Taking on a management role is a huge accomplishment. Suddenly your own responsibilities aren’t the only thing on your plate. Now you are responsible for the actions of your entire team, and how your team performs is a reflection on your work as a leader. With your focus now having to stretch to fit your whole team’s goals, there’s unfortunately much more room for error. Here are four common mistakes to look out for as a team manager.
Forgetting Employees are People Too
Everybody wants to feel valued, so treating people like they are just a cog in a machine is only going to lessen productivity. Added work may make you feel more determined to increase efficiency within your team, but failing to familiarize yourself with your employees will make you come across as cold and uncaring. Who wants to take direction from someone who doesn’t even get their name right?
Managers may also forget at times what truly motivates people. Of course everyone varies slightly on what really makes them productive at work, but generally we are the same. People want to avoid negative consequences, but even more than that – will work harder when encouraged through positive recognition. If you are only focused on criticizing when things go wrong, employees will eventually only associate you with a negative perspective. Encouraging and praising employees for a job well done will give them a sense of purpose at the workplace and cultivate a desire to create good work.
Failing to Deliver Clear Direction
The key to being a great manager is open and clear communication. The better you can lay out clear goals and a direction of how to achieve them, the less clean up time you will be doing in the future. Your employees won’t be able to read your mind, so expecting them to know what you want without saying it clearly and deliberately will become a huge challenge for everyone involved.
Even if you’re implementing plenty of meetings on goal setting and process, it’s still important for employees to know if they are on the right track. Providing quality feedback on job performance is essential for a strong team.
If you were promoted to a management position because of your project management skills, that’s an awesome indicator of an ability to stay organized. However, there are some people who tend to have a need for complete control over a project, and that can lead to micromanagement. Even if you think you’re helping reach perfection, what micromanagement really screams to your team is that you don’t trust them and that you don’t have faith they can do their job without you monitoring every little detail. Remember, the goal is to empower your team to be able to manage their actions with as little supervision as possible.
Letting Issues Resolve Themselves
On the other hand, being too hands off will bring its own challenges. Again, employees need clear direction, and not responding quickly to incorrect behavior or process actions will lead to a more difficult time correcting those later down the road. The more time a bad habit has to develop, the harder it will be to break that habit – especially if more than one employee has been endorsing the wrong process.
No matter what role you’re in there will always be challenges. Mistakes are going to be made, and that’s ok. Mistakes can be your biggest teacher in what to avoid and what to improve upon. The trick is to be mindful of your mistakes and honest with yourself when you do recognize what changes need to be made.
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