Top ten mistakes managers make and how to rise above them
There is no such thing as a perfect manager. There are, however, some who manage to rise above the rest by avoiding common mistakes. Below are ten common management mistakes, as well as easy ways to avoid them.
1. Trying to Be an Employee
While most workers would say they want a boss who isn’t afraid to get in the trenches, one of the major failings experienced by many new bosses is attempting to do the job of an employee as well as a manager. No one can do both jobs at the same time.
The easy way to avoid this mistake is to understand that management has important associated tasks. If you attempt to do another job at the same time, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
2. Misusing Feedback
Another common mistake occurs when a manager misuses feedback. Feedback is incredibly useful, but only if it’s going to make a difference in how something is done. Too many managers solicit advice and then make a decision that runs contrary to that advice – or worse, they solicit advice after the decision has been made. This teaches employees that their input doesn’t matter.
Simply put, it’s important for a manager to only solicit feedback when it matters. If you aren’t willing to change due to an employee’s suggestion, don’t ask for the input. Let your employees know that you’re listening when they’re talking.
3. Misunderstanding Time Management
It’s easy to misunderstand scheduling and time management. Too many managers spend time trying to unlock the secret of scheduling, only to find that they haven’t allotted the right amount of hours or that certain employees aren’t on the clock when they are scheduled. This leads to problems for the rest of the team and a very intense work environment.
The easy way to deal with this is to make the use of the right time management tools. Time Clock Wizard, for example, can help managers to more easily schedule their employees without generating mountains of confusing paperwork. This is one problem that can be fixed by working smarter instead of harder.
4. Delegation Woes
It’s very hard to learn how to delegate. Some managers, however, take to it a little too easily. Instead of handling major tasks and delegating the smaller things to subordinates, they seem to outsource all of their work. This is the kind of mistake that makes employees wonder why they have managers at all.
Again, fixing this mistake comes down to knowing the job. You need to be seen working, so make sure that you haven’t cleared your schedule completely. Only delegate that which frees you up to tackle more important tasks.
5. Putting Ego First
Bad managers lead from ego. They assume that everything in the department is a reflection on them personally and thus they attempt to make it all about themselves. This not only rubs most employees the wrong way, but it can cause massive blind spots that lead to bad decision making.
It’s important to remember that even managers are part of a larger team. If you want to be effective, you have to remember that you can’t always put yourself first. Make sure that all of your decisions have benefits to the company as a whole, not just to your career’s future.
6. Trying to Do it All
The opposite of the over-delegating manager is one who tries to do it all. This manager refuses to let his or her team do anything important, instead trying to shoulder everything at once. This not only leads to an ineffective team, but it also leads to rapid burnout.
If you want to avoid this mistake, make sure you can identify team members who have the ability to take on more work. Look at who can accomplish the tasks that take up too much of your time and those who might be in a position to be groomed for future management positions. Good managers know that delegation is a part of the job.
7. Lack of Communication
Communication is a key part of running a business. Good managers are open and honest with their teams when they can be and as transparent as possible when they can’t reveal everything. Many managers, perhaps fearful of reactions, fail to communicate effectively and leave their teams in the dark.
It’s important to remember how vital communication is to a manager’s job. You need to learn how to give news – both good and bad – in a way that your team can understand. With a little work, you’ll get used to communicating effectively.
Micromanagement is one of the gravest sins of the modern workplace. Managers who stand over their employees’ shoulders and dictate everything that needs to be done are not only annoying but they also cut down on productivity. This fatal flaw is also a good way to stop your employees from learning how to do things on your own.
If you are a micromanager, take a step back and look at your team. They should all be competent professionals who can do the job correctly. If they are not, it’s time to think about whether they have a place at the company at all. If you’re not willing to remove them, your employees should be left to do their jobs.
9. Avoiding Blame
Managers often feel like they need to deflect blame. After all, their positions are precarious and one mistake can undo years of work. Unfortunately, refusal to take the blame is one of the fastest ways to turn a team against their manager. Even worse, it can break down the ability of a solid group of employees to become more productive.
Great managers shoulder the blame and share praise. Make sure that, at least publicly, the buck stops with you. If an employee makes a mistake, handle it privately. As far as the outside world is concerned, though, you’re the one who needs to be held responsible for everything your team does.
10. Playing Favorites
The final common issue is perhaps the most problematic from a teamwork standpoint. Many managers have a tendency to play favorites, if only because their personalities gel better with certain employees. Things become problematic, though, when they fail to enforce rules equally or only give credit to those they favor.
It’s a good idea to be friendly with your employees, but being friends can be dangerous. Make sure that all of your decisions apply equally to everyone on the staff, with performance mattering more than personality. Take a step back when you make a decision and try to decide if you’d do the same for any other employee – if you can’t answer positively, you might have a problem.
These issues are all too common in the business world. If you can identify them, though, you can avoid them. With a little effort, you can get past these mistakes and become the kind of manager who anyone would be willing to follow.
Are you currently working? Let us know what other mistakes you have seen from management.