When I became a manager, it was both exciting and scary. I didn’t always make the right decisions or have answers to many of the questions that came up…and interestingly enough, I still don’t.
It’s normal. No one’s perfect.
After some reflection, I realized some of my mistakes and was able to quickly turn things around, even if it was difficult…especially the awkward conversations with employees about their performance.
Here are 3 pitfalls every manager should avoid:
#1 Not holding people accountable. I was guilty of this for a short amount of time when I started my new position as a manager. A couple of people on my team would claim to be “busy” when they were assigned additional tasks. By keeping the pressure on them I’d get the information I needed.
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. Make sure claims of being “busy” or “overwhelmed” are valid. If they are known to be low performers they could be trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Don’t fall for it!
- Distribute the workload fairly. It’s easy to over task your best employees.
- Check in with them frequently to make sure they’re meeting your deadline(s).
#2 Trying to be everyone’s friend / being too nice. Getting to know your coworkers on a personal level will help improve your professional relationships. This could be beneficial if you ever need their help. Unfortunately, some people will mistake kindness for weakness. You’ll have to stand your ground if they are being disrespectful.
- Always be professional. You might hurt your reputation if you don’t.
- It only takes one time for you to let someone get away with being disrespectful before they’ll believe that behavior is acceptable.
#3 Not checking or correcting (employee’s) bad behavior. Unfortunately, some people will push the envelope little by little to see what they can get away with.
- As a new leader you’ll have to be firm. It’ll be difficult at first. But stay strong.
- Be sure to contact your human resources (HR) department to become familiar with your company’s disciplinary policies. (BTW, my HR focal is AWESOME!)
Being in “formal” leadership (management) can be challenging, especially if you’re new. Although, it can be rewarding financially and intrinsically, remember, you have been working with people for a long time and there will be those who will try to test your limits. Don’t let them!
It’s okay to make mistakes. I made a few mistakes, learned from them and moved on. I’m confident that you can do the same.
What has been the largest leadership challenge you’ve faced in a management (or non management) role?