5 Common Management Mistakes

Even the Most Well-Intentioned Managers Commit These Cardinal Sins


Are You Guilty Of Any of These?

Contrary to popular belief, most managers aren’t ineffective because they’re monsters lording their power over underlings. Most of the time, it’s because they’re making mistakes — just like the rest of us.

It’s true that for every mistake you make, you’re presented with a learning opportunity. However, as a manager, your bosses are probably hoping you’ve learned all of those lessons by now. So in an effort to read about the missteps here instead of experience them on the job, we’re going over five of the most basic mistakes almost all managers make at some point in their careers. Even managers with the best of intentions fall victim to these blunders, but if you’re cognizant of the pitfalls maybe you can avoid some (or all) as you make your way up the ladder.

So read the list, take a deep breath, and a hard look in the mirror when considering whether you’re guilty of the following.

5. Not Providing Feedback

Simply put, if you never talk to employees about the job they’re doing, they’ll never know if they’re doing it well or not.

It’s great that you want to avoid being a micromanager, but if you’re too “hands-off” you’ll start to become invisible and ineffective. Being present and accounted for when it comes to employee feedback is important because workers need to know if they’re on point or need to improve. If you see someone doing something wrong, don’t make a note of it and wait two months until the performance evaluation to say something. Address it now so it can be fixed. And if you can’t physically be in the office to talk with employees, make sure you video chat or check by phone/email a decent amount so your workers know you’re paying attention.

If not, you’ll start to see lagging employee engagement and potentially shoddy work that negatively impacts the bottom line.

4. Being Too Friendly

In a perfect world you’d be great friends with all of your employees. But that’s just not how it works.

While being too hands-off is a negative, so too is the other extreme — being too friendly with employees. If they think you’re their buddy, they’re going to have a much harder time when you have to come down hard on them for a subpar performance, or denying them a raise/promotion. Sure you should get to know them and work to foster a positive relationship, but boundaries are important as well. Otherwise some of them might try to take advantage of your friendship and some heavy duty drama can occur.

3. Failing to Understand What Motivates

What motivates your employees? If you don’t know or you’ve never asked, that’s a problem.

Most managers assume it’s about money, which is true to an extent. Salary is usually the top priority for most employees. However, it’s not the only thing. Not even close. There has been a huge emphasis on telecommuting and flexible work schedules lately, as more female workers “lean in” and male employees seek to gain more of a work/life balance. Often, employees will sacrifice a little bit in pay in order to work from home or create an alternative flexibile schedule that allows them a little more freedom in how they plan their work week.

Regardless, it’s up to you to actively find out what motivates your employees so you can get the most out of them.

2. Performance Evaluation Problems

There are two main problems when it comes to managers and performance reviews.

First of all, some managers can either be too nice or too harsh in their reviews. Sometimes there are employees who are very nice people or they’ve had some extenuating circumstances in their personal lives, so managers are tempted to give them a satisfactory report when their work has been anything but. And on the other hand, there are some managers who misunderstand what employees do and give negative evaluations that don’t accurately reflect the work that’s been done. Either way, it’s not good.

Second, far too many managers never do the reviews. There are always more pressing issues and soon it’s one month, two months, and then six months late. The result is an employee with no official feedback on how he/she is doing, as growing animosity and dissatisfaction festers.

1. Not Defining Goals

What is it your employees do? Do you know? Do they know? Have the original job descriptions changed over the last few months or years and need to be updated?

The bottom line is if you don’t have clear and defined goals, it’s that much harder to attain results. And if your workers are operating with nonexistent or nebulous goals, then how are you going to determine if they’re doing a good job? You need to map things out ahead of time and give people a road map, or you’ll end up lost.


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