Five management mistakes that destroy staff morale

Here we look at some management faux pas to avoid if you want to build and maintain a successful team

Many people come into a management role through career progression within a company based on their performance skills and suddenly find themselves in a role that requires high-level HR skills. These do not come naturally to many people; therefore, managers who want their teams to excel need to spend time learning how best to motivate and support people.

Missing opportunities

Do not expect your staff to stick to their job descriptions to the letter, get paid and go home. If you take this archaic and unimaginative approach, you will stifle innovation and progress within your team; instead, encourage people to identify and play to their strengths and passions. Use what talents and interests people possess to tap into new processes and even new markets, as creative flow will ensue and you will end up with a productive and ground-breaking team.


Publicly criticising and shaming employees for their failures creates a culture of fear and tension. Resist the urge to power trip over your juniors. If you have concerns about their work or performance, address these professionally and privately.

Taking for granted

Do not forget to praise your team for its successes. High-achieving employees need to feel rewarded, whether by more money or by public recognition. If they feel undervalued, they will either begin to lose interest or they will leave.

Positive reinforcement is the way to motivate people, but it is easy to start to take someone’s high performance as a given. If you have members of staff who shine, give them the accolades they deserve and they will reward you a hundredfold with even more good work in the future.

Bad mouthing

As a manager, it is your responsibility to encourage a culture of positivity and friendliness within your team. When a manager criticises an employee to another, it creates a culture of backstabbing and undermining. It is your job to iron out tensions between members of staff as much as possible, not to stoke up hatred and one-upmanship.

Just as bad is the manager who is scathing about the company or the boss, which could not be more demotivating to their team. If you find yourself doing this, it is time to leave, as you do not believe in the company for which you are working. You do not have to support everything head office dictates if you really don’t like it, but there are proactive and positive ways to express your discontent that do not involve moaning and grumbling to your team.

Bullying and intimidation

Threats of firing are the manager’s trump card, or so some bad managers seem to think. The constant fear of the sack is not exactly motivational. Talented employees have abundant options; therefore, you need to work hard to retain people and give them hundreds of reasons to want to work for you rather than trying to make them feel unworthy.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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