Are You Too Hard On Your Employees?

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Every manager struggles to find the balance between not being too hard on his or her employees and maintaining high standards for performance. While some managers easily understand how to find and keep this balance, most do not. The majority of those in management positions discover this delicate balance through trial and error. They may go through periods of being too easy on their personnel, or overly strict. Both extremes are damaging.

3 Signs That You Are Too Hard on Your Employees

Are you too hard on your employees? If you notice these 3 signs in your workers, there’s a chance that you are:

1. They are underproductive – If you’ve ever complained that your employees are apathetic or not goal-oriented, ask yourself how well you communicate your expectations to them. If you don’t tell your workers what you expect of them, set clear goals, and give them the resources to meet your requirements, you are being way too hard on your employees. Being demanding in a way that communicates, “This is what I expect of you, and I have total confidence that you can do a great job,” is appropriate and helpful. What is not helpful is to be unclear about your expectations of employee performance and then blame them for being underproductive.

2. They resent you – If you get the sense that your workers resent you, that’s a sign that you are too tough on them, take them for granted, or ask too much of them. In his article Are You Leaning on Your Employees Too Hard?, Howard Shore wrote to employers, “You need to observe (employees’) body language and solicit input. You need to let them vent, encourage honest feedback, and be willing to let them take it easy for periods of time. Not just one weekend here and there. It is amazing how (managers) get to the point where they can take their long trip and enjoy life because they earned it through all their sacrifice. However, many of the employees out there are also sacrificing quite a bit and if not careful you can drive away some great ones by being too selfish.”

3. They quit – Does your company have a relatively high rate of turnover? This could indicate that you and/or others in management positions are too strict on workers. Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends LLC, warns employers against working their personnel too hard. She wrote that habitual lateness, limited time for personal life, employees consistently calling in sick, and high employee turnover are definite signs that employees are being worked too intensely. Overworking your personnel is the epitome of treating them harshly.


Are your employees underproductive? Do they seem to resent you? Does your company have a high rate of turnover? These can all be signs that you might need to cut your workforce some slack.

How do you find the balance between being too strict with employees and being too lenient with them? Share your thoughts in the “comments” section below.


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