives and they have bad attitudes. You think you’re able to hide your true opinions of your employees from your employees, but what you think about them eventually gets communicated, even if you never say anything to them directly. Your actions and attitudes will bleed through.

Isaiah 13.11: I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

#7: You are insecure

In the quietness of your own mind, you’re highly afraid of being incompetent. When asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, you’ll “make up” an answer to appear knowledgeable and in control. You think you’re fooling others, but you’re not.

Proverbs 17.28: Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues

#6: You are selfish

You often underpay your employees and yet expect them to flex for your needs while ignoring theirs. For example, if you’re having a slow afternoon, you’ll call your employees and have them come in later in the day to save on payroll, but if your busy, you’ll call them to come in early. It’s all about you and your business.

Philippians 2.3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

#5: You’re egocentric

You interpret events around your only as they relate to you. You lack clear understanding of how these same events relate to others in your life. in the business only as it affects them – they do not understand how these events affect others or how another’s action affects others in the office. As a result, you’ll hear advice, but you won’t listen to it. You’ll often discount sage advice.

Proverbs 12.15: The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice

#4: You rarely praise or encourage your employees

You don’t notice when they do something well or go above and beyond their normal job duties. You only notice when they do something poorly or act out of line with your rules.

1 Thessalonians 5.11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

#3: You pass out titles and responsibilities, but you don’t resource your employees properly

Resourcing is more than telling them to take on a responsibility. Properly resourcing your employees includes giving them authority to make decisions, giving them authority to spend appropriately or giving them the opportunity to fail. If they don’t have this, they will never succeed.

1 Timothy 5.18: For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” e and “The worker deserves his wages

#2: You are a micro manager

You hire smart people and then tell them what to do, how to do it and monitor every aspect of their employee’s work performance. In short, you micromanage. Smart, talented people don’t put up with this stuff, so they stay a while, then submit their resignations and move to greener pastures where they can flourish.

Luke 19.12-27: Parable of the ten talents where the master entrusts wealth to several servants, then leaves and gives them the opportunity to grow his money

#1: More than likely, you have significant abuse and family of origin issues that are unresolved

Most of these traits are learned in childhood and are the result of growing up in a highly dysfunctional family system. Perhaps your parents yelled at you. Perhaps they abandoned you. Perhaps they were addicted to alcohol or drugs or sex and introduced you to vices you should have never learned about. Whatever the situation, you need the healing power of Jesus Christ in your life and you need to get some counseling. Until you resolve the anxieties, fears and other emotions inside you, you’ll find that you’re unable to change your behaviors in your business.

What you believe about people and relationships is lived out both at home and in your business. If you find that even two or three of these top 10 items are characteristic of you, then you need to get some help. Don’t delay. You’ll be a better person and a better business owner for straight-forwardly addressing your derailers.

Bill English


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