Being a manager is no walk in the park.
You need to somehow maintain a balance, where your employees like and trust you, but where they don’t feel so overly comfortable that they feel like they can take advantage.
If you’re just starting out on your managerial journey, there are a few common mistakes you need to avoid.
This week, we’re revealing 7 of the most common ones.
1) Micromanaging your team.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines micromanagement as “excessive control or attention to details” and it is by far the most common mistake new (and a fair few experienced) managers make.
Well-intentioned, yet inexperienced managers easily fall into this kind of behavior because they’re so anxious about doing a good job and making a good impression that they end up trying to do everything themselves.
But leadership isn’t about having total control over every little minute detail; it’s about inspiring, guiding and supervising the team, in order to get the job done, well.
And having a manager watch and criticise your every move is incredibly off-putting and makes employees feel undervalued, frustrated and like you don’t trust them.
That will lead to disengagement.
And to be honest, it’s often completely unwarranted.
If you’re a good manager and you’ve hired good people, then they will be more than capable of getting things done, without you lurking over them.
Micromanagement is a form of mismanagement.
You need to:
- Trust your employees.
- Let go of that doubt and fear.
- Reward and recognise them for their hard work.
Check out this blog – Stop micromanaging: 5 tips to be a better leader – to find out more!
If you genuinely have an incompetent workforce, then micromanagement isn’t going to solve that issue; but further training or even hiring new people, might.
2) Going on a power trip.
Some new managers can get a little bit overexcited with their new-found responsibility and authority.
And this “overexcitement” can lead to a variety of untoward and unproductive behaviours, including:
- (“It’s my way or the highway.”)
- (“I’m the boss; why should I do that?”)
- (“Who is going to stop me?”)
Essentially, they tend to think they’re better than other people – and that they’re untouchable (which just isn’t true)!
As you can imagine, they are not well-liked – which is issue number one. No one’s going to feel motivated and inspired by someone they don’t like or trust.
Issue number 2 is that they’re often not willing to bend or take into consideration other people’s opinions. But that’s just silly. Your employees are in the thick of it, day-in, day-out. They’re likely to have some great ideas, suggestions and real value to add to any discussion.
Issue number 3 is obviously the moral and legal obligations that managers have to employees. Abuse should never be tolerated in any kind of working environment and you will (eventually) get caught out.
3) Being over-friendly.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as being too friendly with your team.
While your intention of creating a friendly atmosphere is admirable, it is important to understand that some employees might take advantage of the situation if you don’t also show some kind of authority.
A manager should always establish their authority, even in the friendliest working environment.
You can do that by:
- Being (or at least acting) confident. Don’t second-guess yourself and don’t constantly ask your employees whether you’re on the right track.
- Managing your emotions. Getting emotional shows a lack of control, confidence and authority; some employees will jump on those insecurities.
- Saying what needs to be said. Don’t shy away from confrontation, but do remain professional and offer constructive criticism and feedback.
And above all else, stop worrying about being liked.
If you have a tough decision to make, make it.
All in all, a great manager should be approachable and open to dialogue, yet maintain his or her professionalism and authority.
Check out this blog post for more advice on this: How to Balance1 Between Being a Buddy and a Boss
4) Copying others.
Many new managers, especially those who are fresh out of education still idolise their “business heroes” and attempt to copy their management styles.
You can imagine how many people try to live up to Richard Branson’s leadership style.
But just because a certain style worked for one person, doesn’t mean it will definitely work for you.
You need to get to know a business, a role and a company before committing to one management technique that will genuinely work for them.
Don’t copy-cat others and assume it’ll work out.
5) Setting unrealistic goals.
As we said earlier, a lot of managers are keen to make a great impression – which is great.
But unfortunately, this can lead to a tendency to:
- Pointless activity. Some new managers attempt to implement a million and one new strategies and ideas in the first few months, so that they look busy and effective; some of which are pointless.
- Set unrealistic goals for employees. If you start trying to do too much at once, your employees will find it difficult to get anything done.
It is really important to evaluate every project, think clearly about whether it’s valuable and doable and then include these into a reasonable long-term strategy.
Really think about it; is that task necessary right now? Can it wait? Are there bigger fish to fry?
For some advice on how to set smarter goals, check out this blog: SMART Goals: 5 Tips For Motivating Employees.
It is really important to gain feedback and advice from your employees, before making any major decisions – as we said earlier; they’ll have a lot of value to offer you in terms of the bigger picture.
However, it is really important not to lean on them too much, delegating decisions that you should be making and showing any signs of insecurity in your own abilities.
Understandably, many new managers are afraid to put themselves out there, but either way, those decisions will come back to YOU, so it’s important to be able to make them yourself.
Your team won’t trust you if you don’t trust yourself.
Delegating can be difficult for a new manager – this blog should help though!
7) Changing too much, too soon.
You may well have some fantastic and innovative new ideas but before jumping in feet first, it’s dead important to understand your new role and the way things work at that company.
(If you’ve been working there for a while, you’ll have a head-start).
It is also important to give employees the chance to gradually adapt to the new work frame and to the new management style.
People often struggle with change, especially when things have been the same way for a long time.
If you change everything at once, things will just get confusing and you’ll annoy your employees (would you like it if someone walked in and thought they knew everything?!)
So, there you have it; 7 of the most common mistakes new managers make time and time again.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of these behaviours before (no doubt in experienced managers, as well as new ones…) but hopefully you haven’t been guilty of any of them!
Recruiter Pro Tip
The most important thing to remember is that you are not infallible and that when you start any new job, you have to get to know the situation before making any major changes.
If you try to change things too fast, then you’re likely to…
- Annoy your new team. Would you want someone barging in, thinking they know everything about everything, but not actually attempting to find out?!
- Get things wrong. Can you really know what’s best for the business, without knowing what works (and doesn’t) work now?