7 Signs Your Employees Hate You

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If Employee Retention & Productivity is Down, Maybe It’s You and Not Them

Let’s face it: knowing whether our employees love us or hate us as managers isn’t always high on our priority list. As long as they get their work done, it doesn’t matter whether they count you as their bosom buddy and think you are the greatest supervisor they’ve ever had, right?


Studies have shown a happy workforce has a direct correlation with high productivity. If your staff members like their jobs and feel you shine in yours, they are more likely to feel committed to their work. The reverse is true as well: employees who don’t enjoy what they do and can’t identify with management’s goals are more likely to feel disenchanted with their jobs and leave. That turnover translates into more cost for the company, more headaches for you and less productivity for your department.

So how do you know when your employees might hate you?  Here are seven good hints:

1. Avoid You like the Plague

They avoid running into you at all costs. Whether they’re always finding excuses to skip your meetings or crossing to the other side of a busy street when they see you approaching, these are clear indicators of a distinct problem.

2. Don’t Volunteer to Help

They don’t volunteer to help. Instead, they leave you to assign work, or to finish it yourself. Employees who enjoy their jobs are more likely to offer assistance when they don’t have to, if only to impress the boss.

3. Running Out the Door

They’re out the door at 5. The minute hand hasn’t even reached 5:01 p.m. before they’ve vacated the room. That report Tom has been working on for an hour seems to have written itself in the last five minutes, and is on your desk at 4:58. If employees don’t like the atmosphere, they won’t waste time in vacating it.

4. Confidence is Shaken

They are fidgety in your presence and their self-confidence seems to have plummeted. They are making more mistakes and don’t seem willing to tell you. OK, so they may seem like the kind of employees that would pin a star on their favorite boss, but your employees’ confidence is often affected by what they feel about a company’s leadership.

5. The Smallest, Small Talk

The small talk stays awkwardly small. They keep their distance when it comes to your daily chats. Not that you should be best friends with your employees, but at least they used to shoot the breeze with you about their weekend or whether you are going to the company party. When even cursory information is no longer volunteered, that’s a red flag.

6. Always Sick

They call in sick a lot. They seem indifferent to whether they’re going to be running out of sick time and in fact, there seems to be in an all-out competition in the department to see who can drain the bank first.

7. Resignation Notices Start Stacking Up

The resignation notices are stacking up. No sooner than Tammy gives her resignation, Amy is quick to follow. And the resignations allow for only the minimum amount of notice. If an employee doesn’t respect or like you, he is less likely to extend common courtesies, such as giving adequate notice or considering the impact of a vacant desk.

Spotting the signs of an unhappy workforce is the first step to resolving interpersonal problems and in many cases, to improving department productivity.  Sometimes the problem is as simple as letting them know they are appreciated just as much as their work is.

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