Five Ways to Tank Employee Morale

Employee morale is an important part of the work environment that is frequently overlooked by employers. It’s not surprising, bosses have lots of things to juggle. Anxiety, office politics, finances, hiring, scheduling, deadlines, payroll and a laundry list of other things that are necessary to run a business jostle for constant attention. A harried boss may work on boosting employee morale but probably ignores the things that can send morale into the dumpster. Here are some things to look for to avoid morale bleed.

Not playing Straight

Always be truthful with your employees, always. If you make a promise to them, make sure you live up to it. There are sensitive topics you may not want to share, be honest about that too. Tell them that those issues exist and why you can’t talk about them. Trust lost is not easily regained. If your employees don’t trust you, they won’t do their best work for you.

Private conversations in public

When you converse in a public area about a topic that’s not for general consumption, the tendency is to talk in hushed tones. You don’t want anyone within earshot to hear. The problem is that employees do hear. Maybe not all but frequently enough to misconstrue what’s being said. If they can’t hear they could assume that you are talking about them. You probably aren’t, but that doesn’t matter. The mistrust is planted.

Impossible Goals

Goals are a means to encourage employees to strive and succeed. For employees to succeed, goals need to be attainable. When employees constantly come up short because the goal is inaccessible morale will plummet. They will feel like they’re underperforming even when they are not.

Jobs with no challenges

Employees are often shocked to discover that their new job involves more grunt work than they expected. The worst mistake a boss can make is to leave a new employee in that spot. Morale disappears when a smart, motivated employee feels like there is no intellectual challenge or reward.


Want to crash an employees morale as quickly as possible? Micromanage them. Nobody likes a boss that’s constantly looking over their shoulder, second-guessing their decisions, or going through everything they do with a fine tooth comb. That tells your employees you don’t trust their job skills. Want to make an employee not want to come to work or not do their best work when they get there? Micromanagement is a great way to do it.