Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Restaurant Consulting NYC | Top 4 Mistakes Managers Make in Managing People | 4Q Consulting, LLC

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.


  1. I still find it odd that restaurant chains allow the dishwashers to perform horrible tasks like cleaning out the grease trap by hand, and then laughing at them as they are the lowest staff member on the totem pole.

    The Seven most expensive words in the restaurant business are:

    "We have always done it this way"

    Glenn Martin
    Goslyn Grease Recovery Systems

  2. The key ingredient is leadership and that is what is missing in a majority of establishments. The four points that you made are excellent understood easily by leaders however, managers have difficulty understanding those principals. More focus needs to be on leaders not managers. You lead people and manage things. Still your article is very good
    Patrick Wanzeck

  3. As stated above there is a great difference between managers and leaders. Most companies reward managers and do not understand leaders. The employee is well aare of the difference as they respond to leaders by trying to do the best job they can but while working for a manager they just do as they are told.
    Teaching someone to be a good leader takes time while teaching someone to be a good manager is easier. Managers are task focused while leaders are people focused.