Negative Messages Leaders Must Avoid

Thanks to Ivey Journal for this Infographic

As a leader are you or someone in your organization sending your employees any of the following messages? These subtle messages can cause people to perceive them as “you don’t care about them”? These perceptions can lead to poor employee engagement, high turnover and poor customer satisfaction. This opens the door and you will begin to see an exodus.

This is just a sampling, so add from your experiences:

1. When someone has an issue or complaint, does it seem to them that no one wants to hear about it, much less do anything about it? Even worse, are people criticized or negatively impacted for bringing up such matters?

2. Do you knowingly pay your people under the market rate for your industry, and are your people aware of the gaps?

3. Do you ever hear any leaders demonstrating an indirect message such as: “If you don’t like it, too bad — go work somewhere else?” Would you allow your employees to treat your customers so badly? No way!

4. Do you make major announcements of negative changes that will impact your employees without providing a Q&A period or being transparent about the reasons?

5. Do you move managers in and out of departments without explanation, and never ask for employee opinions on your management moves?

6. Do you maintain a fearful, tense, rule-bound workplace where employees don’t feel comfortable saying what or how they really feel? They don’t need another reason to job-hunt if this is what they are experiencing!

7. Do your leaders discuss “the employees” in front of other employees as if they a commodity or an asset. Third party discussions will derail engagement quickly.

8. Are your workplace furnishings and decor cheap and worn? Is the break room dirty and no one wants to take responsibility for keeping it clean? Is your building up to code? People today are concerned about safety and appearances so this will create major issues.

9. Do you or your managers repeatedly ask, albeit demand, employees put in extra effort and extra hours, but never show any appreciation after they have completed the effort? They won’t keep beating their heads against the wall forever?

10. Do your leaders or managers frequently, ignore employees? Do they fail to acknowledge them or even smile at them for any reason? Relationships build trust and this destroys trust!

If you are seeing or hearing of any of these in your workplace, I suggest you confront them immediately. Workplace perceptions drive engagement so I always recommend that leaders err on the side of honesty, transparency and trust.

None of these are fatal by themselves, but if they are not corrected quickly the sustainability of the organization will be in question. Would love to discuss your thoughts on any of these, check my website at or call me at 630–454–4821.