While you might be able to attribute a recent decline in business performance to recent economic trends , are you sure that’s the cause? Were you experiencing slow growth or unhappy employees before? What if your company is being poorly managed?

Josh Rovner, author of Unbreak the System: Diagnosing and Curing the Ten Critical Flaws in Your Company, says,

“Management flaws can have a big impact on a company. These flaws [can be] the root causes of poor financial performance, low employee engagement and morale, angry or frustrated customers, goals not being accomplished, missed deadlines, and high turnover.”
Do any of these issues sound familiar? Have you looked at your organizations leadership (people and style) as part of the problem? If you’re not sure why these things are happening, look inward. Those are things within your control, which means with time and effort, you can remedy them.

The first place to look to uncover poor management is your employees. Are they happy? Are they productive? Are they engaged?

Here are the top four ways to identify if things are going south and why. We show you how leadership impacts every part of your business, positively or negatively, and how to fix it.

  1. Employees are leaving left and right

    High employee turnover is a sign something serious is wrong. Can you determine a pattern or isolate specific reasons why employees are leaving? Do employees from the same department or in a particular role often leave? Asking yourself these questions can help you determine the root cause of the issue.

    Poor management can give rise to these three issues that will make your employees run for the hills.

    Overworking your employees

    Do your employees work long hours for an extended period? Are they overextended and undercompensated? If their work-life balance lopsided, they’ll burn out quickly. Demanding work can lead to a negative attitude toward work, leadership, and teammates. No employee operates in a vacuum. When one team member is struggling, it affects the people around them, which in turn affects your bottom line.

    If your employees work long hours to complete a project, reward them with extra PTO or a bonus.

    Not showing appreciation for your employees

    When an employee or team does a good job, are they recognized? Are your employees being compensated fairly for their work? If you don’t show that you value your employees, they will find someone who will.

    Not recognizing, using or building employees’ talents

    Everyone wants to have a sense of purpose and to feel useful at work. If your employees have a unique or specific skillset, can they use or develop it on the job? Do you provide opportunities for personal or professional development? If your employees feel like they are stagnating, that exposes issues in management styles or leadership’s ability to develop employees.

    Consider training your managers to develop their teams. Give employees room to explore and create. Create a professional development program.

    Why is high employee turnover such a big deal?

    Point blank, high turnover is a bad look for the company. Clients and prospective employees might ask, “Why can’t you keep staff?” A revolving door puts employees and clients on edge. You might avoid answering this questions, but that won’t stop clients from thinking about it.

    Hiring employees is taxing and expensive. Turnover strains your staffs workload. It requires time and effort to recruit new employees. Training and getting a new employee up to speed could take months before functioning at total capacity. Every time an employee leaves, they take valuable knowledge with them. Find the problem and get it under control.

    Repeated layoffs has similar issues. If you find yourself letting go of employees regularly, find out why. Do you conduct exit or stay interviews? These interviews can shine a light on the cause. You might find that your hiring practices attract the wrong kind of employee.

  2. New ideas & creativity are rejected

    Leaders and managers who regularly reject new ideas for seemingly no reason might rely too much on how they already do things. However, an over-reliance on the standard operating procedure prevents you from improving. This inflexibility or unwillingness to adapt can spell disaster for your company. Historically businesses that are quick to assess new realities ,pivot, and change have an advantage over those that can’t.

    Give your employees opportunities to shine

    Things will only continue to change, so ensure your leadership team looks to the future with excitement rather than fear. Embrace employees who want to help make improvements. Give them space to try new things and encourage them to take ownership of their ideas.

    Embrace future thinking

    It’s true that sometimes, an idea just isn’t going to work. Maybe you lack the resources or time to see a project through. If that’s the case, explain why their idea won’t work for your employees. Can they adjust their concept to work within your limitations? Or can you share a timeline with them for implementing it? Give them options or an explanation so they understand, and encourage them to share their ideas in the future. They might have an idea that makes your business even more successful.

  3. Micromanagement is the norm

    Micromanaging means “controlling every part, however small, of (an enterprise or activity).” While the motivations behind micromanaging might differ from dismissing new ideas, the effect is the same—frustrated employees. Micromanaging stems from the same problem—losing sight of the bigger picture and your employees’ importance. You’ll run a company alone if you don’t trust your employees. And you can’t grow a company as only one person; it takes a village.

    Worried about output quality

    Suppose you are worried about the quality of the work your employees produce without you. In that case, you should beef up your onboarding and training processes. First, you want your employees to feel confident in themselves. When they feel good about the work, they will produce good work, making delegating easier for you.

    Set company values and standards that underscore the mission and goals. Your mission is the bigger picture, and projects along the way are just a means to achieve that vision. When these are written out and lived by executives and employees, you shouldn’t have as many issues with quality. Realize that mistakes will be made, and that’s ok.

    Unnecessary focus on the negative

    Executives with excessive oversight are overly worried about bad things happening. Shift your outlook from a negative to a positive attitude. Reflect on and highlight what your employees are doing well. Make yourself aware of their unique and vital contributions to the company. When you focus on what’s going right, you will be able to see your employees as capable. You can trust them with more responsibility over time and identify ways they can continue to improve.

  4. Poor, inconsistent or no communication from executives

    When there is little to no communication from leadership, it feels like they hide something from employees. Employees deserve to know what’s going on at work. If things are tough, tell them what’s happening and devise a strategy for improvement or show that you’ll weather the storm together. When you hide from your employees or aren’t forthcoming with essential updates or guidance, your employees won’t trust you. Be open and transparent.

    Confusing messages

    Don’t spit jargon at them either. Your employees are intelligent, but don’t overcomplicate or try to cloud an issue using confusing words or phrases. Your job is to clarify so everyone can understand the goals and missions of the company. True leaders need to know how to effectively communicate important messages and instill a sense of purpose and drive in their employees.

    Erratic leadership style

    Do executives say one thing and then do another? Do they go back and forth on processes or decisions? Your employees look to you as an example. You set the standard. Your actions must be consistent with what you say and company values and norms. If you set company standards or processes, stick to them. Leaders need to set the course and execute plans confidently and steadfastly. If you don’t, you’ll have frustrated employees that want to leave.

  5. Pointing fingers

    Part of being a leader is taking responsibility for your employees’ successes and their failures. You are a team; you win and lose together. When an employee makes a mistake, don’t publicly shame them. Don’t pass the blame onto another employee or team.

    No room for mistakes

    The worst thing you can do is create an environment where mistakes are avoided. It’s only by making mistakes that we learn. Your goal should be to create a learning environment where failures or shortcomings are framed as opportunities for improvement. When you take a realistic approach to mistakes, acknowledging that they will happen no matter what you do, you can move on from them quicker. Teach your employees to think on their feet, be solution-oriented and trusting, and be team players.

    No process for fixing mistakes

    Passing the blame could highlight areas that are consistently underperforming. Suppose something keeps going wrong and is not being fixed. In that case, you need some standard operating procedures, better training, or quality control.

    Every team and company should have processes to handle mistakes and ensure they don’t happen again. When your system works, issues will resolve faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

Key takeaways

Poor management practices manifest in countless ways, but many solutions are universal. Improving on one of the key takeaways below could improve several of the listed problems. In short, treat your people well, and you’ll be in good shape. It’s that simple.

  • Trust your people.
  • Value your people.
  • Reward your people.
  • Openly communicate.
  • Welcome & encourage mistakes.
  • Have good training and professional development programs.
  • Have a defined vision, mission and goals.