Being a manager has its perks–better pay, more in-depth insight into the company, and more freedom to make choices. But it can also be lonely at the top. Employees watch the manager like a student observes a teacher. They look up to you for guidance, but they are also on the lookout for your weaknesses. We all do it. We watch the watcher to see where we can find a loophole we can slip through or a flaw we can use to our advantage. It’s part of our primitive nature and survival skill. No one is perfect, and everyone has flaws, but knowing which ones not to show your employees will help close any loopholes you might have unknowingly created.
There are certain things a boss or manager should never tell their employees because it could create an imbalance in the workplace or cause them to lose respect for you. Leadership is a personal journey and requires wisdom, confidence, and good judgment.
1. Never gossip about one employee with other employees. Discussing someone’s personal problems, personality, or quirks is a sure fire way to destroy trust on your team, cause negative competition, disrupt unity, and create interoffice politics. Employees look up to managers and executives for guidance and leadership, and if their leader is gossiping about employees, it sends the message that you can’t be trusted.
2. Never tell your employees which of your leaders you like and respect and which ones you don’t. Employees will listen to what you say and make their own conclusions that may or may not be true, creating rumors or beliefs that can’t be corrected. Not sharing your opinions of your leaders with your employees protects them from unnecessary drama. Your employees are already guessing about your conflicts with other managers, and it should remain a mystery to them.
3. Never tell your employees anything confidential. This always backfires, especially if you tell one employee on the basis that you trust them more than their peers. Sharing confidential information about the company with an employee makes them aware of things that are not in their “pay range.” As a manager, you are hired, trained, and paid to hold knowledge and responsibilities that your subordinates don’t. Shouldering the information is your job, and protecting your employees from the burden is as well.
4. Never tell your employees that you hate your job. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from you sharing your discontent with your employees and can actually cause them to lose respect for you. Subconsciously they will wonder; why did you take the job? Why haven’t you quit if you don’t like it, and why would they respect a leader who stays in a position they don’t want? You may think that your employees are listening with empathy and understanding, but you’re just making them wonder: If you’re not happy then why should they be happy? It gives them permission to hate their job too.
5. Never tell your employees when you feel the company has mistreated you or overlooked your contributions. Employees are not therapists who are there to hear your problems. They have their own struggles to deal with, and you are there to support them. Being a manager means bearing conflict and insults on your own without your teammates’ support. Sharing your problems with your employees will only weaken your team and relationship with your staff.
Support for Managers
Being a manager is stressful, and not having proper support at work or home can easily lead to you dishing your drama to your employees. Finding a healthy outlet where you can vent is essential for your job as a manager and to the company you work for. Many insurance packages offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide many benefits to help you navigate life’s challenges, and it’s paid for by your insurance, so there is no charge for covered services.
In addition to EAPs, you may have an employee life coach available. Many businesses nowadays are hiring life coaches for their employees to help them deal with stress, conflict, work/life balance, and many other problems that can detract from their work performance. If the company you work for does not offer an EAP program, consider suggesting they find an outsourced professional for support.
Another way to find appropriate support is with monthly check-ins with the director or owner. It is wise for every business owner to support the managers of their business, and holding a monthly check-in with each manager is an easy and effective way to show you care. Keeping a personal connection with each manager and knowing how they are feeling, thinking, and coping gives the owner important time to listen, mentor, coach, and address any questions or challenges they might be having. Each time you check-in with a manager you are being a role model for how the manager can mentor the employees they supervise. It’s a win-win for everyone.
In conclusion, being a manager is a big job not just from the obvious workload and employee interactions but also due to the isolation that comes from being a leader. If you are a manager and you don’t have a support person who is not a subordinate, make the goal to find someone or to ask the owner to hire someone. Just because you are in a leadership role doesn’t mean that you don’t need support; on the contrary, to be an effective manager it’s a necessity.