Top 4 Mistakes Managers Make in Managing People
Managers are the front line representation of your business and must effectively work with a diverse group of people. They must live and breathe your company core values and practices. Unfortunately, many managers lack fundamental training in people skills, which prevents them from being truly successful in running your business.
Here are 4 common mistakes managers make in working with people:
1 – Managers fail to get to know employees as people. Developing a relationship with team members is a key factor in managing. You don't want your managers to be your employees' divorce counselor, therapist or best friend, but they do want to know what's happening in the lives of their employees. Getting to know employees can make a manager more responsive to employee needs, moods, and life cycle events. However, managers should not get too close to their direct reports: this makes it difficult for managers to direct, supervise and discipline fairly without the perception of impropriety or of playing favorites.
2 – Managers fail to treat all employees fairly. It is not necessary to treat every employee the same, but they must feel as if they receive fair treatment. The perception that managers have pet employees or that they play favorites can undermine their efforts to manage the team. This goes hand-in-hand with why befriending reporting employees is a bad idea. This perception of favoring one employee over another destroys teamwork and harms productivity.
3 – Managers fail to provide clear and open communication. Work with your managers to communicate clear expectations to all employees. Ensure that the directions are specific for every task and project. Managers need to achieve an appropriate balance that allows them to lead employees without dictating or destroying employee empowerment and engagement. Managers should ensure open lines of communication in both directions with their subordinates.
4 – Managers fail to take responsibility or give credit. When things go wrong, managers should take responsibility for the entire team. The manager needs to understand where things went wrong within the team and correct the actions as needed. When managers blame others, they look unprofessional and their employees will not respect them. Managers need to understand that nothing breaks trust more than blaming someone else or taking credit for work that isn’t theirs.
Hiring a manager based on technical skills is often the route owners follow, however a manager who is deftly able to handle interactions with people will add immeasurable value to your business. The four points above are basics that even the least “warm and fuzzy” manager should be able to handle, and can have a positive impact on your employee satisfaction, product quality and customer service. This, as we have shown, can lead to greater productivity, lower turnover and an improved bottom line.
Don’t know where to begin? Ask yourself, do you have the proper written procedures and operational guidelines in place so your manager can help you be as profitable as possible? 4Q Consulting can develop customized operational guidelines and training programs to meet your needs. Email us today for a free business consultation!
All original content copyright Noelle E. Ifshin, 2012-2013.