Worst Things Bosses Do To Their Employees

Yeah, you’re in charge. Yeah, it’s your way or the highway.

And, yeah, your employees might hate you.

As a boss, you have a lot of power. But you need to be smart about how you use it. Here are seven things you need to avoid:

1. You make employees evaluate themselves.

I know. “I’ve done self-evaluations before,” you’re thinking, “and I found it to be a very helpful period of self-reflection.”

Um, BS.

2. You make employees evaluate their peers.

I’ve done peer evaluations. They suck.

Peer means “work together.” Who wants to criticize people they have to work with afterward? Plus, you can claim evaluations are confidential all you want, but people figure out who said what about whom.

You should know every employee’s performance inside and out. If you don’t, don’t use his or her peers as a crutch. Dig in, pay attention, and truly know the people you claim to lead.

3. You pressure employees to make charitable donations.

The United Way was the charity of choice at a previous employer. Donations were tracked, because the stated company goal was 100 percent participation.

4. You make employees go without food at meal times.

Say you go to a wedding that starts at 5 p.m. If there’s a reception, you

5. You make (however “voluntarily”) employees attend social events.

Any time your employees are with people they work with, it’s like they’re at work. And those situations aren’t Vegas; whatever happens there comes back to work.

Embarrassing behavior aside, some people just don’t want to socialize outside of work. And that’s their choice–unless you do something that can make them feel like they should attend.

Then it no longer feels like they have a choice and what you intended as a positive get-together becomes anything but.

expect a meal to be served instead of just hors d’oeuvres, right?

So don’t invite employees out for after-work drinks at 6:30 p.m. That’s a company dinner, not company drinks.

6. You make employees reveal personal information for “team building.”

I once took part in a “transformational leadership” offsite. First, we were told to make small boxes out of cardboard. (Why do offsites always seem to involve arts and crafts? And why are so many offsites such a waste of time?)

Then we were told to cut pictures out of magazines that represented the “outer” us, the part we show to the world.

Then we were told to write down things no one knew about us on slips of paper, put them inside our boxes (get it?), and reveal our slips to the group when it was our turn.

I was OK with putting pictures on the outside of my poorly constructed box, even though my lack of scissor skills was embarrassing. I didn’t want to create “reveal” strips, though, and said so.

“Why not?” the facilitator asked.

“Because it’s private,” I said.

7. You ask employees to do things you don’t do.

Sure, maybe there are things you would do, but would is irrelevant. Actions–especially where leadership is concerned–are everything.

Great leaders lead by example. They help out on the crappiest jobs. They stay later. They come in earlier.

Not every time, but definitely some of the time.

Employees will never care as much as you do–to expect otherwise is unrealistic–but they will care a lot more when they know you can be counted on to do whatever needs to get done, regardless of role or position or perceived status.


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