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Are you (or your managers) running a “sweatshop”?

Are you (or your managers) running a “sweatshop”?

A BIG challenge that most business owners and managers struggle with is striking a balance between trusting people to do their job and holding them accountable when they don’t.

sweatshop

This week we talk about the challenges of finding yourself on the “accountability-only” side of the spectrum.

IS YOURS A “SWEATSHOP” CULTURE?
Maybe you’ve had the experience of working in a place that held people accountable (through intimidation, micro-managing, or some other negative force) but showed very little trust.

If so, it was probably a stifling environment with very little room for enthusiasm, creativity, or ambition.  You probably dreaded Mondays, lived for Fridays and counted the days until retirement.

In cultures where there is little trust, employees…

  • Conceal their weaknesses and mistakes
  • Hesitate to ask for help
  • Hold grudges
  • Exhibit passive-aggressive behavior
  • Actively or passively resist directives

Managers in this type of environment say “so what, at least they are doing their job.”  The problem is that is the most they will ever do.  You won’t get any more effort but the bare minimum required to keep their job.  And when you aren’t watching – watch out!  Employees who work in this type of “sweatshop” environment have no problem with sabotaging the organization as soon as managerial eyes aren’t on them.

Managers in this type of environment say “so what, at least they are doing their job.”  The problem is that is the most they will ever do.  You won’t get any more effort but the bare minimum required to keep their job.  And when you aren’t watching – watch out!  Employees who work in this type of “sweatshop” environment have no problem with sabotaging the organization as soon as managerial eyes aren’t on them.

Lest you think sabotage isn’t happening at your company, consider these different forms it takes.  Here are just a few:

  • Outright stealing – This we assume most people will never do.  Except most people can find a way to justify all kinds of bad behavior without ever calling it theft.  And if employees don’t feel they’ve been treated right, that’s all the reason they need.
  • Slacking off – Employees who don’t feel trust or respect have no problem “taking it easy” while on the clock.  They usually do just enough to get by but will rarely go above and beyond for their employer.
  • Backtalk – If your employees don’t feel trusted, they will let it be known.  To everyone!  Your customers, vendors, competitors – anyone who will listen.

In your next article, I share one of the most shocking stories of employee sabotage I’ve ever heard.