As a new manager, there’s a lot that you need to be thinking about in your day-to-day work. It’s easy to start worrying that you’ll trip up somewhere and cause problems. If you’re looking to start off on the right foot, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the most common mistakes managers and leaders make and how you can avoid them in your new role.
1. Not Making Yourself Available for Your Team
As a manager you have your own workload to deal with, but you have to remember that you’re responsible for your team, too. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many managers get so engrossed in their own work that they don’t make time for their team.
A good way to avoid this pitfall is to block out time in your schedule for your team members. Creating time in your schedule specifically for your team sends the message that you are there for them and they are important to you. Being ready and available to listen to challenges and concerns will help a lot in terms of establishing trust and credibility with your team members.
2. Not Bonding with Your Team
As a leader, you have to be interested in your team on a human level. Good leaders care about their teams, both professionally and personally. Too many managers don’t take the time to get to know the people they’re leading, so it creates a wall between them. That’s the last thing you need when you want your team to thrive.
To avoid this team issue, make sure you get to know your team members. Take the time to understand what makes each person tick so you have a better understanding of how best to lead and motivate them.
3. Not Giving Feedback
Giving appropriate and timely feedback is something that you must be doing as a leader at any level. Your team can only grow and improve if they’re receiving useful feedback about their work. There are lots of new managers out there that don’t do this at all or give feedback that isn’t helpful, which can either frustrate your team members or prevent them from growing as professionals.
Some leaders avoid giving tough feedback because they’re worried about how it will be taken. If you’ve been known to avoid difficult conversations, what you need to remember is that the content of the message is less important than how you deliver it. If you’re giving some less-than-positive feedback, frame it in a way that says to the team member that you know they can improve their performance and that you are there to support them as they make the change. When the conversation is framed in a supportive manner, team members will feel more confident in making any adjustments that are necessary to start improving in their work.
4. Being Hands Off
Some leaders feel that it’s better to take a hands-off approach because they don’t want to interfere too much in their team’s work. While there may be situations where it’s better to simply get out of the team’s way—and it’s certainly true that you don’t want to micromanage—you don’t want to be seen as an absent leader, either. If you’re too hands-off, you’ll find that your team makes mistakes because you didn’t specify what was needed and weren’t there to course-correct when necessary.
The best approach is to find a balance between being too hands-on and too hands-off. Make sure you’re available to your team and that you’re giving them what they need to succeed—and then trust them to do the work that needs to be done.
5. Not Understanding Motivation
Creating the conditions for team-member motivation is one of your primary goals as a manager. Leaders often assume that their team members work solely for a paycheck, but there are many reasons why people come to work every day. You need to understand what motivates your team to do the work they do and then use that understanding to strengthen the work you do together.
Understanding motivators is another reason why you should get to know your team. What is it that makes their work life better for them? They could be motivated by having the option to work from home, for example, or by having access to a flexible schedule. Discover what will motivate your team and use it to create a healthy and responsive work environment for your team members.
6. Not Delegating Work
Finally, many managers (both new and more seasoned) struggle to delegate work appropriately. It’s easy to feel like you have to get all the work done on your own, but that’s a quick road to burnout. Instead of trying to manage everything by yourself, delegate some assignments that would be good growth opportunities for your team members or would give them new experience on the job. When you trust your team to have your back, you’ll see they can step up to the plate.
These are some of the most common mistakes that managers and leaders make in the workplace. Now that you’re aware of them, you can ensure you start off on the right foot with your team.
About the Author
Madeline Miller is a writer for Academized. She focuses on teaching readers about their rights and puts them in touch with the right representation for them.