Reasons Why Your Employees May Hate You

Learn ways to regain their respect

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Good bosses can be differentiated from bad bosses by the ways they make employees feel. From feeling unappreciated for work that is being done to feeling unprepared for upcoming challenges, employees can develop genuine animosity for their superiors.

While it's not the responsibility of employers to be liked by their employees, it is important to set up staff members for success and to support them in their work. Those who repeatedly fail to do this will lose the respect of their employees and might even become disliked as people by their employees.

If you sense that your employees hate you, take an honest look at your management practices and see if any bad practices might be contributing to the kinds of negative feelings that lead to hostile work environments and poor production.

Do you know what you're doing?

Be honest with yourself about this one. If you're unsure of yourself or outright faking it, employees will know, and they won't be willing to look to you for guidance. And the more you try to fool them, the more they will resent you. You demonstrate incompetence when you present information that is wrong or you interpret numbers incorrectly. Staff will see right through this, and they will direct their negative feelings toward you the longer the charade goes on.

When you feel like you're in over your head, you can win the respect of your staff by confronting the shortcomings and making them a part of the solution. Seek help from employees who may have knowledge, experience, or insight that you lack. Bring in outside help if necessary.

Do you treat employees with respect?

If you're asking the question, it's possible you're being disrespectful without even realizing it. This leads to more than just hurt feelings. Employees who are repeatedly disrespected can lose confidence, and that impacts their abilities to do their jobs.

To repair the damage that might already have been done, ask employees for feedback about what you can do to make their jobs easier. Remember little things like saying please and thank you. While you are the team leader, it also is important that you remember you are part of the team.

Do you value your employees' roles on the team?

Is everything about you, or is everything about the team as a whole? Employees recognize when a boss is just using them to make himself look better or to further his own professional goals. They will be especially resentful if they are blamed for making their boss look bad.

Everybody should have a role—and know that role—in meeting goals that are team-oriented. In other words, it should be about the department or the company as a whole meeting a goal. To regain the respect of employees, make sure everyone's role is defined and that they all have an opportunity to share in the team's success.

Do you over manage good employees?

Even earnest managers can make an incorrect assessment of how much managing an employee needs. When you trust your employees and let them figure out how to accomplish their jobs, you call forth their significant contributions. If you micromanage and nitpick their ideas and work, you will never tap into their discretionary energy or the best they have to offer.

Sure, new employees, employees in training, and employees who change jobs or acquire new responsibilities need more guidance. But, if your need to guide them does not lessen over time, you are the problem. Micromanaging good employees will drive them to hate you—or run away as far as possible as quickly as they can.

Do you know what your employees are doing?

Part of being a good leader is understanding what each of your employees is doing so you can guide them and assist them as necessary. It's also important to know what they're doing so you can recognize when you need to back off and let them take care of their own work. Part of building a good team is finding people who are good at what they do and letting them do it.

When employees run into obstacles, though, you are the person they'll be coming to for advice. If you seem lost or unhelpful, they'll learn to not come to you for advice.

Do you respect their time?

If your employees are scheduled to work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.Mondays through Fridays, it's fair to expect their full attention during that time. Do you expect more? If employees have too much to do and feel like they need to work nights and weekends just to keep up, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. Even if you're not specifically requiring employees to work those extra hours, they'll grow to hate you for you for piling on work they can't get done in 40 hours per week.

Be willing to work with your staff on setting realistic goals, and you can start to regain their respect.

Do you give credit when it is due?

If morale is low, it might be because no one feels appreciated for the work they are doing. Are your employees going home day after day wondering whether or not their work and accomplishments are making a difference? If so, that's a problem.

While employees don't need pats on the back for every little thing, part of knowing what they're doing and guiding them through challenges is being able to recognize them for achievements—both big and small. Where managers really can mess up in this area is by taking credit for their employees’ ideas and accomplishments. A mistake that big might be too much for a manager to overcome.

Do you have your employees' backs?

The flip side of taking credit for the work of your employees is throwing them under the bus when a mistake is your own fault as much as—if not more than—anyone else's.

The minute an employee learns that you blamed her for a project or timeline that may have failed, it’s all over for you and that employee. Engaging in this behavior repeatedly will backfire in another way as well. Do this enough, and your superiors will figure out that you are the sort of manager who struggles with accountability.

Are you a bully?

Taking a close look at your behavior. Do you yell at employees to try and motivate them? Do you threaten them with the loss of jobs or with demotions to try and bend them to your will?

Belittling employees and chipping away at their self-confidence and self-esteem with criticism, name-calling, and ridicule may seem like it's getting results, but it's only helping to build a toxic environment that is not sustainable.