How not to Engage a Top Performing Team

Posted on 10 July 2019 by You HR

So many articles have been written about the best ways to engage a team we thought that we would turn it on its head to highlight just what it takes to get a team to engage.  When the points are written from a negative perspective it can really show just how not to do things as an employer!

1. Know nothing about your team

Sounds straightforward, and it is! Don’t spend any time with your employees, know nothing about their personal life, background, personal goals or anything that enables you to develop a good work relationship with them. This is an easy way to make your employee feel like their presence is irrelevant, feel devalued and disengaged from really wanting to achieve in their role. (Research shows that employees who feel valued are often 3 times more engaged in their work and performance and productivity increases. Keeping employees happy is key.).

2. Discourage the ‘right fit for the right role’

 After all, people should only work to get paid. (To encourage employee retainment built on individuals strengths and skills and looking at your company as a whole – could an employee be better placed on different activities? In a different role or team?  This is where getting to know your team and the dynamics of the team comes in really handy!)

3. Don’t empower them

Do everything yourself, your way. Hovering over employees every move and micromanaging their work to a stifling degree. It’s the way forward, after all, you don’t want to give employees an opportunity to strengthen your businesses ability and get recognition for their hard work. Of course you want to have all the credit for a job well done!  Don’t allow employees to demonstrate their ability or think outside the box. (Giving employees encouragement to be creative and demonstrate their ability to continuously improve ways of working can increase productivity and help with employee engagement, succession planning, talent management and indeed retention).

4. Don’t provide them with the tools for success

As a manager, you have way too many things to oversee, why you should you lead by example and encourage your employees to understand your vision and what they are doing well, or what could improve? While you’re at it don’t bother finding out if they have the correct equipment for the job in hand or that their workplace is set up for their collective and individual needs. (Providing training and development that aligns to a specific job role enables employees to flourish and build confidence in what they’re doing and increase their performance and productivity. This is a process that should start right from the onboarding process when an employee joins the company).

5. Don’t let them know what the company is doing

Why would employees care whether the business is doing well? They don’t need to be aware of its successes, concerns, and struggles. (Having a structure of effective communications, engagement and involvement is reflating for any business. Letting employees know what’s working and what isn’t gives them the opportunity to develop new ideas for the weaker areas. Encouraging them to collaborate and provide you with constructive feedback will assist you greatly and continue a proactive way of working to instil best practice in the sector you are working in).

6. Don’t support them through the tough times

If your employee is facing a tough situation with a client or even personal circumstances – let them get on with it. Why would your authority as a Manager have anything to do with it? (Employees need to feel supported by management and feel confident to ‘speak up’ with whatever may be wrong and to know that they will be backed up by an authoritative figure if the situation requires it).

With poor mental health dramatically rising, affecting 1 in 7 people in work, whatever the cause, failing to prevent this can lead to long-term conditions of mental and physical health, long absences, presenteeism and possibly even performance or conduct issues emerging. Just one avenue of how valued employees and your relationship with them can decline and result in them leaving. It’s a costly business to not address situations; proactively providing support can prevent so much or deal with circumstances when they arise).

7. Show no recognition for hard work

Employees are here to get the job done – why should they receive recognition when they already get paid, even if they have gone the extra mile? (A word of recognition or thanks goes a long way and helps to foster a positive culture and healthy behaviour in the workplace which is a key factor to elevating the levels of employee engagement, productivity and performance. Without employee motivation the company will suffer).

8. Don’t encourage teamwork among employees

Why would you want teams to work together? Who needs a group of people bouncing ideas off each other and working together to make a success out of business? (Great teamwork can aid cooperation, consideration, support, skill development/mixing and confidence in not only each other but in the company, itself).

9. Recruit employees with no people skills

In today’s world where nearly everything is digital or online, good people skills to interact with each other is becoming a redundant skill. (Customer care and communication skills go hand in hand. Employees who care about their customers and colleagues are more likely to be invested in the company and provide a good service throughout).

10. Ignore all employee feedback

Who cares what they think?  They’re here to work not to have an opinion! (Employee feedback is vital to keep employees engaged and motivated. Having a bespoke systems of employee feedback for your business, comprising of a staff satisfaction survey, feedback groups and 1:1’s can really help get a good picture of what needs to improve and how employees see their position in the company.)

11. Create a workplace environment full of fear and reprisal

Its best to keep employees on their toes. Create an environment full of uncertainty of their employment, of reprimanding consequences when they’ve failed at something, or where change just occurs as and when you choose.  (Setting out your vision and every employee plays a part in the business’ success is crucial, along with encouraging open and honest way of working to provide clarity and certainty wherever you can encourage commitment. 

Taking a more reflective approach when mistakes are made or when things don’t quite go to plan encourages employees to learn in a safe environment, strengthen work relationships through buddying/shadowing to learn from those that shine in what they do. Ensure moments of reflective learning are debated as a team in a constructive way so errors can become known and the learning shared).

12. Don’t lead by example

Keep a firm grip of leadership at all times and let them know who is boss. (While leading by example is a good thing, learn to delegate some aspects of leading to the team to show that the company has faith in them which gives them the chance to shine and grow in confidence). 

Hopefully after reading these headlines it is clear that by NOT following the headline advice, you can create a strong, high performing team that is more engaged, productive and work together for the greater good of your business. And that by pointing out what is hopefully the obvious NOT headlines, you recognise that such suggestions sound ludicrous!

We can help you with all your people needs – from clarifying job descriptions, creating systems to improve learning and appraising employees; strengthen communications, engagement and involvement; focus on workplace wellbeing and enhancing the culture you want to have in place, are just a few ways we can assist. Get in touch to book your free HR Healthcheck consultation meeting with us. Email

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