Coming to a leading position may sound like a career dream coming true. But a closer look at a whole load of responsibilities reminds me of how much hard work is required to be a good manager.
If you’re already on this journey, it’d be useful to know what kinds of mistakes you’d prefer to avoid so you stay on track towards your professional goals.
1. Forget to embrace manager’s toolset
Most employees at least once think that they would do something differently if they become managers. But when this happens, it’s easy to choose the beaten track and stick with old approaches.
Leadership requires the widest angle of looking at the business processes, whereas employees concentrate on more hands-on targets. Your mixing of these approaches may stagnate your transition into a new role and will eventually influence the overall performance of your team. Check our advice on key steps for successful project management for some inspiration.
2. Recruitment done wrong
Research shows that two out of three hires are wrong and that comes costly to your company. Finding the best candidate for a position in your team is a real challenge. It is a popular mistake to put all your stakes just on one part of a personality, hiring either “a nice guy/girl” or a high-profile expert lacking people skills. Perfect people don’t exist but choosing either expertise or soft skills is a sure way to waste time on correcting avoidable mistakes or fixing conflicts among coworkers.
3. Not trusting your team
Micromanagement is probably the most efficient motivation killer. If you trust your team with a task, show them your respect and support by restraining them from intervening on every occasion.
Imagine, for example, a successful copywriting agency hiring talented level A writers just so their boss interrupts the productive workflow checking upon them constantly. It would come as no surprise if employees in such a scenario would soon search for more creative freedom elsewhere.
4. Setting unclear goals and expectations
Just doing a good job wouldn’t bring your company to the top tiers. Every employee should share the vision of your enterprise and understand their role in achieving this grand ambition. Diminishing staff’s role to menial tasks without bigger “why” could lead to burn-out and other mental health issues.
5. Promoting independence without accountability
Providing enough autonomy to your employees nurture their creativity and motivation. However, your primary responsibility is before your company and its growth. Therefore, it’s crucial to put in place understandable operational frameworks with proportionate quality control.
Great power entails great responsibility, as they say. Your team will strive to have both plenty of freedom and a clear understanding of its boundaries.
6. Forget about growth
It is rather a no-brainer to assign specific tasks to an employee with a record of great performance on such assignments. However, do this too often or without alternations and you’re risking narrowing their perspectives and limiting access to challenges. Aiming at reachable but more demanding goals is how we, people, evolve. Entrust your excelling team members with more complex responsibilities providing the necessary support and you’ll get a constantly motivated never bored team with a diverse skillset.
7. Confusing amicability and friendship
Playing a friend for your subordinates could feel nice for a while but would become a liability sooner than you’d like. Why make the tedious enough criticizing or sanctioning employees harder by applying them to your “friends” or fearing to lose your lovable appeal. Transparency in professional relationships is what your image as a leader should be built upon.
Your employees may feel confused and suspect unequal treatment or playing favorites in case of a conflict. Being polite and generally nice would be sufficient to become a manager of the month in the eyes of your team.
8. Missing on learning and development
Fire safety and first aid training are important but never enough if you want your team to evolve and feel valued. Don’t miss an opportunity to turn a newcomer into a loyal team member by providing efficient and practical onboarding, and later training enriching their skills and knowledge. This would come cheaper than losing a valuable staff member and going through the whole hiring process from scratch.
9. Deciding promotion means less work
Rookie mistake of someone climbing a career ladder is to expect more benefits and fewer efforts. Though in most cases higher position would require even more of your time and skills. Not only should you contribute a lot in your new capacity, but there are also numerous things to learn to stay in shape. For instance, elite sports, top essay writing, skillful craftsmanship would cease to exist, if professionals stopped perfecting their artistry after every major achievement.
10. Failing to make time to listen
You’ve got your position with your expertise and knowledge of the industry. But there is no better time than now to meet with your clients, partners, and the course team. Get them talking and listen to all the concerns and suggestions. You might get valuable inputs, though the mere gesture would already present your open mind and approachability.
11. Ignoring office squabbles
A simple rule of thumb – when you find out about a minor disagreement among the team or with a client, deal with it or urge the parties to fix it themselves. Any dormant issue will one day turn into a huge conflict disrupting business and tainting your image as a manager.