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By JoAnna Brandi, Certified Chief Happiness Officer and Happiness Coach

While one wouldn’t expect a Happiness Coach to speak in “don’ts” rather than “do’s,” today I’m breaking my own rules to share this list of 10 things you DO NOT want to do to your staff – especially if they happen to be Millennials or Gen Z!

Don’t breathe down their necks and micromanage.

Draw them all into a conversation about how – together – you can create such a great work experience for other employees and such a great buying experiences for customers that they’ll want to come back again and again and bring their friends. Remember that micromanagement will stifle creativity, autonomy and growth. Learn a good delegation process, delegate, and then let go.

Don’t turn into an old era authoritarian “my way or the highway” type.

If you alienate them, you’ll cut yourself off from the genius in them. Invite them to help you find solutions. While I admit it might be tempting at times to “lay down the law,” I can almost promise you that it will backfire. They don’t need you as much as you need them. They are your future.

Don’t keep your expectations a secret – they need to know what they are and if they have changed.

Keep people on the same page with what you expect. This is a complaint I hear often from staff members. And make sure you tell them how to re-prioritize the other 6 things you’ve put on their to-do list (trust me, they want your help). One of the reasons people are so burnt out at work is they can’t read your mind and need clear direction.

Don’t point out their weaknesses.

It’s not your job to “fix” your employees. Look for their strengths and give them the opportunity to do what they do best. Look for what’s good about what they do and encourage them to do more of it. When we don’t give people the chance to work IN their strengths and ON their strengths they become disengaged. This does not mean you can’t have healthy conversation about what needs to be improved or fixed. It means you discuss what’s not working in the context of a relationship that mostly focuses on strengths.

Don’t be what you’re not – authenticity will get you a lot further.

If you are challenged with how to engage them, ask them what would help. Be yourself – even more so – be vulnerable. Too many leaders, especially those promoted from within, take on an artificial persona of “The Boss.” Remember, today it’s about “Power With” your people, not “Power Over” your people.

Don’t clam up because you’re scared.

During times of change it’s critical to communicate and communicate often – openly and honestly. When you allow yourself to go to fear, you shut down important parts of your brain – and theirs. Emotions are contagious. Watch what emotions you broadcast.

Don’t use blame and judgement in your open and honest communication.

Do use facts and feelings. Blame and judgement depress performance and cause fear. If you want high performance on your team, you must up your emotional intelligence game.

Don’t add to their stress with drama.

Dramatizing, awfulizing and catastrophizing will work against you in the end. Everybody gets how important it is these days to reduce stress and foster a positive work environment. Find something positive to focus on and head in that direction with enthusiasm.

Don’t forget that in the end what you will get from practicing positive leadership is happier and more productive teams and more loyal paying customers. Make sure your focus is on what you can do to make them happy and more engaged with the company and the customers. There’s a substantial payoff from taking this advice!

Don’t forget to be grateful for what you do have.

Do show appreciation for all they do - frequently, sincerely, and genuinely. What you appreciate appreciates.

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©2023 JoAnna Brandi & Company, Inc.

JoAnna Brandi has been teaching organizations to create the kinds of positive cultures that produce customer and employee happiness for over 33 years. Her goal is to see her clients enjoy a “Positive Spillover Effect” on all the people they touch. She is the author of two books on customer loyalty and one fun illustrated book called 54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging, and Sometimes Negative World.

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