Managers, especially new ones, are often unprepared for the job because they are so used to being an individual contributor and not responsible for other people. The hardest skills in business (and life) are working with other people because everyone has different motivators and a different view of how work should be done. As a manager, your job is to engage your team, make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are and ensure that everyone is meeting their deadlines. Executives will blame you if something goes wrong, even if it’s your team’s fault. If you don’t perform as a manager it’s not just costly to you, but to your company as well. Your direct reports will leave and you will be charged with replacing them, which takes time and will frustrate you. Here are the top mistakes I see managers making most frequently:
1. Managers don’t trust their employees to do their jobs.
Some managers just don’t trust their employees so they end up trying to do the work that their employees should be doing. This doesn’t work because we only have so much time in one day to accomplish everything and if you’re doing your employees work, you become distracted and can’t get your own work done. If you micromanage, your employees won’t learn, develop and improve so they can take on more work and be more independent.
2. Giving too little direction.
You need to set expectations with your employees and explain exactly what’s required of them. By doing this, they will come back with fewer questions and have more confidence in you as their manager. The more direction you give them up front, the more time it will save you later. Employees need to know the overall direction of the project, the goals and how they are supposed to measure the outcome.
3. Taking your frustrations out on employees.
I hear from so many of my peers that their managers take everything out on them. If they’re having a bad day and are frustrated, they have a bad attitude and the employee loses out. Managers need to remain calm, cool and collected because it’s a reflection on both them and the company. Not everything is going to go right all of the time and you have to understand that when managing people.
4. Making promises you can’t keep.
If you tell an employee that they are getting a raise, promotion or bonus and then never come through, you look bad and they will lose trust in you. A lot of managers make these promises out of fear. When they sense that an employee is looking to move to another company or position, they immediately try to bait them using these incentives that might not even exist. If you promise someone something, make sure you deliver.
5. Be unwilling to support an employee who wants to make a move.
In today’s economy, people don’t want to stay in one job for life – they want to move around and gain new experiences. A lot of managers aren’t supportive of employees who want to make a move and will do everything in their power to “block” those opportunities, even if it’s within the same company. Managers need to understand that what’s in their best interest isn’t always in their employees best interest and since you’re likely going to end up losing them anyways, you should maintain those relationships.
6. Being selfish and taking all the credit.
Managers tend to take more credit than they deserve. They will plaster their name on presentations that their employees worked on. Instead of being selfish, you actually look better when you share credit and spotlight the people that completed projects for you. By sharing credit, executives will be more impressed with you and your employees will work harder for you.