As a manager, you already have a world of responsibilities on your hands regarding your company, not to mention your own team. However it takes a bit of foresight, self-knowledge and plenty of self-discipline to avoid the common pitfalls that will threaten any manager at some point in their career. These are key-points that as a manager you will need to be vigilant about, so as not to lose your vision, leadership strength and trust of your team members. Let’s look at the most common pitfalls that managers need to avoid:
1.) Offering Poor Or Inconsistent Feedback:
As a manager, you need to be able to provide your team members with valuable and constructive feedback on their work performance. As employees who dedicate their time and resources to completing a task to the best of their abilities, team members have the inherent need of being reviewed, regardless if it’s negatively or positively.
Firstly, this is because all feedback is the equivalent of acknowledgement – you acknowledge their efforts and dedication. Secondly, it’s because you will help them realize what their strong points are and what they need to improve on. Gaining clarity is always more rewarding and productive than being in the dark about your work. Apart from this, feedback also needs to be consistent and prompt.
Failing to do this, you risk managing a team of increasingly confused and dissatisfied people. An extra measure you can take to prevent this from happening is to make sure you extensively coach and train your team, so they can be well prepared for any unpleasant situation arising.
2.) Assuming There’s Nothing More To Learn:
Occupying a managerial position means you are willing to always find ways to improve your technical knowledge and your cooperation with the team. This implies being open and ready to always spruce up on lacking information by reading leadership, management and technical literature that is specific to your field of work.
A lot of managers simply tend to become a cog in the system, assuming they’ve found a right way of doing things and nothing needs to be changed anymore. However this is a serious pitfall that can lead to a lack of innovation and growth both for you, as a manager, and implicitly for your team, as well. In order to avoid this, you need to presume that the learning process will never be over, that there are always classes to take and books to read to help you improve and develop. As you push your own knowledge boundaries, you can also include your team in the growth process by sharing with them the books and articles you’ve found useful. This way, you can develop together and strengthen your core, as a team.
3.) Setting Unclear Or Undecisive Goals
Another way to quickly divide your team and send them spiraling down a pit of frustration and chaos is to not define clear goals. Countless studies have shown that people work better when having clear goals and a set direction they can follow. If you fail to set decisive and clearly timed goals for your team, your team members will just scrape by throughout their work days, not knowing what exactly it is they’re supposed to do. This lack of clarity leads to a rapid loss of productivity and a decrease in satisfaction in all your team members.
A great way to prevent this from happening is to set a weekly meeting in which you gather round your team and discuss together what needs to be done in the near future. Also, it’s recommended that you use alternative tools to keep you on track within this time-frame. SMART goals and Team Charter are effective resources that can help your team get a better feeling of what needs to be done and to understand how they can better achieve their goals.
These are only a few of the pitfalls that managers will typically need to deal with at one point during their career. However by choosing the path of self-discipline and always striving to improve, you will be able to easily navigate through these difficulties and become the manager you’ve always wanted to be for your team.