17 OCT, 2014

Four Rookie Manager Mistakes

Young manager

We’ve talked before about signs of bad managers – including how they are often promoted for their skill in performing their jobs and not for their skill in managing others. Below are four common mistakes new managers make once they have officially been given responsibility for others’ productivity:

They rely on management via facetime.

If managers need to see employees at their desks to know if they are doing anything, then they likely do not have a grasp on their team’s objectives and tasks. If they did, it would be pretty clear whether work was getting done or not! Managers should also be in regular enough contact with their teams to be able to tell whether or not they are working or spending all day goofing off. An employee that can’t be trusted to get work done when management’s back is turned should be let go. Creating a babysitting culture will only drive away the good employees that might just need to take a long lunch every once in a while or work from home to wait for the cable guy.

They micromanage.

A friend of mine who works in email marketing expressed frustration to me that her manager edits everything the team writes to death—not to correct bad grammar, but just to make it sound exactly the way she would write it. As a result, that manager has become a bottleneck for time-sensitive marketing emails, and a major source of frustration for her employees. One thing people need to accept as they move up the ladder at work is that they must go from being doers to managers. And not all the new “doers” will do everything the exact same way as their predecessors. (They might even do it better!) As long as they get the job done and done right, let it be.

They make bad decisions out of fear.

Fear for one’s job or image at work can make people do things they know are wrong, like taking credit for an employee’s work. It can also make them stifle creative ideas from their team out of fear that rejection will reflect poorly on them. Even worse, they may be afraid that admitting their team came up with an idea they didn’t think of first might make them look inadequate. Good managers know that they can only look better by helping their star performers to shine and making sure they get recognition for it.

They care too much about being liked.

Of course there is no need to be mean, but if someone is under-performing a good manager should not be too afraid to counsel them for fear of not being liked. In a management position respect is far more important than gaining a new Facebook friend, and in fact, being friends with direct reports outside of work can add some real complications to relationships within the office.

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