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The 5 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make

Let’s be honest – managing and maintaining a busy and successful team isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it can be incredibly challenging. But it’s also fantastically motivational, stimulating and fun. And every manager, no matter how new or experienced, will make some mistakes when in this environment. It’s only natural. But rather than wallow in those mistakes and let them ruin your confidence, you should take the opportunity to learn from them and improve for the future.

Colette Johnson

Let’s be honest – managing and maintaining a busy and successful team isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it can be incredibly challenging. But it’s also fantastically motivational, stimulating and fun. And every manager, no matter how new or experienced, will make some mistakes when in this environment. It’s only natural. But rather than wallow in those mistakes and let them ruin your confidence, you should take the opportunity to learn from them and improve for the future. To help you along the way, we’ve gathered the five most common mistakes managers tend to make – otherwise known as ‘things you wish you’d known in the first place!’

Failing To Check References And Qualifications 

One of the most common mistakes managers, even seasoned ones, make is to take job candidates at their word. Even if their gut instinct says something is wrong. They might be pushed to find someone to fit the role, or just want an easy hire and the person has the right qualifications on paper, so ignoring these checks seems OK. But you should make it part of your process to check our every reference given, verbally where possible, and if needed ask for proof of the qualifications claimed. This simple step can save you a lot of headaches down the road when your new recruit turns out to be under qualified. If you need a quick reference check form, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide you with one. 

Training Only When Performance Is Bad 

All too often training is used as a corrective measure, rather than a motivational tool for employee development. But regular training and coaching can safeguard your company against errors, customer complaints and breaches, all while increasing motivation and confidence in your employees. Things like regular product and systems training will keep skills updated and fresh, while personal development training improves morale, teamwork and general customer service.

 Telling, Rather Than Selling 

Managers are very busy people. So it’s understandable that it’s much easier to just tell the team what you want them to do, instead of engaging them in the process and getting them to do it themselves. But a team that relies on constantly being told what to do is dangerous. They end up with no initiative, not motivation and no creativity, and will often fall down when the manager is off sick for a long period or goes on holiday. So the key here is to tell, not sell. Consult your team and involve them in the decisions that will affect them. Ask them what they think, what they know and what they want. Explain the bigger picture and let them see how they fit into that. This will make change and performance improve dramatically as people buy into the process they have been part of creating.

 Hiring People Who Don’t Fit With The Company Culture 

This can be a big and very costly mistake for managers, especially if it is repeated. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit with the company’s values and vision, they won’t stay with the company in the medium or long term. But if you’re struggling for staff, it’s easy to go into ‘panic mode’ and hire people solely based on competency and not fit. But there are a few ways you can avoid this, even if you’re pressed:

  • Hold group interviews that include a brief presentation about your brand, culture, vision and value systems. This is a great way to test attitudes, competence and behaviours through group exercises and tasks.
  • After filtering our group interview candidates, hold one-to-one interviews to drill down further into what makes them tick.
  • Filter out those who don’t ‘fit’ within the company culture, and invite the others back for a final interview. Ask them to prepare a short presentation on how they would support and reinforce your company values in their role.

 Ignoring Poor Performance

Dealing with under-performers can be a daunting task for many managers, and it’s one that is often avoided. This is particularly true if the individual I question hasn’t been taken to task by other managers in the company before. But generally, poor performers don’t suddenly change their behaviours or work quality overnight. It takes time, in depth training and coaching to affect real change, and many managers aren’t prepared, or don’t know how to give it. But if you ignore poor performance until breaking point, it will have a negative impact on both the team and your business. So try to find out the reasons for poor performance early, and give coaching and attention to support the individual. Set clear and measurable objectives for improvement and review their progress regularly. Finally, if all else fails, you may need to go down the disciplinary route and begin the process of managing them out of the business.

At Learning Curve, we speak with managers and leaders every day who have made these mistakes, and want to understand how to avoid them in the future. We also work with brand new managers, who want to start their management career off on the right foot. With our training and coaching support, you can be sure that these common mistakes won’t affect your business in the future. If you would like us to train your managers or leaders, just get in touch with us today.