7 Miserable Mistakes Managers Make
Managers have many things in common – and some of those “things” happen to be the miserable mistakes they make. This list does not cover every mistake, but it tackles seven that will readily inhibit or derail a career. Above all, they sabotage employee performance, engagement, and retention.
4 Miserable Mistakes
Relying on the position to give you power
A management promotion gives you the title to do a job, but that is just the beginning. Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers. You must earn the title to reach exceptional results with your team. So, listen to employee concerns or ideas. Work at building credibility and rapport. Seek feedback along the way, and develop yourself as a leader. This is called using personal power. Managers wield position power by dictating to and commanding others. This most often creates resentment and fear. Your team will have a hard time respecting you if you do not do a good job of helping your team buy-in to your approach. If they do not trust you, they will not go the extra mile for you. And they will leave you.
Acting on assumptions
Can you read minds? No. Can your team? No. Despite these two answers, you would be amazed at how often managers mistakenly think their teams know what they want. Plus, how often managers make assumptions regarding their teams’ true feelings about them or their plans. Here are three things managers must do to avoid mind-reading efforts:
- Clearly communicate goals and expectations – do not assume your teams know these. In fact, include them in a planning process. (See this post: 3 Approaches to High Performance Team Planning)
- Directly request feedback from team members – you cannot expect your team to be candid with you if you do not invite them to share their insights.
- Start conducting effective team meetings on a weekly basis. Also, start engaging your team with one-on-one performance discussions monthly. Learn to do both well. (See this blog posts: How to Lead a Great Team Meeting: 5 Tips that Inspire, and The Positive Impact of Performance Discussions.
Open communication causes employee engagement and retention to soar. Good communication is the language of effective leadership. Without it, life at work can quickly become miserable.
Most of the time, leaders have no problem telling others what to do and what to change. However, the miserable mistake they make is they may master “talking the talk”, but they fail to master “walking the walk.” Great managers lead by example; they do not ask or expect their teams to do anything they are not willing to do themselves. Furthermore, as Nelson Mandela declared, they “lead from the back.” Therefore, they uplift, recognize, and reward their teams for progress and success.
Ridding the workplace of fun
Sometimes managers get such tunnel vision that they forgo all fun in an effort to achieve results. This is a dangerous managing mentality driven by a huge misunderstanding. Having fun does not interfere with achieving success, unless it is not clear which effort is the priority. So once again, clarify your goals, but do not compromise fun in the process. Ensuring the workplace environment is enjoyable to your team members is worth your time because they will want to be there. So, bring lunch in, go out together for a meal or ballgame. Do a contest or decorate the workplace. Develop a sense of humor. When done genuinely, your team will perform better.
3 More Miserable Mistakes
For example, let us say you achieve your organizational goals, and make your customers happy this month or quarter – then what? Well, mediocre managers would leave it at that and call it a great day! Wow! What a miserable mistake. Great managers keep at it – their commitment to continual improvement overrides their opportunity to get complacent. As a result, do not stop with success; celebrate and praise and then press on. Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
Forgetting the importance of the team
Many managers play office politics to look good or to get a promotion. While there is nothing wrong about wanting to get ahead, too many managers do it at the expense of their teams. However, selfish ambition alienates employees. Focus on helping your team win and you will win. A manager’s success depends on their team’s success. (See this training video: The First and Only Rule of Leadership)
Why is this a miserable mistake? Managers that do not keep on learning and trying new things become boring, lazy, and mediocre. Instead, they do everything the same way month after month if not year after year. Look, in this fast-paced world and marketplace, anyone can be left behind quickly if they are not continuously learning. The best managers and companies give their employees sixty plus hours of training per year. In addition, they jump in as well.
Pulling It All Together
In summary, apply yourself to do better in these areas. It is a process of improvement, not a one-time event. Focus on helping your team win, and learning how to be the best leader you can be. An amazing thing will happen. You will overcome these miserable mistakes. Furthermore, progress, success, and achievement follows. This means you establish an enduring trust with your team.
Also, do you want to learn proven approaches for becoming a better leader and increasing employee engagement? If so, I suggest you check out this complimentary resource: How to Motivate-No-Inspire People eBook.
In addition, check out this dynamic online training: Superstar Leadership Training.
Finally, see my latest book, click here: The 5 Dynamics of Servant Leadership.