Many are thrust into their first management position with great fanfare, but without any idea of how to be effective. From family businesses to major corporations, there's an epidemic of manager's who, instead of enhancing results, leave their team members miserable and disengaged.
Effectiveness starts with an awareness of the most common and damaging problems.
Almost everyone assumes that they understand how they affect others, but that's rarely the case. Create an environment where it's safe for your team to express themselves then open your ears and mind. You'll gain a clearer picture over time.
Hiding from missteps
Being just as human as everyone else, you'll make at least as many mistakes. Become a leader by modeling a healthy attitude towards failure: acknowledge, emphasize what you learned and move on.
Trying to be the best at everything
Many new managers are promoted because they're the best at what they do, e.g. the best salesperson or the best software developer. However, running ahead of the pack and leading a team are completely different endeavors.
With additional responsibilities remaining the "best" is unsustainable. Help others learn how to fill the void and let them take over as the "best".
Not knowing when to do nothing
Good managers know what to do. Great managers additionally know when to do nothing.
Believing that your job is about control
There's a dangerous and outdated archetype that often springs into action when any form of the word "manager" appears on an office door's nameplate. It's that industrial age remnant "command and control" and has no place in the modern workplace. Learn to be a leader, not a commander.
Not checking the facts
There's one in every group; someone who'll attempt to use a manager's naïveté as a weapon against others. With feigned innocence they'll pass on information about co-workers with one end in mind - eliminating the competition.
No matter how compelling the story (they always are) don't form an opinion until you've heard directly from the person being targeted.
Focusing only on what's wrong
Business school fixates our attention on finding and fixing problems. But leadership is about people, not problems. Recognize good regularly and wherever you find it.
Don't praise by numbers, i.e., downplay advice that urges you to use some fixed ratio of praise to correction. It's inauthentic.
Failing to regularly review your communications
Research shows that it's not only what you say and how you say it, but how often you say it and that you use multiple media to reinforce the message. Spend a few minutes each day insuring that your two or three most important initiatives are being appropriately reflected in your communications.
Allowing your actions to eclipse your message
Even manager's who've followed good communication practices may still find themselves perplexed that their message still isn't getting through. Clichéd as it may be, the old saw "Your actions speak so loudly that people can't hear what you say" is true.
Tell your staff that an initiative is important and don't follow-up. They'll listen to your actions, not your words.
Failing to provide your team with insight
"Because I said so" might work with four year olds, but it's a terrible way to manage (and raise children). Be prepared to help your team gain insight into the "why" or to learn that your "why" is no longer valid. In the latter case, make the appropriate change and be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Taking credit for everything
Credit where credit is due, no exceptions. Any deviation, willfully or though lack of due diligence, destroys morale and relationships.
Complaining about a team member to everyone but the team member
Venting to others is a dangerous trap built on conflict avoidance. It's disrespectful to the person with whom you have an issue, delays resolution of the problem and leaves an impression with those to whom you speak that you'll do the same thing to them. Put this on your "never do this" list.
What other management mistakes are common?