Are your employees driving you nuts?

By Joanne Wharam, AVN Practice Growth Expert.

One of the key frustrations I hear from business owners is that managing their people at times drives them nuts.

Whilst this is to some extent inevitable, because people are all different and more than that they are thinking and feeling, there are some common frustrations that can perhaps be overcome.

Why don’t my employees put in the same effort I do?

Business owners sometimes fall into the trap of expecting their employees to have the same drive and energy for the business as they do. This means that they are left with a sense of despair that they can’t control them, “fix” them or at least mould them into something closer to what they want.

The reality is that they are never going to see your business the same way that you do because ultimately it is your business. But if you have a clear sense of purpose and goals for the business that you have shared with your employees then they can become something that you are all working towards together.

Why are my employees always late to work and leave on time?

While this might be an indicator that someone is not happy or not motivated in their work that might not always be the case.

It might be that you need to reframe your thinking.

Take for example an employee who is persistently late. This might niggle or even frustrate you, because you believe in punctuality. But now say that same employee is also your top sales person. How important is it to worry about the clock then, if their results are good? Often managers find themselves frustrated because they begin to focus on little things rather than the big picture. So remember to identify what’s most important.

Why can’t my employees just do what I ask them to do?

You might have an employee that isn’t performing as well as you would like in their role and seems to struggle with the tasks that you give them. Before you get overly frustrated with them ask yourself how clear your expectations of them are. Once you are clear on what they are, then consider if they have been clearly communicated to the employee. If you don’t set clear expectations then your employee will never  meet them and you will continue to be frustrated.

If expectations have been clearly defined and the employee’s performance is still frustrating then there are two considerations…

Are your expectations realistic? Too often a business owner will delegate responsibility for a process to an employee simply because it needs to be done and they don’t have the time. Instead, it is important to assess the skills of the person that the process is delegated to. For example, if you have someone who is reserved and self-conscious then asking them to talk to customers or build customer relationships is going to be really difficult. Or what about someone who is driving, restless and active to sit and proof read a long document? That kind of delegation is going to cause frustration on both sides.

Finally, if the expectations are clear and realistic then consider how accountable you are holding them. A lack of accountability generates bad habits that can be hard to break later on. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that when someone is seen to “get away” with something then office morale will slip. This can soon become toxic, particularly in smaller businesses. So make sure you hold your employees accountable.

So next time you have an employee that is frustrating, ask yourself…

  • What is the most important thing here?
  • Are my expectations clearly defined and expressed?
  • Are they realistic?
  • How accountable are they?


Joanne is one of AVN’s Practice Growth Experts and managing director of Smart Support for Business.


Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash