It’s often said that your employees don’t have to like you as long as they respect you. This is true, however, there are many pitfalls that will not only make your employees not like you, but lose respect for you as well. No one wants to be a bad boss, even if we don’t expect to win any popularity contests either. Remember, employees that resent you will not only make your job more difficult, they will also not perform to their fullest capacity, limiting their output which ultimately will affect your performance and ability to advance in your career.

One of the most common mistakes that I see managers make is a lack of attention to detail when it comes to expectations. When the expectations are not clearly set, employees will often make mistakes in situations where a lack of guidelines leaves them with decisions to make rather than a clear path to take.

From the manager’s perspective it is easy to react negatively in these scenarios. This is because the manager will often feel that it was a common sense decision. This assumption will put you into the bad boss category every time. What is common sense to one person may not be to another. The employee will feel misunderstood and also bad about him or herself.

A manager simply cannot assume that any aspect of process is second nature to any employee. A manager who consistently sees mistakes being made where employees express that they did not know they were making a mistake is at times overestimating his employees and at other times underestimating him or herself. The rule of thumb is to assume as little as possible and create a process that provides as many answers in as clear a way as is feasible while not overwhelming the subject with too much information.

  • It is always good to put things in writing. Clear, bullet point, sequential instructions can create uniformity in the process, taking out guess work and saving on potential wasted time when someone might do things the hard way in lieu of the easy way.
  • Face to face meetings with a group of staff as well as one on one can help to create a forum where employees can give feedback in areas of process that they may be unsure of. It also affords the manager time to clearly state what they expect on an everyday basis or in a specific process.
  • Finally, creating an open environment where mistakes are not dwelled on but rather learned from will usually see the best results. When you first roll out any new process, let the questions and mistakes of your employees show you where you need to clarify your expectations so that things can run smoother. Look at each challenge as an opportunity. Focus on getting it right the next time and create an atmosphere of mutual learning.

Remember the goal here is not to micromanage. The instructions don’t have to include things like “Turn on computer”. What you do need to spell out are things like “Check all stove tops to make sure gas is off”. Take your time analyzing and tweaking the process until the expectations are clear and remember, always let employees know that when they are unsure, ask!

When a leader creates processes and takes the guess work out of what the employees should be doing, performance should improve and help in the effort to maximize output in whatever business you are in. When we are busy fixing mistakes on the micro level instead of preventing the mistake at the macro level, we are not utilizing our efforts or those of our employees to the fullest capacity. In the management world, we are measured by the results of the teams we manage. This will help you set yourself apart from other managers who play the blame game and fail to realize why the mistake occured in the first place. Remember, you can never change the past, but you can always change the future.


Jason Kleinerman is an entrepreneurial minded management expert specializing in multifamily residential real estate. Currently a Regional Manager for Universal Management, LLC, he has helped shape the direction of this residential firm over the past 6 years in a team setting while driving bottom line returns over many different assets through shrewd management and thorough planning.