Even the best managers make mistakes sometimes, and we understand why. Managers have a lot on their plate — with different projects, employees, and deadlines. On top of that they are expected to be enthusiastic and a leader at the same time. It’s a big job to tackle. Often times managers won’t even have received formal training, simply climbing their way up the ladder to the title. It’s these types of managers which may not be very aware of the easy mistakes managers make. Although, it’s understandable that even trained managers would slip up in these areas from time to time. It’s also hard sometimes to identify where the biggest problems are, with feedback coming from all directions. That’s why we’ve put together a list of all the easy mistakes managers make on a day-to-day basis. These mistakes can often go undetected by management, but mean a lot to employees, so it’s important to pay attention.
Like a bird leaving the nest — sometimes we have to let go. While it can be hard to put trust into employees at times, it must be done. Being overbearing and micromanaging their every move not only slows things down but hurts morale. Managers who overly dominate decisions, work and employees will be met with a poor response. Micromanaging hinders an employees confidence to act independently and develop unique solutions. Not to mention, it also takes up a large chunk of a managers time, leaving less room to continue with their own tasks.
Take a step back from what your employees are doing. Delegate work and set deadlines, with faith that they can handle it on their own. Of course, you’re also the manager for a reason, so do make sure you’re keeping an eye out. A glance over the shoulder here and there, or a light comment, but not much more.
Managing with an ego
You’re the manager for a reason — you’re good at what you do. You’ve got the qualifications, experience, and attitude to be there, so it makes sense you have confidence. Just make sure that confidence isn’t taking control of how you lead.
If you believe that you have the answer to every solution, you risk never listening to employees. Sometimes we can be wrong, or out of the loop, as everyone is. So, give employees a chance to speak up. Allow employees to disagree with you, and prompt them to explain why they think this way. If you don’t believe them to be correct, carefully talk them through your opinion. If you think they make a good argument, take it on board with an open mind. Too many managers refuse to listen to their employees as they view disagreement as defiance. However, this type of dynamic two-way communication offers a powerful learning experience for both of you.
Hearing but not listening
What’s the difference? Maybe you know what your employees are saying to you, you can hear them, but you aren’t taking it on board. They say that listening is an art form, so treat it like one. Listening is not intuitive it is practised, formed, and requires careful attention. A lot of the time managers may feel that they are running on empty, and struggle to prioritise giving an ear, but few things are as important. Make sure that you are paying close attention to what your employees are saying to you. This includes taking an empathetic stance and paying attention to social and emotional queues. Make sure you are remembering and taking on board what they’re saying; be responsive and engaging.
If you’re looking for ways to listen effectively, we recommend an employee survey. Listening isn’t an easy task. Employees may feel that they can’t be open and honest with management. Managers may not fully grasp what employees are saying or gain a comprehensive understanding by themselves. With an employee survey these issues can be solved. A CiVS employee survey is completely confidential and can be customised to suit your companies goals. These surveys produce easy-to-understand insights to make sure employers don’t miss anything important. The insights are broken down in one professionally produced document and help promote easy listening. The insights also lead to actionable change which can improve a companies bottom line, productivity, and employee wellbeing.
Failing to view employees as people
Unfortunately, some managers look at their employees and just see the numbers. If you’re getting caught up in a big project, or have tight deadlines to meet, it’s an easy mistake to make. Though, no matter the circumstance, it’s important to always hold empathy. Understand that employees aren’t machines. They have their own lives, pressures, and responsibilities in and outside of work. They’re also prone to mistakes, as everyone is. If an employee makes a mistake it’s always best to try and transform it into a learning experience. That way, the employee can grow and develop without feeling that their workspace is a hostile or uncomfortable environment.
A lack of empathy in the long run will ultimately lead to employees feeling burnt out. Their wellbeing will steeply drop and as a result so will their loyalty and productivity. Unempathetic management is a major potential factor in high turnover, burn out, and poor company culture.
Being too ‘buddy buddy’
On the other side of the coin, we have the situation where you are too friendly. Sometimes it happens that one of the employees we manage is just great. You like the same TV shows, movies, restaurants, and there’s always a lot to talk about. In these situations, it’s important to retain a professional relationship and dynamic. Becoming too close with employees can cause issues with leadership and respect. The friendship might seem fine at first, but overtime you may find it harder to delegate tasks. Additionally, your employee can stop taking you seriously, and blowing off responsibilities. It will become increasingly difficult to hold that employee to a high standard of work and hold them accountable when it matters. Not only will this type of conflict affect your work life, but it will affect the friendship you tried to form as well. A lose-lose situation.
When it comes to the mistakes managers make, this is one of the biggest. Leadership is an integral part of managing a team. It’s what motivates and drives employees to perform well. When leadership is poor it can lead to disorientation, confusion, and heightened levels of stress. In a recent CiVS insight, we discussed what to do if you feel that leadership is lacking. Covering everything from changing up the leadership style through to attending workshops and emotional coaching.