Management traps, those sins we commit in the name of business, are everywhere. I know I am guilty and must repent. My past management sins reek of weak justification: The service office I directed was very stressful, I was a newbie manager, training left me wanting, and my supervisor was crazy.
The time for rehabilitation has come. Come on in. This is a safe space.
The truth is every job has stress. Newbies have a responsibility to seek out professional development rather than placing blame entirely on poor in-house training. And, who among us hasn’t worked for a crazy person? If we really seek to be better managers, those of us chosen to lead must rid our work lives of these common management traps.
Management Trap #1: Playing it safe.
Playing it safe leads to complacency in yourself and your employees. Innovation and creation require risk. So, if your employees do only what is in their job description and your office space has the stale odor of idleness consider what, if any, risks you have taken. Do your employees observe you creating and innovating? Do you take initiative even if your big idea may be a big, fat failure?
Do you encourage your employees to create alongside of you? If not, you should expect your employees to play it safe right along with you.
Management Trap #2: Blaming poor performance on subordinates.
If your staff lacks the energy, drive, and tools to succeed, blame yourself. As a manager, you must inspire your staff to thrive. It is our responsibility to provide the resources necessary for success. From technology solutions to office supplies to adequate time away from work, managers are responsible for the well-being and success of their employees.
If you have secured the proper resources for success but still identify poor performance, the tough decision to fire the bad apple must be made. You owe that to your good employees, too. Don’t waste too much of your time and energy on the problem child. Your personal resources are just as valuable as those of your employees.
Management Trap #3: Allowing problems or issues to drag on unresolved.
No one likes conflict, but leaders must identify, address, and resolve conflict. It is what we do. If you are not ready to do this, you are not ready to lead. Good managers make tough decisions. Great managers identify potential trouble spots before problems arise and provide solutions early so that transitioning from one procedure to another appears seamless.
Management Trap #4: Being so wrapped up in your issues, you can’t see the problems your employees are facing.
Just stop it. Nobody looks good in that shade of ego.
Management Trap #5: Refusing to compromise or accept new ideas.
In my opinion, this is the fastest way to rid your office of your best employees. Refusal to compromise or accept new ideas is the gold standard of giant, inflated egos. When faced with this type of irrationality, I feel undervalued, underappreciated, and trapped in an unsatisfying role.
However, those two managers in my past who encouraged me to think beyond my position, listened to my concerns, and considered my ideas earned my respect quickly. Neither of them ever told me, “That’s just the way it is.” From both, it was always, “How can we solve this problem?” or “Is there another way to look at this?”
When I finally had my own staff to lead, I tried to emulate these two: stifle ego-driven tendencies, listen to my employees, and apply valuable, front-line knowledge to my procedures.
Management Trap #7: Taking your employees for granted.
Company loyalty is dead. No one earns the gold watch anymore. So, we must continuously offer our good employees reasons to stay with us. Professional development, quality training and skill development, opportunity for advancement, and emotional support will reduce turnover and show employees they are appreciated and wanted long past the entrance interview.
I encourage you to reconcile your management sins with me.
Maybe together we can rid the world of these management traps for good. And, if not, we can at least poke fun at these antiquated ways together. #MgmtTraps