Getting employees to like their job and do their very best is often the challenge faced by many … leaders of an organization, a department or a team. In fact, much is written on this topic and is an ongoing struggle as we are working to achieve our goals. In my experience however, the efforts to achieve contentment within, too often go unrewarded. What if we focused on what we do and can do to help these same people hate their jobs? Might we have more luck using this form of reverse psychology?
I recently read an article written by James Marshall for the company Aventr … an employee engagement organization. Frankly I was drawn to his approach of getting people to LIKE their job. He identified a list of ways that, in following them, on can get the employees to HATE that job. Now if that’s the goal, then the steps below are forthright and easy. If that’s not the goal we then know what we have to avoid.
Here are 6 rules of ‘disengagement’ as put forth by Marshall – in summary.
- Make Rules without Reasons
Employees will expect to see several guidelines in place for the purposes of maintaining a healthy and productive company culture however, just having rules is not enough to disengage your workforce.
- Create some rules that are based on either your own arbitrary preferences, isolated incidents or just good old-fashioned paranoia.
- See to it that you never provide an explanation for these new policies and refuse to provide one should anyone ask. Just tell them that you’re the boss and that should be reason enough. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this works to reduce morale and overall engagement.
Since employees thrive on the perceptions of trust and empowerment, the last thing you’ll want to do if you are trying to sabotage your company, department or team is to encourage your team to think of any innovations, or give them freedom with how they complete their projects.
- If you truly want to dis-empower them, you must check in with them obsessively to make sure every step of the assignment is done exactly the way you would do it. Otherwise, they might believe that you trust them with making some decisions, and they even may feel a sense of satisfaction upon completion of the project.
- Let Them Think They Don’t Matter
Many team members take pride in the idea that they are carrying out a key company function and are valued by their leaders. This is bound to fill them with a sense of purpose and keep them engaged in their work. You must destroy this notion by letting them know how replaceable they are.
- Be sure to avoid giving them any positive feedback on the things they do right, but don’t hesitate to bring forth the things that they do wrong. As an added bonus, bring their shortcomings to their attention in front of their peers, as opposed to having a one-on-one conversation with them in a private setting.
- Refuse to Hear New Ideas
Allowing an employee to think they have a good idea—or could potentially make a difference in the workplace sends the message that the company is looking to improve, and thinks that employees may be talented individuals with worthwhile suggestions. You will never be able to destroy the workplace as long as you let that happen!
- Believe That Good Employees Are Good Mind Readers
When your team members are given a clear sense of direction concerning your expectations of them, and have unfettered access to the necessary resources to perform their jobs, you will likely end up with contented, engaged employees.
- This is a huge problem if you’re trying to create a negative company culture and obliterate your department’s productivity. To accomplish these things you will need to adopt a “they should just know” mindset. Simply pretend that your staff were born knowing your expectations of them so that you can justify not voicing your concerns to them.
- Expect 110%, 110% of the Time
Accepting the fact that your employees are human, and that even the healthiest people cycle through an array of energy and motivational levels could give your subordinates the impression that you have realistic expectations of them.
- That may cause them to respect you and the company, and in turn encourage them to do their best for you at any given time. Having unrealistic expectations is the only way to ward off any remaining vestiges of engagement and job satisfaction. You don’t want to be the boss that is tough, but fair.
What? Is he serious you ask? Well, yes … if the goal is to create and further disengagement I think we have a great map to follow. However, I also think it’s safe to say that this is not the intended goal within any organization or with any leader. And yet, taking the above 6 points into consideration can sure serve as a measure of what we might be doing that works against our intention of building a dedicated, enthusiastic and committed team. Consider this a litmus test and see what color appears where you are involved.