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Oct 2, 2014

Contactzilla Guest Post: 4 Management Mistakes That Will Cost Your Employees’ Happiness

​Our friends at Contactzilla know a thing or two about keeping a workplace connected, and their Co-Founder, Mark Panay, has written a special guest post so you Kudos Lovers can benefit from his Employee Happiness wisdom. Thanks Mark!

You pay your team well, take them out for dinner, let them play pool and don’t mind when they update their Facebook status at work. But does all this really make them happy?

​While fun perks are a great way to attract new talent, and show your team you care about them, there are a bunch of mistakes that will make these perks redundant in terms of team happiness.

In this post, we take a look at 4 management mistakes that will cost your employees’ happiness, and dig out a few tips to help you avoid them…

1. Not bothering to build lasting relationships

As a manager, you have a million more important things to do than to ask everyone about their new baby/kitten/ how their weekend was, right?

Wrong.

According to Chris Yeh, co-author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, building lasting relationships is key for getting employees to trust you…

“It’s absolutely true that it’s very difficult to get employees to trust you and open up if you haven’t had a trust relationship in place already… Historically employees feel they have to be very guarded around their manager and the company in general.”

Take the time to get to know your team as individuals and make sure they feel able to approach you about any problems or concerns they might have. Ask for feedback regularly and be sure to act on it, or explain why you can’t so that employees don’t feel discouraged to speak up again in the future.

2. Being negative

If you’re negative, grumpy and unapproachable, it’s unlikely that your team are going to be happy.

Jen Agustin, senior director of marketing at Bizo, believes that positivity trickles down from the top…

“At most companies, no matter the size, the “tone” ultimately gets set at the very top and trickles down to every employee. That tone can express positivity in the form of fun, honesty and transparency, or in some unfortunate cases, convey feelings of intimidation and mistrust.”

Try to stay positive with your team. For example, when someone makes a mistake, use it as a learning opportunity and help them work through it instead of punishing them. Stay positive about projects, giving plenty of constructive feedback.

3. Stifling workplace friendships

No matter how much we might love our jobs, most people will argue that personal relationships are what makes us happy.

Many companies offer their team flexible working opportunities to help them spend more time at home with their families, but have you considered the personal relationships your employees have with each other?

Traditionally, office friendships have been frowned upon, with managers arguing that they get in the way of productive working. But recent research suggests that having friends at work can help make your team more productive and happier with their jobs.

Christine M. Riordan, professor of management at the University of Kentucky, believes that managers need to encourage their teams to form friendships with each other…

“People in organizations need to work together. So, managers and employees need to foster collaboration, trust, personal relationships, fun, and support. In an increasingly global and virtual environment, challenges for employees and managers will be to cultivate these personal relationships. Fostering friendships takes proactive effort.”

At Contactzilla, we have one shared address book with all of the teams’ contact details in, meaning we don’t have to swap numbers before we can start texting or calling each other outside of work. We also tend to go to the pub for a drink or 2 after work on a Friday and have regular days out to spend time with each other on a social level.

Becoming friends outside of work makes us a happier, stronger and more productive team inside work.

4. Not asking for peer feedback

As a manager, chances are you don’t know what everyone on your team is doing at all times during the day. Even if you do know what someone is working on right now, do you understand exactly how they’re doing it?

To make sure your team gets the recognition they deserve, why not encourage peer to peer feedback where team members give each other a pat on the back for their hard work? It’s one thing getting feedback from your boss, but having a peer congratulate you on a job well done (which they possibly understand better than the boss!) makes your team feel great.

At Contactzilla, we hold weekly catch ups every Monday morning where we all get together over a coffee and discuss the previous week and what we have planned for the future. We find this to be a nice way to ease into the week, make sure everyone’s in the loop and give everyone the chance to pipe up with a little feedback.

You can also try using software, like Kudos, that allows your team to send feedback or recognition to their colleagues.

Conclusion

The relationships between your team are key to their happiness. While perks and pay rises are great ways to boost morale, building great relationships, and remaining positive and encouraging is more likely to result in happy teams.

Mark Panay

Mark is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Contactzilla, a seamless contact management system for businesses and organizations. In addition to his love for emerging technology, Mark is also a trustee of Deki, a very cool microfinance charity that helps entrepreneurs in developing countries generate sustainable incomes. Say hi on Twitter @Redeye or Google+.

Other posts by:
Mark Panay

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