Friday, November 4, 2016

Top Mistakes Managers Make

November 1, 2016

Many managers lack fundamental training in managing people. But, even more importantly, some managers lack the values, sensitivity, and awareness needed to interact effectively all day long with people. Skills and techniques are easier to teach, but values, beliefs, and attitudes are much harder to teach—and harder for managers to learn. Yet, these are the underlying issues that will most make managers successful—or not.

How important is it to help managers succeed? Beyond description. Managers and how they manage their reporting staff set the tone for your entire business operation. Managers are the front line representation of your business. The majority of communication about the business is funneled through your managers. When employees resign, the top reason for their resignation is their relationship with their manager. People leave managers, not jobs or employers. There are several common mistakes made by managers:

Failing to get to know employees as people

Developing a relationship with reporting employees is a key factor in managing. You don't want to be your employees' divorce counselor or therapist, but you do want to know what's happening in their lives. When you know where the employee is going on vacation or that his kids play soccer, you are taking a healthy interest in your employees' lives.

Failing to provide clear direction

Some managers fail to create standards and give people clear expectations so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail. If you make every task a priority, people will soon believe that there are no priorities. More importantly, they will never feel as if they have accomplished a complete task or goal. Within your clear expectations, if you are either too rigid or too flexible, your reporting employees will feel rudderless. You need to achieve an appropriate balance that allows you to lead employees and provide direction without dictating and destroying employee empowerment and employee engagement.

Failing to trust

When managers don't trust people to do their jobs, this lack of trust plays out in a number of injurious ways. Micromanaging is one example. Constant checking up is another. Or they treat staff as if it’s untrustworthy—watch, track and admonish employees for every slight failing—because a few people are untrustworthy. Consider the old tenet that people live up to your expectations.

Failing to listen to and help employees feel that their opinions are valued

Active listening is a critical management skill. You can train managers in listening skills, but if the manager believes listening is a way to demonstrate that he or she values people, training is usually unnecessary. Listening is providing recognition and demonstrating your values in action. When employees feel heard out and listened to, they feel important and respected. You will have much more information when you open the floodgates.

Don’t pretend to listen by making decisions and then asking people for their input as if their feedback mattered. You can fool some of the people. But your best employees soon catch on to nature of your game and drop out.

Trying to be friends with employees who report to you

You can develop warm and supportive relationships with employees who report to you. But, you will have difficulty separating the reporting relationship in a friendship. Friends gossip, go out together, and complain about work and the boss. There is no room for their manager in these kinds of relationships.

Failing to communicate effectively and withholding important information

The best communication is transparent communication. Sure, some company information is confidential. You may have been asked to keep certain information under wraps for a while, but aside from these rare occasions, share what you know.

Being a member of the in-crowd is a goal for most employees, and the in-crowd has information—all of the information needed to make good decisions. Ask for feedback, too. Ask people for their opinions, ideas and continuous improvement suggestions. If you don’t implement their suggestions, let them know why, or empower them to implement their ideas themselves.

Not treating all employees equally

You don't necessarily have to treat every employee the same, but they must feel as if they receive equal treatment. The perception that you have pet employees or that you play favorites will undermine your efforts to manage people. This goes hand-in-hand with why befriending reporting employees is a bad idea. Employees who are not in your inner circle will always believe that you favor the employees who are—whether you do or not. This perception destroys teamwork and undermines productivity and success.

Throwing employees under the bus

Rather than taking responsibility for what goes wrong in the areas that you manage, some managers will blame particular employees when asked or confronted by executive leadership. If you’re the boss and you know the responsibility is ultimately yours, act with dignity and protect your employees. When you blame employees, you look bad and your employees will resent you. Copyright 2016 Kantipur Publications Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

This article’s original headline was “Top mistakes managers make.”
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