The Most Common Mistakes Managers Make – PART 3

Being a manager is generally a challenging endeavor. Requirements of this role include a variety of competencies that are related to all sorts of skills from strategic and business-leading ones, those related to process and resource management, to social skills and leadership.

The role is even more challenging for the first-time managers, given that they usually find themselves doing a job they weren’t originally hired to do. Being an expert in a particular field and managing a team requires very different skill sets. It’s clear there is a number of pitfalls a manager might fall into. Here first 5 of the most common mistakes managers make are to be found that the research had discovered as the ones that usually make leaders fail:

1. They avoid risks and they are reluctant to make decisions

The risk goes hand in hand with every business. Some risk can be easily avoided or is not difficult to cope with, but very often there are risks in conducting business that are not easy to manage. On these occasions, many managers utilize “play it safe”’ strategies that could, in a short-run, benefit the business in regards to taking reasonable, low-risk decisions, but in a long run they could affect company’s investment and growth.

When it comes to risky situations the biggest challenge is managing emotions – not letting the fear of failure and alleged consequences block sound judgment of the situation. Not every risky situation ends in catastrophe. If this sounds familiar, consider the worst-case scenario when faced with a significant challenge or decision – is it really that terrible? Practice timely decision-making and create a strategy for both positive and negative outcomes. In addition, since you have a keen eye for recognizing potential downfalls, make use of your fear of failure to improve existing processes.

2. They rarely communicate with employees and seem aloof

Managers are the ones facing the biggest responsibility in everyday business. Although it may seem that there is always more important stuff that calls for your attention, always keep in mind that employees are the ones getting the job done. All your plans and hard work you have put do far into planning, meetings, negotiations and strategy development, won’t mean a thing if they lack any motivation to follow you.

Although it’s good that you seem independent and strong to your employees, it is equally important to make yourself available. To start appoint particular time of the day that you would reserve for your employees – answer their questions, provide them with constructive feedback or just socialize with them. Give them an opportunity to get to know you and try to get to know them better yourself. Recognize and acknowledge challenges they experience in their job, and offer your support. Just being present and true listening may go a long way.

3. They rarely admit their mistakes, but ‘charm their way out’ of problems

Resourcefulness and a charm are certainly an asset in the business world and can get you far if used properly. But what happens when you overuse them and trespass some boundaries? What happens if someone holds you accountable?

The main goal in managing this tendency is to accept that generally rules are there for a reason and that they should be respected. Realizing that trust of your employees is not to be taken for granted can be helpful too – they might forgive you a couple of times but it won’t last forever, no matter how charming you are. Try to keep your promises and take responsibility for your actions in order not to lose your credibility.

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4. They are suspicious of other’s intentions and they don’t trust their employees

As a manager, it may serve you well not to put your trust easily into new things, new people, and new ideas. A small dose of skepticism can be welcome in your job and might protect you from different adverse outcomes. But if you are such a type of a manager that questions everything and everyone, these traits are no longer an asset but become a development challenge.

Try to accept the fact that people don’t always have a hidden agenda. Acknowledge that their good intentions and friendly attitude are just that and nothing more. Also, if you take you your time to provide them with feedback, try to name at least three things they do well and elaborate them in the same way you would elaborate on the negatives. Employ your criticism for a good cause – instead of just pointing out flaws, make suggestions on how to rectify them whether those are employees’ flaws or flaws in organizational processes.

5. They are reluctant to act against popular opinion and to stand up for their employees in front of upper management

As it happens, the managers are often in a position of representing their employees’ interests to upper management and even clients or colleagues from other departments. Some of them do this part of their job really well, and encourage an air of trust within their team. Some, on the other hand, struggle to balance protecting their own reputation with doing what is the best for the team. They tend to take the middle ground or just go along with the opinion of the highest person in the hierarchy.

What these managers often forget when under stress is that loyalty and trust go both ways – if you want to have a team that would go an extra mile and that you can count on – don’t leave them hanging when they rely on you. The consequences for your position and reputation will not be that critical as losing your teams’ trust could be.

On the other hand, as a manager, you must develop credibility in your organization, and for that, you need to know how to hold your ground. Conforming is not always the best way – you need to recognize the situations in which confrontation is necessary. Prepare for such situations and practice giving your opinion and defending it in a clear and confident way.

If you would like to learn more about the most common mistakes managers make, read the second part of this article!

Why managers fail
10+1 most common manager mistakes