6 Common Complaints About Managers & How to Avoid Them

5 Benefits of Emotional Intelligence on the Job
August 30, 2021

6 Common Complaints About Managers & How to Avoid Them

Being the boss isn’t easy — and unfortunately your own actions could be making it harder! Are you the boss people enjoy working under or the one with a high turnover rate? Sure, some people love to complain about their bosses, but others have a valid point.

Use this quick self-assessment to see if you fall into any of these 6 common complaint groups. We have some tough love for you in this blog post, but we promise it’s worth taking the time to step back and take a good look at your managerial style.

1. Micromanager

The Micromanaging Boss doesn’t want their opinion challenged. They add more work to others’ assignments. Overall, they create a stressful environment.

How do you know if you’re a micromanager? You hate delegating tasks, and every single task needs your approval. Not only do you want to be CC’ed in on every email, but you’re probably keeping track of where your employees are at all times. (How long has Kimberly been on her coffee break? You know the answer.)

The solution: Once you assign a task to your employees, let them do it! Trust your team to do their best and see what happens. Ask for ideas and try them out. Don’t just bark orders and leave no room for creativity among your team. You will see a positive change in your work environment.

Your job is to train your staff, empower them, and then trust them. Think of it this way … if you need to always stay on top of your staff, maybe that means you need to look at how well you’re training them. Ouch. Yes, that hurts. But it hurts more when your boss or H.R. is the one to call you out. So, take a look around from your staffs’ point of view and see what you need to fix.

2. Unprofessional

The Unprofessional Boss cracks offensive jokes, uses bad language, gossips about coworkers, and asks their employees to handle tasks that they should handle. They put employees in uncomfortable situations with them, team members, and even other departments. Meetings are a waste of time under their leadership and often build animosity.

How do you know if you’re unprofessional? First, if even ONE of your employees has complained about your jokes, behavior, or advances then you’re being unprofessional. Your employees don’t need to toughen up or learn how to take a joke (or learn how to take a compliment). Watch body language while you’re running meetings. Does your staff look uncomfortable? Are they looking down and not making eye contact? Are they frowning or looking concerned?

The solution: There is no place for offensive jokes and language in the workplace. If you’re unsure if a joke is inappropriate or not then don’t say it! Your employees want to feel safe around you and not nervous you will put them in awkward positions. Create agendas for your meetings and stick to them.

You may feel like you want to lighten up your staff meetings so they aren’t boring. That’s ok! Instead of using jokes or other things that can be offensive, try just asking everyone how their weekend was and let your team take the conversation over. You don’t need to interject. Let them handle it!

3. Poor Communicator

The Poorly Communicating Boss doesn’t provide helpful feedback. The criticism they give isn’t constructive or helpful. In fact, it doesn’t seem like they listen at all and they can come off as always unhappy and disappointed in their team.

How do you know if you’re a poor communicator? Your team isn’t working on projects or priorities that align with your goals. Often times the end result of their hard work isn’t what was you expected or what you thought you asked for. Your team members might be duplicating each other’s work and not trusting each other to carry their workload.

The solution: Your employees are not mind readers. Let them know if there is a problem with a project. Be specific in what needs changed. If they did a great job, then tell them! Note exactly what you liked about their work. You want your words to educate and inspire. Likewise, take any feedback you receive seriously and act on it.

There are days when it feels like no one is listening to you. If that’s the case, then you need to take a few minutes to step back and see if the problem is stemming from your communication style. This is hard – especially when you don’t want to get in trouble with your boss – but your manager would much rather see you claim responsibility and fix it then continue to blame others.

4. Unprepared

The Unprepared Boss doesn’t look at the workload before assigning tasks and setting deadlines. The instructions they give are not clear. They make work completion harder than it otherwise would be.

How do you know if you’re the unprepared boss? The biggest red flag is if you forget what you’ve assigned to whom and what their due dates are. If your employees look like a deer in headlights while you’re assigning work, then stop and ask them what else they have going on. If your employees are always late or keep coming back with questions, then they might be missing key components needed to do their job affectively.

The solution: If you’re not organized, it’s time to admit it and make a change. Utilize calendars, planners, and digital tools. You need to know what employees have already been assigned and who might have margin for additional tasks. Give written instructions that are clear and concise along with expected deadlines.

If you feel like your employees are always confused and keep coming back to ask questions. You need to create structure around your own processes and find a way to deliver information, due dates, and assets to them in a timely, organized manner.

5. Unapproachable

The Unapproachable Boss acts better than their subordinates. They don’t dedicate time to their employees. They might not even know employee names!

How do you know if you’re unapproachable? Is the door to your office always closed? Do you often find yourself telling your team that you’re too busy to chat or answer questions? Do they apologize over and over while talking to you? (Sorry to bother you, sorry I know you’re busy, sorry to bug you…) Do they stop talking when you walk in the room? Sorry to say it, you might be unapproachable.

The solution: It’s unfortunate when a boss goes on a power trip. Remember, you once were an entry-level employee. Good leaders pull their subordinates up. Take the time to know your employees: their strengths, their goals, and their concerns.

If you feel too busy to talk to your team and give them direction, then it’s time to start delegating work. See #1 and #4 above – train, empower, and trust. Then get organized!

6. Takes Undue Credit

The Credit-Stealing Boss takes the praise for their employees’ hard work and ideas. They do not recognize employee achievements. They create an environment of distrust.

How do you know if you’re taking undue credit? If you’re feeling insecure around your own manager and constantly worried about proving yourself then it’s going to be very tempting to take credit for others’ work. Some of your employees might call you out on it, but most are going to keep their mouth shut and start looking for a new job.

The solution: Stop thinking that you’re fooling anyone! When you take undue credit, it creates animosity among your employees. Good bosses not only give their teams or individual employees credit for a job well done, but they are quick to do it. When you don’t steal the credit people will be more willing to share ideas and generate new initiatives.

If you’re feeling insecure about your own job, then you need to meet one-on-one with your manager to map out solutions for honing your strengths and identifying your weaknesses. If someone on your team has a great idea, then make sure you give them credit. Your boss will understand that you’re part of it, too – after all, you’re the one who trained the staff member.

Upgrade Your Team with Westphal Staffing

Even when you follow all these managerial tips, some turnover still happens naturally. Don’t worry – we can help!  Start your candidate search today using a recruiter to help guide the process. Here at Westphal Staffing, it is part of our culture to make connections, recognize humans as individuals, and collaborate with professionals. Today, more than ever that culture is transforming the staffing experience, making us a different kind of staffing company. Call us today at (715) 845-5569!