There are many great lists about how to be a great leader, what the essentials are for a high performance team, to-do lists for new managers, and books on management principles. But equally important is the What Not to Do list. Despite our best intentions, there are quite a few leadership mistakes that are surprisingly easy to make.
“You Are Doing Awesome (Not!)”
Give your team members tons of high fives, ‘great jobs,’ and praise—make them feel great about the work they are doing. If they do something wrong, don’t speak up, you want to protect your relationship with that person. Then, when you are filling out a 360 Assessment or their Annual Performance Report, let your honest opinion flow.
Treat Your Direct Reports like Delicate Flowers
Your direct reports aren’t smarter than you and they don’t know nearly as much as you do. Like a helicopter parent, shield them from projects where they have to assume any responsibility and prevent them from making any mistakes at all. Always provide extra structure than necessary, because you are unsure about their ability to create their own.
Play Bad Cop
Your job as a manager is not to get things done; it is to enforce every rule in the employee handbook. So don’t wait for a behavioral pattern before you jump to conclusions. You do want to nip this in the bud and set a precedent for the rest, don’t you? And certainly don’t point out when someone’s done good. You don’t want them to get an ego about it.
Focus on the Slackers
The high performers don’t need any help, attention, or feedback from you – they’re already doing great all on their own. Check! Waste 80% of your energy on those 20% who are showing up late and missing deadlines. If you can’t engage them, it’s your fault and instead of reconsidering that fact, make excuses for them and try harder.
Others? Please share other easily-made mistakes in the comments.