4 big mistakes managers make

The 4 Biggest Mistakes Made By New Managers (And How To Fix Them)

Being a new manager is tough. You now have to lead a team and there’s a ton of pressure on you to perform.

In addition to being responsible for your own work, you’re now responsible for many other people’s work as well.

This can easily become overwhelming and stressful, and will likely lead you to be the type of leader that employee’s don’t want to work for.

Everyone makes mistakes, but the manager has such an important role to play in terms of success for the business, that you need to do everything you can to make sure those mistakes are avoided.

According to Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores.

This is the reason why engagement worldwide is so low.

And we all know the importance of employee engagement and how it affects business outcomes.

Even more interesting, is research from Gallup that shows that companies usually make the wrong person manager:

“One of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name manager, Gallup has found. Yet our analytics suggest they usually get it wrong: Companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.”

Another reason why I think managers make so many mistakes is because of the Peter Principle.

The theory was first described by the Canadian psychologist Dr. Laurence Peter, saying the Peter Principle predicts that “in a hierarchical organization, employees tend to rise to the level of their incompetence.”

What he observed is that in most companies, people are promoted for their performance, but then if they under-perform in their new role, they are rarely demoted.

Instead, companies will do whatever they can (more training, hire an assistant manager, etc.) to make sure they don’t get demoted.

In one study, researchers tested traditional promotions against randomly handed out promotions and found not only that the Peter Principle dilemma occurred, it was practically inevitable.

Any time the new role required competencies that were different than the previous role, the odds of the Peter Principle occurring were high.

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4 Big Mistakes Managers Make

Managers make a ton of mistakes and face many challenges when they first start, but here are four common ones that I’ve seen time and time again.

You’ll notice that most of these mistakes (if not all) are rooted in fear.

  1. They Don’t Talk About Their Challenges

    This mistake is ultimately rooted in fear.

    The reason managers don’t talk to others about their challenges is that they’re worried it might make them look bad or like they don’t know what they should know.

    That’s not a good way to think and you’re only doing a disservice to yourself.

    The truth is, most managers are in the exact same boat as you, but everyone is afraid to speak up.

  2. They Think They Should Know Everything On Day One

    Big mistake.

    What ends up happening, is you stress yourself out and start doing everything rushed. You end up pretending and ultimately lying to yourself and your team.

    Instead of wasting that energy worrying that you don’t know everything, spend that time and energy learning and developing skills to help you become a better leader.

  3. They Think They Need To Behave Like Other Leaders

    It’s perfectly okay to have mentors and role models, and leader in or out of the company that you look up to, but you don’t want to be something or someone you’re not.

    Something I’ve seen happen a lot is new managers emulating the leadership styles and behaviours of others around them.

    My advice would be to be who you are, and develop your own style.

    Being inauthentic will only make you lose credibility, so it’s not worth it. Short term, it might work, but long term, it won’t.

  4. They Don’t Focus On Goals

    As a manager, you need to take a much higher-level view of your team and their work.

    A big mistake many managers make is trying to get involved in every little detail of every project.

    Instead, managers should focus on the high-level goals of their team and the bigger picture.

Now the question becomes, with these mistakes in mind, that are mostly rooted in fear and assuming (you know what happens when you assume), what do you do?

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Ways To Fix These Problems

There are a few ways that you can fix these problems, but here are two things that you can do yourself, as well as one thing the organization can do.

  1. Develop A Growth Mindset

    The biggest thing that will help you as a new manager is to accept failure and treat life like a learning process.

    Develop a growth mindset, and see growth as your number one goal.

    You need to always look at opportunities to get better, and realize that it’s okay not to know everything.

    This is easier said than done, but this will be the thing that will have by far the biggest effect on your success as a new manager.

  2. Always Be Learning

    According to a CareerBuilder survey, 58% of managers said they didn’t receive any management training.

    This is sad.

    You should take it upon yourself to learn as much as you can. Read every leadership book you can find, subscribe to blogs and newsletters, and just soak up as much information as possible.

    Do it over a long period of time. While you’re developing that growth mindset, you’ll be hungry to keep developing your skills.

As you’ve noticed, most of the mistakes are rooted in fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc.

If companies were smart, they would do everything in their power to remove that fear from all employees, especially managers.

Communicate that failure is okay. Encourage everyone in the company to have an experimental mindset and to try new things.

Without that, your company will stagnate, managers won’t grow, their teams won’t grow, and your culture will suffer.

What Mistakes Have You Seen Managers Make?

Your turn! Let us know in the comments some of the most common mistakes you’ve seen managers make.

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