Supervising Employees Who Hate Their Jobs? Step In or Pay the Price.

hate job 3533132079_708cc8953a_mGrumbling  is one thing; hating quite another. Every job includes things we don’t like but hating is big.

Funny isn’t it, that when we start a new job, we’re so gung-ho. The work, the challenge, and the new relationships feel exciting and so promising.

So how do we go from all that eagerness to job hating?

Decline and fall.

Our jobs exist in a culture created by the leadership style of our supervisors who operate in a culture created by their managers and the leadership. It’s a chain.

Daily, we do our jobs along side coworkers who also perform within that same supervisor- created culture. So if we hate our jobs, it’s on our supervisor’s watch.

Alert supervisors pick up on the signs that we’re hating our jobs like:

  • lack of enthusiasm and energy
  • inattentiveness, slacking, and disinterest
  • flat performance levels and unwillingness to volunteer
  • whining, complaining, and fault-finding

More than likely, we don’t realize just how our job unhappiness is affecting us, showing on our faces, and becoming a detriment to our careers.

We should remember that our supervisors too may hate their jobs, creating an even more complex set of circumstances for them to handle.

No matter what, the failure of supervisors to intervene when employees are unhappy contributes to the decline and fall of all or part of any organization.

Step up with conviction.

Supervisor intervention around job hating is not about band-aiding: It’s about taking on the big issues that are turning employees off.

After seeing a study by Dale Carnegie Training that confirmed the extent of employee job hating, Ilya Pozin wrote an article for Huffington Post identifying the top ten reasons full-time employees hate their jobs .

Of the ten, these five, in my view, are ripe for immediate supervisor action. Taking them on and resolving them will contribute to healing the hating and bolstering leadership status. Pozin’s reasons are in bold italics below and my comments follow:

Their boss sucks. Supervisors need to lead so employees want to follow. So stop micro-managing, criticizing, keeping employees in the dark, and treating them like they’re either the enemy, game pieces to be pushed around, or stupid. Instead, listen to what they say and mean, ask for clarity, explain what you can and cannot do for them, and give them a chance to be creative.

They’re not being challenged.  Supervisors need to ensure that employees have diverse and interesting work to do, not just mundane, repetitive, and under-the-radar tasks. Give employees a chance to come up with a new approach, solve problems together, or switch off roles by ensuring cross-training.

There’s too much red tape.  Endless rules and hoops to jump through to complete essential work only frustrate employees who see that their ability to get things done is being hampered unnecessarily. Look for opportunities to increase decision-making authority for employees that reinforces your trust in them.

There’s no room for advancement. Feeling like you’re going nowhere in your job is debilitating. If there is no clear career path, there are always opportunities for supervisors to develop the capabilities of employees so they can cover for each other and for the supervisor. When employees feel they are growing and have added to their value, they see their jobs more positively.

Job insecurity. Employees routinely read the tea leaves about what’s going on in the company. It doesn’t take much to make them nervous about their employment. That’s why supervisors need to keep them informed about how the company is performing, address the rumor mill, and be transparent. Credible information goes a long way to liking your job.

 Avoid loss.

Good supervisors watch out for the well-being of their employees. Their ability to create and maintain a positive, high-performing work group is the true measure of a supervisor’s value.

When supervisors fall short, employees often leave or under-perform. Since both are avoidable, there should be a career price to pay by supervisors for letting that happen.

Photo by Adam Foster via Photoree




9 thoughts on “Supervising Employees Who Hate Their Jobs? Step In or Pay the Price.

  1. Wow – this is an important article! “Hate” is indeed very strong and very different, and yes, the supervisor should step with conviction! I love that phrase.

    Important idea, and valuable write Dawn. Thanks for writing it!

    • Christopher,

      Thanks, as always, for your burst of enthusiasm and support. I have a thing about the essential role of supervisors in creating a positive job environment. That should be a major consideration in their annual review, consideration for promotion, and even retention.

      Supervision isn’t just about grinding out performance numbers; It’s about engaging employees to be their best. We wouldn’t reward an operations manager if he or she allowed equipment to fail or under-perform. But that same standard isn’t held when it comes to people.

      Thanks for being a good ear…or rather eye!

      Best, ~Dawn

  2. These are excellent points! However, sometimes someone just hates what they are doing and needs to move on. A good supervisor will also support that too even when it means more work for them in the transition.

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    • Christopher, I am so grateful for the value you place on this post. Your willingness to share it with your followers is very special to me. It honors both the effort and the message. Many thanks, ~Dawn

  4. Sometimes it is not about hating the job as much as hating the work environment. The lack of a transparent leadership, too many frequent changes in rules and work policies, indecisiveness and too much ambiguity will make employee lasting in a job they like doing a painful process.

    • Great point, Fadwa. It’s so true that working conditions can take the joy and satisfaction out of the work that we, under better conditions, enjoy fully. I suspect that’s what drives people away from those organizations–the desire not to lose their passion to a bad situation. Thanks so much for your valuable comment. ~Dawn

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