4 Things Great Managers Never Ask Their Employees to Do

Tuesday July 24th, 2018

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes

As a manager you ask a lot of your employees. You set goals for them to work towards and guidelines for them to work by. But as a manager, there are just some things you should never ask your employees to do. 

Here are four things that belong on that "Do Not" list that would not only be ethically wrong but in some cases could even be illegal. 

Work Despite Being Ill

Every employee will need a sick day at some point in their tenure with your company. Unless they have a bulletproof immune system, they're going to catch an illness at some point and need a day or two to rest and recharge their batteries. A great manager will never ask a sick employee to put work above their health for several reasons.

  1. Forcing an employee to come in to work even when they're ill demonstrates to the employee that you have no care or concern for their well-being.
  2. A sick employee who isn't given the time to rest will only get the rest of your team sick, which will only lead to more sick days.
  3. Working through an illness can lead to burnout, both mentally and physically.

Unless you have reason to suspect that an employee calling out sick is not really sick – and even then, there's not much you can do to prove it – you need to find a way to work without that employee, even if it means you'll need to pick up the slack yourself. 

Tolerate Abusive Language or Behaviors

Under no circumstances should you ever ask an employee to put up with someone who is mistreating them or making them uncomfortable. Whether it's a customer or a coworker, your job as a manager is to discover the source of the problem and eliminate it. Your company may already have a policy in place that outlines how to handle abusive behavior in the workplace, so it may be as simple as following protocol but is very important that you take any complaint seriously and deal with it as quickly and professionally as possible. 

Share Personal Information

Occasionally, you may want to host team-building events for your employees. And some team-building events suggest sharing personal information amongst coworkers as a way to build relationships and tighten bonds. But there is never a time when it's appropriate to force an employee to share information that they consider private or personal. Doing so could make that employee feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, which negates the purpose of a teambuilding exercise. Forcing your employees to share secrets doesn't make them better at their jobs and can actually harm relationships more than it helps them.

Skip Breaks or Work Off the Clock

It may seem like common sense to not ask your employees to work off the clock or skip their breaks. But there are times when managers may struggle with the bottom line and have a limited supply of overtime pay to dole out. Don't be tempted by the idea of turning in impressive numbers to your supervisor in exchange for unpaid work, because not only is it morally wrong, it's also illegal. You don't want to risk a run-in with the labor board over a few extra hours.

A great leader probably doesn't need a list such as this. If you value your team members, you won't ask things of them that will make them feel uncomfortable, unappreciated or disrespected. Trust your instincts and prioritize your employees' wellbeing and happiness over your bottom line and you will be rewarded with a team that will do their best work for you and for the company.