Managing a diverse pool of staff is a tough job, and one that takes years to become proficient at. Take a look at these common managerial mistakes and see which ones you’re making.
Trying too hard to be liked
Inexperienced bosses often try too hard to be liked, and ingratiate themselves as an employee rather than as a leader. This can be problematic because it suppresses the inherent power imbalance in manager-worker relationships and makes it harder for bosses to give orders and make decisions with authority. Managers should try to be likeable, but they should try to be likeable as a manager rather than as an employee, and should make sure they don’t overstep the line into office politics.
Some managers feel the need to hide weakness in order to gain respect from employees. However, stoic and emotionless bosses find it hard to ingratiate themselves with employees, and the result is often a lack of cohesion amongst the team. Bosses should not be afraid to show a vulnerable side, whether this comes in the form of a lack of knowledge or a susceptibility to stress. A keen knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, and the foresight and intelligence to capitalise on strengths and mitigate weaknesses, is something common to the best leaders.
Some bosses feel the need to be overly-corporate, repressing emotions and emotional activity because they see it as a weakness. However, without emotional vulnerability it can be hard for office teams to bond and work well together. If the boss does not overtly show emotion, this may make employees feel emotions are not allowed. Stifling emotions can lead to a variety of issues including stress and depression. In addition, bosses that neglect emotions often come across as unapproachable and unreasonable. This can have a knock-on effect to the whole company as employees struggle to get heard and progress with their own work.
Failing to recognise strengths
Teams of employees have enormous skill sets that can be utilised in a wide range of business environments. With so many diverse individuals the team has considerable strengths; good bosses recognise these strengths and allow them to be utilised accordingly. A failure to recognise strengths has significant effects on a business; employees that do not feel appreciated often lack motivation, which can reduce productivity and overall output. Bosses must encourage skills development, recognising strengths and uniqueness along the way in order to foster an atmosphere of acceptance and innovation.
Poor communication skills
Many managers don’t appreciate the importance of solid communication skills. Employees want to know precisely what you want them to do, and when you need them to do it by. Ambiguity can lead to stress, missed deadlines and festering resentment when blame is laid. Ensure that terms are stated in the clearest possible terms. The rise of electronic communication methods has no doubt increased the amount of information that gets lost in translation; make sure you follow-up emails with face to face chats to corroborate the important details.
Ignoring human needs
Managers understandably concentrate on the technical aspects of their job and the performance of their team; after all, they are responsible if things go wrong. The best bosses dedicate time to not only performance but also personal development and health to ensure the overall wellbeing of their team. Being sympathetic when employees request time off or report suffering from mental health concerns is very important and brings a host of benefits, including an improved employer-employee relationship.