5 common mistakes managers make in managing staff

We all would have encountered an array of managers in our time as employees. Whether it was starting out as a check out person in our teens before beginning a professional career, jumping on board with an innovative startup or working our way up the corporate ladder, we can all recount specific attributes of our managers that have stuck with us over time. More often than not, the negative experiences we have had with management tend to stick the most and we think to ourselves if our managers had done a few simple things, the workplace would have been so much more enjoyable.

One of the fundamental issues here is that managers themselves typically receive minimal training in how to manage their people. A lot of the time managers end up in the role because they were high performers in the job they had before being promoted and once there, they’re often left to figure out for themselves what good management looks like.

We are all human so of course we make mistakes, but because of the nature of a manager’s role, their mistakes tend to be high impact and felt throughout the organisation. Managers are the front line representation of a business, it is beyond important that these individuals are equipped with the right tools and attitudes in order to successfully manage their staff. Let’s take a look at the 5 most common mistakes managers make when it comes to managing staff.

1.    Failing to provide feedback

Studies have shown that universally, failing to provide constructive feedback is the most common mistake managers make. This can be detrimental to a business’s performance as one of the most influential tools that managers have for getting results from their team members is to provide feedback to them.

There are two further issues here, for feedback to be beneficial it must be delivered to people directly and promptly. Due to a lack of confidence or fear or reprisal, some managers tend to sugarcoat feedback which can result in employees completely missing the point and the employee isn’t left with anything useful that they can act upon. Moreover, managers sometimes wait to provide feedback until an employee’s performance review. This is incredibly dangerous because by the time that review rolls around, the team member could have caused brand reputation issues or affected relationships with clients. When managers fail to provide direct and timely feedback, they are depriving employees of the opportunity to improve their performance. Not to mention that there should never be any bad surprises in reviews!

2.    Misunderstanding motivation

Our society has moved leaps and bounds away from working only in order to put food on the table for our families. We choose to work because it forms a part of our identity, because it allows us to build relationships and because it gives us a sense of personal pride and value. Even in the contemporary organisations of the 21st century, managers can forget that not everyone is primarily motivated by money. While monetary gain will naturally form part of what motivates them to work, it’s unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them. Managers must learn what the underlying values for each person are because at the end of the day, your team is made up of people who each make a contribution to your company’s success or failure.

  1. Rushing through recruitment

We touched on rushing the HR recruitment process in one our previous posts about how to recruit the right candidate the first time. Essentially, managers are often under time pressures and need to fill a vacancy as soon as possible. But hiring an employee too quickly can be a mistake. Hurrying recruitment can lead to hiring the wrong people for your team and your organisation: people who are uncooperative, ineffective or unproductive or people whose values system is not aligned to the company. With the wrong person you will have wasted valuable time and resources if things don’t work out. What’s worse, an ineffective employee may damage the moral of the existing team.

  1. Not setting clear expectations

A fundamental responsibility of managers is to communicate clear, concrete goals so that team members know exactly what is expected of them in their job roles. If employees’ job responsibilities are not carefully spelled out, poor performing employees will find endless excuses to do a bad job, while recognising high performing employees will be almost impossible as no one’s job responsibilities are really defined. Making sure that you are manage based on culture and technical skills is essential!

  1. Acting like something is a suggestion when it’s a directive

Consider the difference between the two following phrases: “Please show me a draft of the proposal before it’s sent to the client” and “Feel free to show me the proposal before you send it out”. This style of communication is often favored by managers who have a slight uncomfortability with their own level of authority. They will present expectations as suggestions rather than directives. To no one’s surprise, this style of communication tends to leave both parties frustrated. Employees end up confused about the manager’s expectations and the manager ends up wondering why their “suggestions” weren’t acted upon.

While we have highlighted the top 5 most common mistakes that managers make in managing their people. We cannot forget that the relationship is a two way street. If you are an employee and your manager has been vague with the feedback they have provided or unclear about what your role responsibilities are, be proactive and ask them. While you may feel uncomfortable about doing this it will benefit the company’s overall goals as well as your own career objectives.

Want to get the most out of your HR investment and see results? At Coaching Combinations we work with your people; they know us and we are part of your team. To find out more about outsourcing your HR processes with a HR consultant based in Perth, contact us on 04121 55 567 or send us an email.

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