Here are the five things people dislike most about their leaders, in no particular order:
1. Inconsistency. Employees hate not understanding you. Chart a course. State the rules and follow them. Tell people how they’re doing and reward or punish them. Make decisions. Inconsistency and fuzziness will only drive your people up a wall.
2. Threats. Give them fair notice of anything they’re doing wrong and fair warning of the consequences, and give them two or three chances, but don’t let a threat dangle in the air over their heads. Even more important: Don’t scapegoat someone for somebody else’s failure.
3. Hypocrisy. Nothing shuts down productivity faster than a boss who preaches one thing and does another. Examples: If you claim to value work/life balance and then neglect your own family and reward workaholics, or if you say you care about customers but never talk with them, don’t expect to be taken seriously.
4. Wasting people’s time. Starting meetings late and using them to preach or review documents drains time. Your people presumably have work to do.
5. Micromanagement. Paying attention to detail and helping out in the trenches don’t constitute micromanaging. Fussing and doing other people’s work, on the other hand, are excellent examples of micromanaging. Let people do their jobs. If you’re down in the hold rearranging the baggage, who’s steering the ship?
— Adapted from Operation Excellence: Succeeding in Business and Life the U.S. Military Way, Mark Bender, Amacom.