How to Destroy Employee Morale in Four Easy Steps

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Two researchers who have studied what makes employees happy and engaged at work have also learned what destroys their morale.

Harvard business professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer learned the triggers by studying work diaries from 238 professionals. Writing for the Washington Post blog On Leadership, they list four ways that bosses make their employees miserable. They are:

1) Stall employees’ most meaningful work. One manager accomplished this when he “routinely moved people on and off projects like chess pieces in a game for which only he had the rules.”

2) Block progress on projects. One way is to give conflicting or changing goals, and to allow no autonomy in meeting them.

3) Blame bad morale on worker personalities or work ethic.

4) Retaliate when someone brings up problems. One chief operating officer responded with this quote: “There is no morale problem in this company. And, for anybody who thinks there is, we have a nice big bus waiting outside to take you wherever you want to look for work.”

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