Professionals move into management positions for a variety of reasons. Management might seem like the next logical career step, or new managers are excited by the prospect of motivating others to succeed. While they may start with the best intentions, it’s important to note that more than half of new managers fail. If you have accepted a management position or there is one in your future, there are common missteps to avoid.
- Thinking Like an Individual Contributor
As a manager, your primary responsibilities are helping your supervisor achieve their goals and guiding your subordinates to success in their positions. While you may be confident that you can complete tasks faster or better on your own, that’s not your job. Focus on delegating, setting expectations, and coaching; that’s how you build strong teams, develop successful careers, and achieve company goals.
- One Size Fits All Management
Treating every employee fairly and equally doesn’t mean treating them all the same. Listen, engage, and learn to find out what your team members need from you to be successful. One employee may want you to provide clear expectations and leave them alone to accomplish their tasks. Another may prefer to check in regularly to ask questions and get feedback. Some employees flourish working in a bustling environment as part of a team; others may prefer working alone and undisturbed where they can focus.
- Ordering Instead of Communicating
The days of managers barking orders and expecting results are behind us – at least for managers focused on long-term success. Aim instead on servant leadership – what you can do for your team and working together toward a common goal. Communicate clearly regarding expectations, context – where their job fits into organizational objectives and what timelines or deadlines are involved. Solicit feedback and questions to ensure they understand what you want from them.
- Failing to Provide Ongoing Feedback
If you wait until the annual review to tell an employee how they are doing, it’s too late. Keeping people on track requires continual course correction and encouragement. Some managers assume their employees know “no news is good news.” If you don’t say anything, everything is fine. Others sigh with exasperation at an underperforming employee without taking measures to help them do better.
As a manager, you can’t avoid discussing issues if you want your team to improve. When a problem occurs, address it immediately in private. Focus on the facts, give the employee a chance to speak, and then work together to find a solution. Taking quick action gets people on track faster so that you can work toward common goals.
- Being Afraid to Ask for Help
It’s not a show of weakness to reach out if you are stumped by an issue or struggling in general. If you need to go to your manager with a problem, it’s important to be specific about what you need. (are you escalating the issue, do you need additional training, are you asking for advice?)
It’s also essential to cultivate a network of colleagues you can turn to when you need to discuss issues informally. If they have more experience than you, chances are they’ve already been through what you’re experiencing and can offer you some advice. If you’re struggling, don’t power through it. Instead, reach out to your team, colleagues, or boss and ask for assistance. You can get the support and guidance you need, ensuring you can be at your best.
The mistakes discussed here can be detrimental to your success as a manager. It’s wise to reflect on your habits to find areas for potential improvement. The team at A.R. Mazzotta can help if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to be an amazing manager. Contact us today and see how our leadership expertise can benefit you.