Pet Peeves: 7 Things Your Employees Won’t Tell You They Hate

The 2nd week of October is national pet peeve week. So if you somehow forgot all those little things that make your blood boil, here’s a whole week dedicated to reminding you. Yay!

And when it comes to pet peeves, what better place to start than work? Sure, you’re well aware of your own pet peeves. But do you truly know what grinds your staff’s gears?

Here are seven rage-inducing things your employees would like to change about your small business management style – one for each day of the week.


Sunday: Your current expense procedures cause an early start (or late finish) to the work week


In general, employees don’t enjoy performing work-related tasks outside of normal business hours. For example, there’s some sort of unwritten rule that you can’t complete expense report forms during work hours, so many people end up doing them Friday night or Sunday.

It’s also common for Mondays to be jam-packed with internal meetings and pivotal tasks, and your employees may feel the need to prepare on Sunday night or risk falling behind. Your staff can easily become overstressed when they feel office duties are infringing on much-needed personal time.




Provide your employees with the time and tools needed to get the job done during normal work hours. If Mondays are hectic, try shifting internal meetings around so employees have extra time Monday morning to start the week off right. Technology solutions like automated expense reports allow your employees to embark on a relaxing weekend knowing everything is taken care of.


Monday: If attendance were optional, you would be alone at your weekly meeting


Gather around everyone. You all have deadlines to meet, and the inbox you so diligently cleared out on Friday is already piling up again, but let’s all take an hour to discuss the same tired stuff we discuss every week. And at the end of our long, agenda-less meeting, you can go back to your desk more stressed out than you were an hour ago.

This is how most employees describe the majority of their weekly meetings. For productive small business management, keep meetings fresh, focused and meaningful, or just keep them off the schedule.




Make sure to place the meeting’s agenda in the invite to help guide the meeting and let others know what to expect.


Tuesday: Your attempt to sugarcoat went sour


Your employees want you to be straightforward. You may think you’re taking a helpful approach to small business management when you attempt to sugarcoat a difficult conversation – and in some cases you are – but what often happens are important messages are missed, and because the severity of the message is not clear, the events that brought on the overly polite conversation are more apt to reoccur.




Understand which employees need a gentler approach and use tactics such as the “compliment sandwich” for criticism, but make sure employees fully understand the specific actions that need to be taken.


Wednesday: You think you’re delegating, they think you’re avoiding


Effective delegation is a skill every small business manager should possess. A big part of delegation is deciding which tasks are better left on your plate. You’re the manager. It’s your job to solve the tough problems, not avoid them or delegate them to someone else.

Your employees don’t want to make unpopular decisions or enforce consequences. You may think you are rewarding your good employees with added responsibility, but the reality is your good employees can become disgruntled if they feel your passivity is adding to their burden.




Seek feedback on the tasks you are delegating to ensure your employees are comfortable performing them.


Thursday: Tony Robbins you are not


You told the team about the new contest and the grand prize and then you were surprised when they didn’t carry you out on their shoulders singing, “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” Sure, a few faces lit up, but there were also some fake smiles and stoic looks.

To steal a line from the Different Strokes theme, “Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you… may not be right for some? A man is born! He’s a man of means…” (Oops – got carried away and went past the relevant part).




Individuals are motivated by different things. Personalize your motivation tactics. If you’re running a contest, get feedback and give options for the prizes. Letting your employees help design the contest will make them apart of it, and you will gain more buy in for the contest overall.


Friday: The office social event was well attended, but not well received


Small business managers should know that not all employees want to socialize with coworkers. You might assume your staff views happy hours and extracurricular events as a perk, but many of them would rather use that time to socialize with family and friends – so don’t be offended when they don’t want to go.


That doesn’t mean stop planning fun activities. Some employees love them. It’s about making it clear which events are optional with no penalties for not attending. As a small business manager, you might want to stop by the event to say hi, but give your staff a chance to mingle without your presence. This way, your employees won’t feel like they need to wear their “work hats” while attending social hours.


Saturday: Your “great read about industry events” email could have waited


Sure, it’s great information every employee should read. But it can wait until Monday. Respect your staff’s personal time and just leave them alone during weekends and vacations.




Craft the email with the article, but leave it in draft form to send out on Monday. Try writing “FYI” in the email’s subject line so that everyone knows they can read it at their leisure.


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