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What are the five key management mistakes within organisations?

Leaders and managers can make or break an organisation. Current trends show that the workplace is becoming more complex, changeable and uncertain. This calls for strong leaders and managers to provide direction, insight and focus. Unfortunately many managers are making some key mistakes that are costing their organisations in terms of staff turnover, lack of productivity, poor morale and lack of focus on results. This may stem from:

  • poor or inadequate training for the role.
  • appointments that have been made with little thought to personal style and drive.
  • little or no feedback on managers’ actions and their consequences being given.

The top 5 mistakes include: 1. Grandstanding/ being a show pony. Some managers are only concerned with building their own empire and working office politics to their advantage to get ahead. Their teams exist for the sole purpose of making them look good! These managers have no interest in spending time developing their people, coaching them and providing opportunities for them to shine. Tell tale signs include:

  • they take over in meetings especially if there is someone to impress.
  • they throw their team members under the bus to save personal embarrassment for mistakes.
  • they take every opportunity to raise their own profile.
  • conversation is all about them.
  • they take credit for the teams’ work.

2. Giving vague direction. A study of 4,000 employees showed almost half (46%) were unsure of what was being asked of them by their line manager when given tasks,Whether this is because of lack of knowledge, desire or awareness some managers give unclear direction about roles and tasks. This leaves team members struggling to delineate responsibilities, provide acceptable/correct outcomes and work efficiently. By not outlining the work to be done and how it fits into the bigger picture managers encourage reduced productivity, conflict and stress. Tell tale signs include:

  • disquiet and conflict within the team.
  • poor outcomes.
  • missed deadlines.
  • team members asking lots of questions.
  • man-question-mistake.

3. Not using the talent within their team. Some managers think that being the boss means having to have all the answers. Some managers just don’t take the time to get to know their staffs’ strengths or aspirations and so underutilise them. This means the manager has to work harder to produce results when someone else within the team may have a better idea or different process that could simplify and expedite the end result. Tell tale signs include the manager:

  • being overly directive.
  • using a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.
  • asking few questions.
  • not involving team members in decisions.
  • delegating poorly or not at all.

4. Failure to communicate well. Some managers are caught up in their own agendas or believe information is power and therefore don’t communicate with their teams. Staff are often unaware of what the manager is involved in, don’t understand how they fit into the bigger picture or what changes maybe on the horizon. This promotes a lack of trust and frustration amongst team members. Tell tale signs include:

  • poor morale and motivation.
  • the rumour mill going into over-drive and speculation presiding over fact.
  • poor use of resources and teamwork.

5. Putting policies before people. Being too bureaucratic and inflexible makes people feel like they’re just a cog in the machine rather than a valued team member. Managers who prioritise chasing targets, fulfilling criteria and filling out paperwork over understanding their team members and what makes them tick will only foster ‘bear minimum’ output from their team. Tell tale signs include:

  • Lack of creativity and initiative within the team.
  • Paperwork taking priority over people issues.
  • No shortcuts in work practices being tolerated.
  • Being a stickler for the rules.
  • Manager being seen as aloof and unyielding.

With this in mind, we need to invest in our first-line managers as they make up 50-60% of management on average and directly supervise 80% of the workforce. They are central players in an organisations success. We need to provide them with:

  • adequate training and support.
  • feedback on their actions and the impact they have.
  • a forum to share concerns, ideas and learning.
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