10 Mistakes new managers make

If you’re a first-time manager, it’s likely that you’re nervous. You are now responsible for a team, and you want to do the best job you can. You also know that there’s common pitfalls…you probably want to avoid them.

You’ve found the right post. We’re going to discuss common mistakes that new managers make, and how you can avoid them. Let’s jump right in.

1. Not Documenting Performance

Is any employee doing a great job or is their performance subpar? Either way, document everything, especially tough conversations you may have. For example, if an employee is underperforming, and you meet and discuss the situation with them, send them a follow-up email to summarize the conversation.

Likewise, do this high-performing employees too. The point is that both sides should have a record of truth that both sides agree on and can reference in future discussions.

2. Waiting until it’s too late

Imagine being a coach, and watching them practice for weeks. You say nothing, but after one month of practicing, you say “you need to improve your passing.”

This is what many managers do – they don’t address small issues quickly. There’s a major benefit to addresses issues when they are small, it requires less effort and is much less awkward. Contrast that with small issues that become huge issues over time. Fix the leak before it sinks the boat!

P.S – we can help you surface the positive (and not so positive feedback) from employees.

3. Blurring Priorities

Great managers have a laser-like focus. They understand how to keep things simple. They know if they create a plethora of key performance indicators, the confusion will prevent employees from focusing on what really matters. It’s easy to fudge a number. What’s much tougher is to hone in.

For additional reading, check out The One Thing. It’s a fantastic book on the importance of focus.

Takeaway: Pick a priority, and obsess about it.

4. Piling on work

As a new manager, you may be tempted to be everyone’s hero. It makes sense, you want to prove yourself to the other members of management. What can end up happening is that you take on too much work, and it starts to stress the team out. Avoid this – listen to your employees about what’s stressing them out. Take a bullet for the team by saying ‘not right now.’

5. Meeting too often

This next scenario reminds me of a helicopter parent. You want what’s best, but you can’t leave the person alone. Don’t be the boss who feels the need to check-in every five minutes. Let employees work, and make it known that you are available if needed. By backing off, you’re communicating that you trust that your employees will actually get the job done.

6. Not providing career development opportunities

A major reason why employees leave is because they don’t feel like there’s opportunities to grow. Now, that may mean working into management, but more often than that, it’s a lack of learning.

Many employees hate to be stagnant, so see what you can do to help them advance their career. Offer to send them to a conference, training…you get the point.

7. Taking too much credit

As an employee, your job is to make your boss look good. As a manager, your job is to make your team look good. Don’t take too much credit, instead verbally recognize the achievements of others. It will mean a lot, and will strengthen your bond with employees. But don’t feign it – make sure to be sincere with your praise.

8. Doing all the work

Being a great manager is about effective delegation. Your job is to organize resources to do work, not do all the work yourself. The beauty of management is that when done right, it can be an incredible productivity boost. An aligned workforce can accomplish much more than you can.

9. Building a team of like-minded people

Diversity is extremely important when building a team. This can apply to race/color/gender, but also how people think and see the world. If managed properly, this melting pot can spark great ideas. If someone is driven and motivated, find who can play a great supporting role. If someone is outgoing and forgets things easily, pair them with someone who is more organized. Great outcomes are a result of the balancing act that happens with diversity.

10. Not checking-in with employees

If you’re a coach and only talk to employees before and after the game, how effective do you think you’ll be?

To be a great manager, you need to have open and direct lines of communication. Use pulse surveys to see how the team is feeling on a consistent-basis. Take their feedback, and improve.

Create systems for collecting this feedback. It could be a survey tool, one on one meeting, or something else. When work gets busy, these can be the first things to go. Don’t fall into this trap. This is some of the most important time you’ll spend all week.

In conclusion, being a new manager can be tough, but you’re not the only one. Find other managers to talk to – meet up with them for breakfast/coffee and help each other through the issues. It will speed up the transition to being a new manager. Enjoy!

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