6 Reasons Your Employees Are Bad Talking You At Happy Hour

Ouch. Your team didn’t invite you to happy hour again. Worse still, you hear a hush as you walk by and you have the eerie feeling that everyone was just talking about you. Wanna know if your associates are dishing some heavy dirt behind your back? Check yourself to see if they have a reason to bad talk.

The Ego Has Landed

Chances are if you have a huge ego, it is hard for you to be truly critical of yourself. So right here and right now, I challenge you to step outside of your head and really see yourself. Try to see yourself as if you are the employee. Now let’s talk about your ego.

Do you think you are the cat’s pajamas? If you answered that with, “You don’t get it. I really AM the cat’s pajamas.” then you have an ego problem. The only way to be a true leader is to set that ego aside. The best leaders will put their team’s success above their own. If you’re too busy smelling your own farts, you will miss out on the impact your team is having on your business. Try stepping outside yourself more often. Take this time to recognize the great work your team has accomplished.

Quick Dismissal Of Ideas And Talent

This is a twofer. If you don’t take the time to listen to your employee’s ideas or pay attention to their talent potential, then you have failed your people.

Let’s talk about dismissal of ideas first. This goes back to your ego. Do you really think you are the only one who has all the right ideas? Even if you are, wouldn’t your idea be better fleshed out if you consider others perspectives? Take some time to really listen to your employees. Their thoughts could be what you need to launch your company forward.

Dismissal of talent is a more difficult hurdle. When you are hiring for an open position, do you consider your internal talent? Or do you think, “Jane only has the experience to do her admin job. Why would I even consider her for the social media job?” Well, you would be remiss to not consider Jane. It makes sense to hire for experience. But you open lots of new possibilities if you consider hiring for potential. Maybe Jane could thrive in this role and continue to grow with your company? Furthermore, it is cheaper to hire from within than externally. Thus you are not only investing in your business’s talent, but you are making a wise financial decision.

All Work And No Play

Working on a deadline? Are you demanding your employees to stay late to meet this deadline? That is fine every once in awhile. But is this becoming a once a week thing? Or worse, daily? Then, you are burning out your workforce. As I mentioned above, it is cheaper to invest in the talent you have. Don’t start losing them because you can’t manage time effectively.

Your workers want to go home. They have lives outside of your business. Let them go live those lives. If you need your employees to stay late every night, you are either terrible at delegating and prioritizing workloads, or you need to hire an additional resource.

Keeping Secrets

Think back to a time when you needed to complete a task and you didn’t have all the information. How well did you complete the task? Would it have been better if you had all the information?

I am thinking of a time when I had to create a client agreement without knowing the client’s main objective. This client project was a confidential project and all information was on a need to know basis. By the end of the project when I learned the main objective I was pissed! I could have delivered a much better product if I had all the information.

Make sure you are being transparent with your employees. They can do better work if they know the whole story. Trust them to maintain confidentiality. If you don’t trust them, then you need to start building a workforce that you do trust.

Not Standing Up For Your People

One of my first professional jobs after college was in recruiting. I worked on volume hiring for call center positions. We were understaffed and in hyper growth. Mistakes were inevitable. One day, my leader asked me to join her at a meeting with our workforce planning partners. We had a strained relationship with this team because we could barely keep up with the hiring needs.

The meeting turned into a complete cluster. My boss’s solution was to pin everything on me. I will never forget how the whole room turned on me. But moreover, I will never forget how completely my leader had failed me. Anyone who has been the fall person for a broken business process knows the heart sinking feeling I walked around with for the remainder of the day. That night I started looking for new jobs.

If you don’t stand up for your people, or worse, if you throw your people under the bus, they will leave you.

Too Negative or Too Positive

Your team just launched a HUGE initiative! Hooray! But you still have 6 more client agreements to write so let’s not get too excited there is more work to do. If this is how you approach team wins, then congratulations. Your team hates you.

Don’t drag your team down with your own negativity. Take some time to celebrate the small wins. A little positivity can go along way in making your workforce more engaged and more productive.

But don’t go too far in that direction. The key is to find balance. When you go too far in the positive, then your team will think you have an unrealistic worldview and lose trust in your ability to lead. Find a balance that celebrates your team’s successes but also motivates them to stay the course and focus on the work ahead. It is a delicate balance, but one that you must find to truly lead your employees.


If your employees are bad talking you at happy hour, it could be because you are failing them in one of the following ways:

  • Your enormous ego prevents you from recognizing your team’s successes.
  • You quickly dismiss your employee’s ideas and don’t consider them as viable talent options.
  • You are working them into the ground.
  • You withhold information, making it hard for associates to do their jobs.
  • You throw your people under the bus. Worse, you let others do it too.
  • You don’t control your emotions and are either too negative or too positive.

Do you think your employee’s are shit talking you? Let us know in the comments!



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