June 19, 2023 in Articles

Manager Mistakes That Cause Low Employee Engagement

Poorly engaged employees are more likely to be a drain on a company’s financial resources, and they can adversely impact others on the team as well. When a worker isn’t happy in their job or doesn’t find the work interesting, their attitude spreads to others.

Usually, poor employee engagement doesn’t stem entirely from a worker. Managers can hurt their workers’ well-being, too. Here are five manager mistakes that result in low employee engagement.

  1. Not Setting Clear Benchmarks or Check-Ins

Employees thrive when they have a specific objective to meet. They’ll often work tirelessly when there are clear guidelines and set goals. However, when a manager doesn’t set objectives, employees can flail around like a ship without a rudder.

Let’s look at an example. Claudia is a marketing analyst for a retail chain. She’s responsible for analyzing the competition’s advertising strategies. However, her manager fails to tell her exactly who the competition is. They also don’t set clear goals, such as compiling strategies in a spreadsheet or identifying where competitors are lacking.

As a result, Claudia’s work is aimless. She isn’t achieving anything specific and she’s less interested in her job.

Claudia’s manager could encourage better engagement from Claudia by setting clear objectives. A roadmap of tasks to follow that includes deadlines might give Claudia the incentive she needs to succeed. The manager should also regularly meet with Claudia to see how she’s doing and if she needs more support.

  • Constantly Moving Goalposts

Moving the goalposts means setting an initial objective only to change it once someone meets the goal. The person never gets the chance to relish in their accomplishment. Instead, the manager leaves the employee feeling they must work harder toward the next target. Regularly changing a worker’s goals is very frustrating for them.

Managers should set clear objectives for their employees to meet. Once the worker completes the goal, the manager should congratulate them and allow them to enjoy their success. Otherwise, they risk burning out their employees, resulting in disengagement.

  • Failing to Delegate

Another common mistake among managers (especially new ones) is the lack of delegation of crucial tasks. Many managers try to maintain control over responsibilities and don’t want to share them with their lower-level workers.

However, holding onto tasks can spark boredom in workers, especially those who can handle the duties and want to expand their skills. 

These managers also set themselves up for repercussions. They may be less likely to obtain future promotions since executives will worry there won’t be anyone available to handle their current work. 

To alleviate the issue, managers should learn to delegate. They can start by identifying their most vital employees and giving them a few new responsibilities. Of course, they’ll maintain control over the end product by reviewing each employee’s work.

  • Micromanaging

Micromanaging is another trap that managers regularly fall into. When a manager oversees every aspect of an employee’s workday, it tends to spark disengagement since the employee doesn’t feel trusted.

While overseeing a worker’s responsibilities is essential, that doesn’t mean the manager should regularly examine every mundane task from end to end. Managers should also be careful not to exert too much control over a worker’s start or end time or lunch break.

If you’re a manager who spends more time micromanaging your staff than handling your duties, it’s time to take a step back. Give your employees space to make mistakes and come to you for help.

  • Not Recognizing Achievement

There’s nothing worse than spending days or weeks working toward meeting a specific goal only to see no reward for your efforts. Managers who fail to thank their employees for their work will likely see lower levels of future engagement. Employees who work hard are less likely to do so in the future if there’s no recognition for their efforts.

Managers can better support their employees by recognizing them after a significant achievement. 

For instance, if your worker stays late for several days to meet a deadline, reward them for their efforts. Congratulate them in front of your team and make them feel good about their hard work. Chances are they’ll step up again to help if another challenging deadline arises.

Managers Should Be Wary of Low Employee Engagement

When employees aren’t engaged, there’s less productivity in the office. You’ll find that your workers are bored and unsatisfied with their jobs. Managers can improve employee engagement by ensuring they aren’t making mistakes that contribute to poor engagement levels.