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5 classic management mistakes and their tell-tale signs

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Leaders and managers can make or break an organisation. With current events such as Covid 19, 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 classic management 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 due to tenure rather than capability
  • little or no feedback on managers’ actions and their consequences being given.

The top 5 classic management mistakes and their tell-tale signs are:

  1. Giving vague direction – A study of 4,000 employees showed almost half (47%) were unsure of what was being asked of them by their line manager when given tasks, and yet those with high role clarity are 53% more productive. Whether this is because of lack of knowledge, care factor, time 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. Tell tale signs include:
    • disquiet and conflict within the team
    • poor outcomes
    • missed deadlines
    • stressed workers
    • team members asking lots of questions
  1. Micromanagement – some managers show little trust in their team members by double checking their work even when they are competent, asking a million questions and being very directive. These managers not only cause themselves a lot of stress, they also get their team members offside. Tell-tale signs of micromanagement include:
    • poor morale and motivation
    • lack of initiative from team members
    • conflict and frustration
  1. Not using the talent within their team. Some managers think that being the boss means having to have all the answers. Some managers 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
  1. Failure to communicate well – Some managers are caught up in their own agendas, are time poor or believe information is power and therefore don’t communicate with their teams. Communication is even more important in light of the more flexible working policies organisations are now adopting. 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
  1. Lack of flexibility – 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. People only go above and beyond in their role if they are provided with opportunities, feel that their effort is valued and are treated as an individual. Tell-tale signs include:
    • poor morale and motivation
    • lack of creativity and initiative within the team
    • paperwork taking priority over people issues
    • no shortcuts in work practices being tolerated which can result in stress or missed deadlines
    • 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 help them avoid classic management mistakes and provide them with:

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

If you would like more information on management training, contact jill@jemtraining.com.au

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JEM Management Training

JEM Management Training designs and delivers flexible, in-house management training courses to help  organisations in Perth engage their staff fully in the workplace.

As time is often limited, JEM Training offers flexible half-day management training courses which focus on a specific area of management expertise. These short courses build upon each other over a period of time, chosen by you, to provide ongoing management development.

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