Thought Leader

What bosses should never make employees do

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Jeff Haden gives 7 things you should never make your employees do.

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

Self-evaluations may sound empowering or inclusive but are almost always a waste of time. (And can lead to employees thinking some fairly dark thoughts.) If you want feedback from an employee, ask what you can do to help develop that person’s skills and career. 

2. You make employees evaluate their peers

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

What employees do with their money is their business, not yours. Make sure they are allowed to feel that way. 

4. You make employees go without food at meal times

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

The same is true of lunchtime meetings. If you plan a working lunch, provide food.

And always err on the side of caution. If you order pizza for a group and you run out, some employees won’t remember they had two great slices; they’ll only remember that they wanted a third and that you were too “cheap” to provide it. 

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

Never try to force togetherness or camaraderie. It doesn’t work. 

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

You don’t need to know your employees’ innermost thoughts and feelings. Even if you think you do, you have no right to their thoughts and feelings. 

You do have a right to expect acceptable performance. 

Talk about performance, and leave all the deep dark secrets where they belong. 

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

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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Posted by Paul Whalley
Paul Whalley is a Professional Engineer with an MBA and a post master’s certificate in Leadership Coaching. He is a certified Management Consultant and Master Coach and is accredited with the Institute for Independent Business as well as being a Founders Circle member of the John Maxwell Team of trainers, speakers and coaches. He has over twenty five years of corporate global leadership experience and currently runs a professional services company focusing on strategy, change management, and leadership. He is a co-developer of the PowerUp range of coaching and consulting business solutions and can be contacted at
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