As the technology industry continues to evolve, tech leaders face increasing pressure to drive innovation, lead complex projects, and foster a positive work environment. The dual demands of remote work and the changing expectations of the workforce have exacerbated poor management.
In the long run, if not dealt with, the effects of weak leadership and poor workforce management can be very costly for the organization. This is the period of massive resignation. Many employees have tied the absence of purpose at work to the leading causes of their exit.
Perhaps, you’ve been noticing unusual changes or even a drastic reduction in your workforce’s productivity level. It’s probably time to take a step back and rethink your management approach. Here are five urgent signs that suggest something may be wrong.
1. Lackluster Team Performance
Anil Mohanty, HR head at Medikaba says “When a significant portion of team members are underperforming, particularly over 60%, it’s often a sign of a leadership issue within the organization.” ¹
If a small portion of your team isn’t meeting expectations, it can be easily attributed to those individual team members. But when a large majority of your team is underperforming, it’s a call to investigate the reason. Largely, underperformance stems from lack of motivation and engagement.
Employees become more engaged when their personal goals are in sync with the company’s mission. With a sense of purpose, they believe that they’re part of the organization where their opinions are valued.
Improving your team’s productivity is a multi-faceted process that requires patience. It needs devotion to listening and allowing team members to provide feedback.
Denise Brinkmeyer, head of Jump Technology Services, highlights the issue of a manager taking on too much work, which leads to a lack of time for coaching and feedback for the team. This creates a vicious cycle where the manager becomes overburdened and the team becomes dissatisfied.
She says, “A manager may need to admit they’ve found their leadership lacking. When the leader commits to change and follows through, the team may find new respect, which yields improved attitudes and performance.”
2. Undervaluing Female Contributions
This issue is particularly prevalent in the tech industry, where women are often underrepresented and face significant barriers to advancement.
According to research by McKinsey, Only 87 women and 82 women of color are promoted for every 100 men promoted from entry-level roles to managerial positions. ² There’s a mass exit of women from their workplaces. The answer is simple. These women want merely to perform their work responsibilities and they want opportunities to advance their careers.
When a company is not fulfilling this purpose, several things can be expected. Either their motivation to work reduces, or they switch jobs to get the advancement they seek.
In McKinsey’s report, a South Asian woman was quoted saying “I’ve asked several times what I can do to advance my career, but I’ve never received a satisfactory response. I’m considering leaving. And it will be my company’s loss because they did not provide me with opportunities to advance. I hit a ceiling that wasn’t necessary.”
Companies that are not perceived as being inclusive and supportive of women may find it challenging to attract top female candidates, and may also struggle to retain the women already on their teams. This can hurt the overall diversity and competitiveness of the organization.
3. Excessive Employee Exit
Revolent Group President Nabila Salem highlights that high staff turnover is a clear indication of poor leadership. According to her, the main reason for this is the lack of empathy from leaders toward their employees. ³
If employees don’t feel that their leaders care about them, they are unlikely to be passionate and dedicated to achieving the goals of the organization.
After the pandemic, many employees experienced a shift in priorities. Their viewpoint of the world and their jobs changed. They have begun to question the lack of connection to their jobs, hence the decision to quit. For most, staying with their current employer is solely dependent on whether the job brings them fulfillment or a sense of purpose.
Aside from other leading causes of high employee turnover such as a search for better working benefits, many people will voluntarily quit their jobs for a better work-life balance, career development opportunities, or to escape ineffective workforce management. Without a purpose-driven work culture, more employees will be out the door.
Leadership essentially covers the responsibility to hire, promote, and retain staff members. If employees leave the company to seek better career opportunities, it means the leadership is not providing adequate support.
4. Poor Communication
Poor communication has been recognized as a major indicator of inadequate or poor leadership in several studies and surveys. Research by Pumble, found that 86 percent of employees surveyed reported poor communication as a significant problem in their organizations. ⁴
This highlights the widespread impact of the issue on employees causing misunderstandings, demotivation, subpar decision-making, and decreased productivity.
Generally speaking, employees often look to their leaders for guidance. Top-down communication motivates employees to be more productive and innovative. A good leader can communicate objectives, goals, and visions clearly, while also capturing employees’ goals in a larger framework.
Managers who are unable to answer questions or clarify points may result in poor communication and bad leadership, leaving their employees even more confused and frustrated than when they began.
In some instances, poor communication can escalate into increased conflict and tension in the workplace, as employees may become disillusioned with their leaders or with each other.
Creating two-way communication where employees can provide feedback is key. Tech leaders must foster open lines of communication with their employees by being responsive to their concerns and feedback. This way, employees are well-informed, motivated, and involved.
5. Uninspired Workforce
A lack of empathy, over-reliance on decisiveness, failure to support professional growth, and unrealistic expectations can lead to low employee morale.
Employees who feel unsupported and undervalued will be less motivated to perform at their best. Similarly, setting unrealistic expectations for project timelines without considering your team’s skills or the availability of resources will soon burn them out.
To inspire and retain a dedicated workforce, tech leaders must prioritize their employees’ well-being by providing clear direction and support, alongside a positive work environment.
In doing so, you may need to actively listen to what your team is saying. Critically consider if your expectation is causing your team to burn out, or have less motivation towards work.
Are your deadlines or work hours feasible?
Set achievable goals based on the availability of resources and team capabilities. In finding solutions to the problem of motivation, you may need to push for a collaborative culture, promote work-life balance, and encourage employee participation in decision-making processes.
What Good Leaders Do
Good leaders see themselves as career developers. They know that an uninspired team is a disaster recipe for low motivation and reduced productivity. They don’t wait till things get escalated. Instead, they address any conflicts or concerns that may contribute to poor morale, and find ways to create a more positive work environment for their employees.
For example, in many organizations today, the traditional 9-to-5 work week has been replaced by hybrid hours best suited to individual needs. It was found in research by the London School of Economics that working during unusual work hours, such as weekends and holidays, reduces employees’ motivation to work. ⁵
TAKE OFF SOME OF THE BURDEN AND LET US HELP
As the business landscape and job market continue to expand, it’s always an easier route for employers to partner with staffing firms. Being a tech leader, you’re most likely already burdened with so many responsibilities.
Take some weight off your shoulders by reaching out to the Fox Search Group, a women-led IT staffing company. You can be rest assured to be working with a leading staffing firm that shares your values and is dedicated to delivering effective results. Take the next step towards a more successful future in your business by contacting us today!
- Kashyap, Kartikay | HR Katha. “Leaders are to blame for underperforming teams.” https://www.hrkatha.com/leadership/leaders-are-to-blame-for-underperforming-teams/. Published October 17, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2023.
- McKinsey & Company. “Women in the Workplace 2022”. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace. Published October 18, 2022. Accessed February 3, 2023.
- Heltzel, Paul. “10 signs you’re a weaker leader than you think”. https://www.cio.com/article/305075/10-signs-youre-a-weaker-leader-than-you-think.html. Published February 23, 2022. Accessed February 3, 2023.
- Pumble. “Workplace communication statistics (2022)”. https://pumble.com/learn/communication/communication-statist. No date of publication. Accessed February 3, 2023.
- Giurge, Laura, LSE. “Working and studying ‘out of hours’ can harm motivation”. https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2022/c-Mar-22/Working-and-studying-out-of-hours-can-harm-motivation. Published March 4, 2022. Accessed February 3, 2023.