Managing People; The World Changes But Some Things Never Do

5 common management mistakes; Do you have others to add to the list?

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Social media, home offices, flexible working hours,  corporate downsizing,  restructures,  regulatory scrutiny, litigation… the list of changes in the modern workplace goes on and on. No matter whether you’re running your own SME, or working as part of a large corporation, you will have been impacted by many of these in recent times.

It means that people managers need to be more readily adaptable than ever before. Management “self-help” and coaching is big business – one that we unashamedly and passionately enjoy.  It is fair to say, however, that a lot of this focuses on what to do to improve your people management outputs. We thought we would look at the ‘don’ts’ as no matter how many changes happen in the broader work environment – some things remain the same:

Mistake 1: Managing by title only

Ever worked for someone who you can honestly say – I have no idea what they do every day? Often, the answer is very little! Or at least very little that actually supports their team. Ensure you spend time allowing your team to understand your role and what means to them and how it fits in the bigger picture. Your team NEED a manager to support, coach and lead them. Management is a HANDS on job (not literally!), not a title. We are amazed at the number of new and experienced managers that have never actually seen their team members perform the task they are paid for.

Mistake 2: Failing to understand your team

Each person is different. Each person reacts and responds to different drivers and motivations. You MUST spend time getting to know your team, in the workplace, in the field, or even if appropriate in business based social settings. KPIs, metrics and minimum working standards drive key deliverables – but you should be driving how well they are delivered based on the person you are working with.

Mistake 3: No clear direction or clarity

Simple – but so often poorly done. Be clear on what you want your team to deliver AND HOW you expect it to be delivered. This means both you and they have a clear set of goals you can use to both reward accomplishments and success, but also manage poor performance. Once these performance goals and ways of working are in place, you then need to be the one to demonstrate and hold people accountable to them. Don’t tell them to do, or not to do something, then allow it to happen or not happen the very next day.  This creates grey areas in which no one wins – least of all you!

Mistake 4: Crossing the line between manager, colleague and “friend”

As soon as you do this, you are heading down a very challenging path. You should always remember your role is to manage outputs and performance, not be someone’s friend and pal. Whilst you can and we believe, should create a healthy, happy and “friendly” working relationship, you need to remember at all times that you may need to manage the performance of any individual.

Mistake 5: Failing to trust your team

This results inevitably, in micro-management. If you have clearly addresses point 2 and 3, then you need to trust your team to deliver with your support and ongoing coaching and feedback. Trust them to deliver. If you realize this trust is misplaced, act quickly to manage that performance.

There are a number of others we see all the time and indeed, have made ourselves! No-one can every claim to be the perfect people manager. That beast is as real as the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot….

Which mistakes would you add to our list?

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