With our current economic state and uplifting stories such as the Madof case I thought it best to share some great ways to decrease morale in the work place. Although this is written from the perspective of an IT shop that’s part of a larger organization, it will sure to find some use in any workplace.
- Vision is evil. Don’t be evil.
Ignore Emperor Palpatine. There is no price to pay for a lack of vision. In fact, if the Emperor supports it it must be evil. Don’t be evil. Keeping your employees in the dark about they should be doing, or what they should be striving for is sure to keep them feeling confused about their role, decreasing morale. It also creates more opportunities for you to swing your Iron Fist.
- Be consistently inconsistent.
If you are going to be consistent about something, why not let it be your inconsistency in decision making? For example, be sure to insist on getting full access to all systems for ‘emergency purposes’, and then refuse to accept access to the documentation for those systems. Who needs documentation anyways?
- Play the telephone game with all of your decisions.
Tell one of your employees that you’ve decided to do something one way, and then tell others something different. It’s a great little game to play that will help to decrease morale once everyone has wasted their time going in the wrong direction. The in-fighting that will soon ensue is sure to help decrease morale as well.
- Take responsibilities away from the employees that want it, then give it to those that don’t.
Sure to drop morale severely, don’t allow that pesky go getter to advance. S/He’ll just get in your way to decreasing morale. Instead give all of those job tasks to the person who doesn’t want it. Bonus points if that person is already overworked. Want the gold star? Combine this with the telephone game. Tell the go getter that it’s too much work for them to handle, then tell the overworked employee that it’s no work at all and s/he won’t even notice the extra tasks.
- Never support your employees.
Never, ever, ever support your employees. That just increases morale. Instead make sure to always side with the opposing side. Especially if that opposing side is external to your company. What better way to decrease morale than yell at your employees for trying to get the vendor to honor the contract.
- Think inside the box.
Don’t let yourself be flexible. Think inside the box. The box is safe. Who cares if that employee typically works 60hr weeks unprompted, is always available when you need and never complains about it? They came in 10mins late. That’s against the rules. Make sure to write them up for that.
- Remind your employees constantly that you are the boss.
You sign their time sheet, you have the power to fire them. Make sure they never forget who’s the King/Queen. Bonus points if you can work into the conversation “Your job is to say yes sir/maam and then do what I tell you. Nothing more”
- Use movie military philosophy to manage your employees.
Recite this simple phrase if one of your employees ever asks a question about your decision “It’s above your pay grade”. And honestly if one of your employees is brave enough to even question your greatness then you need to employ more of the suggestions in this list. They are apparently not broken enough.
- Never communicate.
Never communicate with your employees. It’s OK to tell them what you did last night or about your latest gadget, but don’t tell them about the upcoming project or about the difficulties that their coworkers are facing. It’s above their pay grade to know that stuff anyway. Big points on the board if you can get it to the point where everyone that works for you has not even the foggiest about what others do.
- Make empty promises.
I’m sure you’re already practicing this one, but just in case you aren’t, start now.
- Relate all gossip to your employees.
Make sure to let your employee know about all those that hate them and everything they said. Then deny saying anything like that when questioned later. If you have no gossip, make it up. Once you tell enough people, it’ll eventually be true.
Following the suggestions in this list is sure to decrease morale in your workplace. To see a major drop in morale try to combine a few of these into the same action. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you start writing people up for insubordination or see a large increase in your employee turn-over rate.