5 Major Management Mistakes You Must Avoid

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Major management mistakes to avoid.

One of the hardest things for me in running a business is people management.

When you deal with people, you are also dealing with their health, emotions, opinions, personalities, relationships, intelligence and whatever turmoil they happen to be going through. Their drama becomes your and your business’ drama.

This isn’t always the case of course. You do get some amazing team members who can just come to work, get the job done and not let their personal lives get in the way. Unfortunately, these employees are few and far between (and becoming rarer by the minute).

It seems that management styles and techniques are constantly changing. What was taken for granted as the best management method a decade ago might now be considered a total failure. Not only that, but you have to consider that management methods for one field or industry are completely inappropriate for another.

That said, no matter what your personal method may be or what trends you may see in management techniques, there are a few universal (and common) management mistakes you must avoid.

1.    Failing to Get to Know Your Employees

One of my first jobs was as a checkout assistant at Woolworths. I worked there for about 6 months before the store manager remembered my name…even though I was wearing a name badge.

Depending on what sort of a workplace you’d like to build for your employees, you may prefer this strategy. It works for big chains like Woolworths, Walmart, MacDonalds, and so on (but do take note of their high staff turnover). In large workplaces, your employee probably won’t be expecting too much interaction with you directly. However, if you are running a small business with only a handful of staff on your team, then this strategy can be detrimental to your business.

In a small, intimate workplace, more personable communication is expected. Your employees need to know they are valued in order to feel motivated. Unfortunately, in this day and age, majority of workers are not able to separate their work lives from their private lives, and many of them will bring their problems to work. If you want an honest workplace with hard working employees, then you need to give them an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you with problems and for advice. You can foster this comfort and trust by taking a sincere interest in them as people. You don’t want to ensconce yourself in their personal lives, but it’s good to know not just their names but also a little bit about their family lives and hobbies.

If you fail to get to know your employees, they’ll have no way of getting to know you. You’ll seem unapproachable and uninterested in human concerns. It’s easy for your employees to think that you only care about them in as far as they can do something for you, as if they are cogs in a machine.

Taking a human interest in your employees improves morale and helps you handle work problems that arise due to personal issues, the need for time off with family, etc.

2.    Getting Too Friendly With Your Employees

On the other hand, a lot of managers want to be “the cool boss” and they get too friendly with their staff. In an all professional world, you are not your employees’ friend. You can and should be friendly to them, but you should keep some distance and maintain a professional demeanour.

However, this can be hard for some people. Me included. I like being friends with my employees. I like to know what’s happening in their lives, what they had for lunch, what they did with their other half for their anniversaries. I care about their wellbeing.

But I do understand the downside of this, and have experienced it many times!

As a manager, you’re going to have to make some very difficult decisions and have some tough conversations. The most personable, fun employee in the office may also be the least productive. Sometimes you have to reprimand or even fire people whom you actually like quite a bit on a social level. Being too close to them only makes your job tougher, and unfortunately, your employees may not understand the line between your friendship and your authority, and be able to separate the two.

Even if everything is going swimmingly, and you don’t have to fire anyone, it can look a lot like favoritism if you’re getting too friendly with one or more of your employees. Whether or not you actually show any favoritism, it’s easy for perceptions to skew that way, and it’s just better to avoid getting too close to the people who work for you.


3.    Failing to Delegate and Micro-Managing

This one is especially common with those who have always ran their businesses on their own. It’s one thing to be your own boss, but it’s quite another to be someone else’s.

Your job, as someone else’s boss, is to lead your team, delegate tasks, and then step back and let your people do their jobs. You should be overseeing the processes and results of the tasks you delegate, not be elbow-deep doing them.

Your business is your baby, I know, and it can be hard to put it in someone else’s hands and trust them to do the right thing. But why did you hire someone to begin with? To take the load off of yourself, right? Because you have better things to do with your time? So that you can grow the business, while they work in it?

So if you don’t let go, even a little, how will that ever happen?

Make sure you have the right systems in place, provide appropriate training and support, then step back and let them work. Only intervene if you see problems on the horizon, but don’t be watching over their shoulder every few minutes, or tweaking everything they do. Just because they do it differently to you, it doesn’t mean they are wrong.

4.    Rushing the Hiring Process

You’ll find it a lot easier to avoid micro-managing if you are patient with the recruiting and hiring process.

As one of our favorite entrepreneurs, Alun Hill, likes to say, “Hire slow, but fire fast”.

Many bosses often feel pressure to rush through the hiring process if new talent is needed. If you succumb to this pressure, you could find yourself hiring mediocre talent, people whom you’ll feel the need to monitor and whom you don’t trust to get the job done right.

Hiring the right talent can do wonders for your business. The right person not only requires very little training and supervision, but they can help your business grow. The wrong person may fill the empty gap, but may take more of your time and resources, and can even be detrimental to your business.

As Alun Hill says, Hire slow but fire fast! Click To Tweet

5.    Failing to Give Feedback

Something I’ve learnt over the past few years is that giving your staff feedback on a regular basis is extremely important.

Feedback is the only way your staff will know if they are doing something right, or wrong. Giving that feedback early is vital to your business, whether it’s good or bad.  If an employee is not performing up to the standards you expect, approaching them early to give constructive feedback will allow them to improve and not make bad behaviors a habit. It will also allow you to see, earlier on, if someone is capable of the improvement required and whether or not they are actually suited to the position.

By the same token, it’s just as important to tell your employees when they’re doing well. Positive feedback promotes better work and motivation. When your employees know they’re on the right track, they’ll feel good about their work and will be more likely to continue in that direction.


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