There’s no such thing as a perfect manager, but anyone in charge of guiding others through the business world should keep some best practices in mind.
“When new managers hit the ground running, it makes HR’s life easier,” writes Christian Schappel for HR Morning. “Good managers keep your brightest stars engaged, which improves retention and keeps you from having to fill talent gaps. Poor managers — or at least those who start off poorly — have the opposite effect.”
Here are five common mistakes and ways to fix them.
The first mistake: Exercising authority without credibility
“New managers were often standouts in their previous jobs, and as such, enjoyed a fair degree of independence and autonomy of action,” writes Alan Murray for the Wall Street Journal. “With a new job and title, they expect to feel more authority. Well, surprise! Most new managers report they are shocked by how constrained they feel.”
The remedy: Earning respect and using it to motivate employees
Trust and respect are earned, and can be excellent motivational tools for any manager.
“Over time, good managers find they must earn their subordinates’ respect and trust in order to exercise significant authority,” Murray writes. “They need to demonstrate to subordinates their own character, their competence and their ability to get things done before those subordinates are likely to follow their lead.”
The second mistake: Acting impulsively and losing one’s temper
Nearly everyone has an angry-boss story. But just because a screamer once managed you doesn’t mean you should pay it forward.
The remedy: Getting your emotions under control
“It’s essential for managers to act professionally — that means making sure they aren’t quick to anger and don’t rush to judgment when problems arise,” Schappel writes. “Managers must work to keep their impulses private.”
The third mistake: Trying to make friends with employees “Friends gossip, go out together and complain about work and the boss,” writes Susan M. Heathfield for The Balance. “There is no room for their manager in these kinds of relationships.”
The remedy: Building relationships and teams without crossing boundaries
You don’t want to become overly friendly, but good bosses take an interest.
“Developing a relationship with reporting employees is a key factor in managing,” Heathfield writes. “You don’t want to be your employees’ divorce counselor or therapist, but you do want to know what’s happening in their lives.”
Don’t mistake strong boundaries with being cold and unfeeling, Schappel writes.
“Showing some warmth can play a key role in building trust with employees,” he writes.
The fourth mistake: Micromanaging workers
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of your employees’ work. Don’t sink into the details you hired them to handle, though.
“Are you familiar with the old tenet that people live up to your expectations?” Heathfield writes.
The remedy: Assume trust from the beginning “All managers should start out with all employees from a position of trust,” Heathfield writes. “This shouldn’t change until the employee proves himself unworthy of that trust.”