Every manager has that first day on the job. And no matter how many years of work experience he or she may have, most first-time managers quickly realize they have a lot to take in… We’ve all been there!
As we learn, we are bound to have our issues and difficult situations to handle, it’s perfectly normal. The good news is that we can always learn from our blunders as well as the mistakes of others. Managing other people is not easy, so being aware of the many pitfalls of the job can help give you a head start. We’ve compiled 6 common mistakes new managers tend to make – our goal with this is not to scare you, but rather to inform you that there are many dynamics to being a great boss!
The sooner you learn to recognize and avoid them, the sooner to you crank out fantastic results for your business. Let’s get started!
1. Believe they have all the answers
When you appoint technical experts to leadership positions without the appropriate management skills, they believe that it’s their technical experience which will save them, and they start to believe that either they have, or need to have all the answers. This can lead to team members to feel uninvolved and uncommitted.
2. Too hands off
What a lot of people fail to realize is that with every promotion comes more work not less. When leaders make that mistake, they become hands-off, sitting in their office and leaving everything to their team. As a leader you are heavily involved in defining the goals, setting the vision, inspiring the team and leading the charge. Leadership is not a hands-off paper shuffling job!
3. Too hands-on
Just because you were the expert doesn’t mean you need to be involved in everything. Your job is to lead the team, not necessarily to do the work. Sure, there may be times when you need to step in and get your hands dirty, but that should be the exception, not the rule.
4. Micromanage every task
Quick reminder: micromanagement is a productivity killer. No one wants their boss looking over their shoulder every two minutes asking are we there yet. It shows a lack of trust and that you don’t respect their skills. You need to strike the right balance between giving them enough space to do the job themselves but also checking in to see how they are doing and whether or not they need support.
5. Create distance
One of the worst and most common mistakes that I see with new leaders and managers is when they look to create a distance between themselves and the people that work for them. They take the ‘it’s lonely at the top,’ to be a strategy for good leadership rather than a description of how it can sometimes feel to be a leader. When you create distance, you make it difficult for people to feel engaged, and when teams become disengaged results can suffer.
6. Act like a friend instead of a manager
It’s good to be friendly, but you need to make sure that the friendship you have with your team doesn’t impact your judgment or decision making. If you were previously one of the team, this can be a difficult balance to strike, as there is a good chance that you’re already friends with many of them, especially if you have worked together for a while.
It doesn’t mean you should immediately drop people, but you need to be able to delineate between being a friend and being their boss. People will try and take advantage, but you need to be firm, and look to do what’s right and fair, and definitely, don’t play favorites.
It’s not easy to make the transition from team member to team leader, but as you start on that journey remember that it’s your job to engage, inspire and support your team. They are the people that are going to do the bulk of the work and your job is to put them in a position to be successful, and then help them to be successful.