As a manager, it’s important to be demanding of yourself in order to lead and get the most out of your people. Below are six issues that trip up many beginning and experienced managers with their employees.
You’re telling people that “OK is good enough”
Employees very quickly take cues from colleagues and management as to how much quality matters in what they do. They observe everything you do and if you aren’t making sure that you tell and show people explicitly that the quality of their work matters, employees will do enough to get by. Sure, there will be a select group that comes to work to nail things. But that is not everybody.
You care if your team or employees like you
When you take a management position, the first thing you need to do is make a list of everything unpleasant that you will need to do and ask yourself if you will be able to carry out those tasks if you’ve made everyone who reports to you a friend. You are there to direct, get maximum performance out of them and report and make recommendations to make things get better. It may be counterintuitive, but perceived professionalism and respect because you do you job well and treat people fairly is much more important. One other thing: I promise you that your employees don’t care if you like them.
Your instructions suck
You give orders to do something in a glib manner then you wonder why the team member didn’t do what you wanted. Nothing will make a worker want to scream more than not being given adequate instructions. This is especially true if it’s going to take a lot of effort and when they get to the end, they have to do over.
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No, your instructions sucked. It means you don’t care. You need to know what you need accomplished with a task. When do you need it? What will it be used for? Does it need to be done in a certain way so that the results can be passed on to another project? Ask the person you are assigning the task to if they have done anything similar and do they have any recommendations that will increase your familiarity with the project.
Trying to be someone that you’re not
If you are low key, don’t try to be a fire-breathing dragon. If you are very pragmatic and to the point, don’t try to tell a joke in a meeting. Be yourself. Chances are that any kind of forced fake personality is you misinterpreting how to present yourself. Sure, you may need to bring your energy up a notch but that doesn’t mean you turn into Tony Robbins.
Throwing your people under the bus
Nothing will make your score on an employee’s trust-o-meter go to zero faster than blasting someone in front of other management for your error. If you do this regularly, it is going to come back and bite you, but good. On top of it, other management see through that instantly and you are going to get a reputation as a coward who doesn’t cowboy-up and own it when you goof up.
Run away from tough conversations
Maybe it’s an employee who is coming in smelling like alcohol. Maybe you see someone who is making others feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not asking someone if they’re OK when you see them behaving erratically. Maybe you need to put someone on notice because of a lousy attitude. Whatever the case, managers must be able to handle this kind of tough conversation and do it now because 1) it can destroy employee confidence in you and 2) it can put your company in legal peril.
Brandon Vallorani is a practiced entrepreneur and accomplished CEO, author of The Wolves and the Mandolin (ForbesBooks; 2017), and third generation Italian-American.
Founder of a media conglomerate recognized on the Inc. 5000 for five consecutive years, Brandon sold to a colleague in the business, and has more recently shifted focus to his other entrepreneurial endeavors.
Vallorani graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and began his career in the non-profit sector. He quickly rose through the ranks to become Executive Vice President in a few short years, simultaneously earning his Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College.
He lives in Metro-Atlanta, with his wife with whom he shares seven children, a son-in-law, and a grandson. In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing in casinos around the country, his three dogs, and learning Italian.