Being an effective manager requires a more diverse skillset today because the work place has changed so drastically. Workers aren't motivated by “top-down” managers who don’t solicit employee input. Positive motivation and consensus building are more important to employee job satisfaction than ever before. Workers need to feel they’re a part of the whole process and the work force itself has more diversity.
Being a manager, you must communicate, motivate, inspire, manage, direct, and be a master of all of it—this is tall order that managers in previous generations didn’t have to fulfill. One constant in management however is that many of the common mistakes managers make have been around for centuries. Here are the 4 most common management mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
Hiring someone just like you
Most managers have a good sense of what got them there. And when they’re hiring staff members, they often look for people that share the same attributes. The manager and interviewee click, an offer is made and they work happily ever after. Not really. While like mindedness can be important in the work place, as a manager, you need your key people to have different work styles than you.
Let’s say in the DISC Personality Profiles, you score high in motivation and vision (D’s and I’s) but low in detail management (S’s and C’s). You need someone who can manage the details because they will augment your professional weaknesses. You can better divide the management duties of the firm by tapping into different strengths. A strong orchestra isn’t comprised of just violinists. It’s the same with companies. As a manager, don’t hire your “mini-me.” Hire your compliment.
Waiting too long to give feedback
In his renowned text book, “Organizational Behavior,” John Schermerhorn writes about positive reinforcement in the workplace and concludes that “the reward must be given as soon as possible after the desired behavior.” If you wait too long to reward good behavior or correct undesired behavior, your message to your staff about what you expect from them is diluted. Never forget that people need feedback, and most employees want to do a good job. Tell them when they are doing well and when they are not, tell them why and tell them immediately.
Having no succession plan
Whether you’re running your own business or a department, a manager needs a succession plan. Too often managers get caught up in the many demands of day-to-day business and don’t look forward. If your business grows, your duties change or you get a promotion, who will take over for you?
Your continued success is dependent on your successors being capable. Hiring for good bench strength is one thing. But you need to have a specific plan to train your people for their next possible position. GE, Honeywell, Marriott, IBM, Pepsi, Microsoft and P&G are all noted for having strong succession planning as part of their corporate initiatives.
Being too nice
Being a “Y” style manager as defined in Douglas McGregor’s Theory X Theory Y employee motivation theory and being a good consensus builder are key to management success. However, if you have too much personal affection for your team, your approach will sabotage your team’s chances for success. The duties of a project still need to be watched. People need to be held accountable and corrective action needs to be taken at times, even with your best employees.
The “X” management style has its merits in that those people tend to watch the details of their staff’s duties more closely. Being an inspiring manager is good, but it does not relieve you of your duty to hold people accountable.
There is a lot to juggle as an effective manager and the task can be daunting. However, if you keep in mind these and other potential pitfall and look to avoid them, you are on the road to success. In the instances where you make mistakes (and you as well as your staff will make mistakes), learn from them and try not to repeat them. Mistakes are inevitable so forgive others and yourself. A wise business leader once told me “perfection is not of this planet, but excellence is.” Knowing and avoiding these 4 management mistakes will help you to be an excellent manager.