Common Mistakes Managers Make
Common Mistake 1: Say one thing and then do another (i.e., do not ‘walk the talk’). The art of management is all about being a role model to the workforce. There is nothing more frustrating from an employees’ perspective when their manager says one thing and then does another. When we are told certain things the assumption is that what is being said is held as a company policy. Terrible things happen when we assume you make an ASS out of U and ME (ass/u/me). During the crisis, for example, how many times have we heard that we have to be extremely cautious with money and expenses, even cutting back salaries as a way to improve bottom line results? Yet, many organizations continue to invest and spend money; as relevant or critical for the business it might be, many times employees are not communicated the “why” of such spends and are left with a bad feeling of being lied to.
Common Mistake 2: Not providing feedback. Managers have a tendency to underplay or completely negate feedback related to positive employee moves and overplay negative feedback. Many times the ‘logic’ behind this is that when things are going well, employees are simply doing their job and when things are going poorly they need to be told; there is also the fear that employees will ask for rewards if they keep getting positive feedback. There is a saying that “you can catch more bees with honey than with vinegar”; given these days that monetary rewards are few and far between, positive feedback, verbal recognition or one’s efforts are a great way of continuing to let our workforce know that they are working in a way that meets or exceeds our expectations. Managers need to remember that employees do not simply work for monetary rewards and a more holistic approach needs to be applied.
Common Mistake 3: Too much managing, not enough leading. The basics of management are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Many managers spend too much time managing, arguably micro-managing the functions of employees. We have found that managers in this region are generally good at the technical aspects of management but have a long way to improve their ‘soft’ managerial skills (e.g., communication) of which leadership is a key component. Managing is more about maintain the status quo while leadership is more related to supporting people and promoting changes in behaviour inspiring innovative and creative thinking. Employees want to be inspired and know that they are not being observed. Many employees wish to be given direction by their managers and then given the feeling of security that they are trusted and that their manager is there to lead and guide as required. This is a philosophical shift that is difficult to engrain in organizational cultures.