Learn How To Avoid The Five Most Common Mistakes Made By Leaders And Managers

Learn How To Avoid The Five Most Common Mistakes Made By Leaders And Managers

If you have recently been placed in a leadership or managerial position in your company, then you may need to change the way you approach work each day.

The five most common mistakes discussed below are made by those in management in virtually every sector of the business world.

Learning how to avoid them can help your team to thrive!

1. Goals – A team without goals is a huge problem. Some managers, especially those that are new to the role, make the assumption that everyone knows what to do rather than providing guidance regarding assignments and priorities.

2. Poor focus – Even those who have set goals do not always focus on what’s important. Rather than acknowledging progress and creating positive results, these managers get caught up in the details and busyness of urgent everyday tasks.

Rather than micromanaging your team, monitor their progress on a schedule, ensuring that they are moving forward as needed. Running around the office looking busy all of the time is not the same as accomplishing the desired results.

3. Hiring and firing – It is important to have a strong team capable of handling the tasks assigned to them.

In a rush to have sufficient manpower, some managers make the mistake of hiring people too quickly and are slow to let them go, even when it is apparent that they are not capable of fulfilling their role.

These poor practices can harm the morale of the team and make it even more difficult to get the job done.

Make sure that you consider candidates carefully before hiring. Not only do applicants need to have the necessary skills and abilities, but they also need to have the right combination of personality, flexibility and dedication.

It is better to have an open position than to expect your team to carry someone who is not a good fit for the job.

Likewise, delaying firing an employee can lead to frustration and your team may believe that you are too soft. Although it can be difficult to let someone go, you should not keep someone on the payroll just because you are uncomfortable with confrontation. You will be doing the employee and your company a favor by ending things quickly. Firmly but politely explain to the person why she is being let go, and give some positive feedback concerning the areas where she excelled.

4. Morale – No matter the size and type of organization that you are leading, good morale is essential.

Some managers believe that they need to rule with an iron fist, forcing employees to mold into some preconceived idea of what a “perfect employee” looks like.

Instead, you need to keep an eye on morale and take steps to boost it when necessary. This may be through encouraging stories or giving praise to team members for their contributions. In fact, some leaders make it a point during conferences to find something positive and honest to say about each person and the value they contribute to the team.

5. Poor boundaries – Whether standoffish or being a buddy, both strategies are doomed to fail for leaders. If those under you are not comfortable approaching you with questions, your company can lose valuable resources down the line because of mistakes. And, while you should be approachable, you should not perceive yourself as an equal, nor should they. While you can socialize and joke with the team, you should maintain a degree of separation. Otherwise, you may have a difficult time reprimanding someone and some employees may take advantage of your friendly nature.

You can embrace the challenges that come with your new role as manager or leader and have a strong team as a result. Avoid the five most common mistakes and continue to learn from mentors and others about the methods, tools and tricks for becoming a respected and successful leader.

Jeremy Johnson is a real estate enthusiast and has written content for dozens of real estate and related sites around the world. RealEstateCompanies.info is a side project he maintains because of his interest in real estate.

Management vs Leadership

Management requires smooth process, leadership requires clear vision

Management vs Leadership

Management is about running systems, processes, and people.

Leadership is about taking action, and inspiring others to do so. Having a vision, and the ability to influence and motivate others to sail towards it.

Your team needs both.

If you have no managers, then key details, tasks and deadlines are likely to be missed.

No leader, and your team becomes a ship without a rudder. You are likely to become lost at sea.

The Hawthorne Effect: social forces affect productivity

GIVEN my lack of time lately, I thought that writing a short post on worker productivity would be amusingly appropriate. I am working 10/11 hour days, studying for the CFA, and writing this blog, among other things. Fun times!

I recently stumbled across an idea called the “Hawthorne Effect”, which I thought it would be interesting to share.

1. The Hawthorne Experiments (1924-1933)

The Hawthorne Effect is named after one of the most famous series of experiments in industrial history.

In the 1920’s and early 1930’s Elton Mayo, a professor of Industrial Management at Harvard Business School, led a series of experiments at Western Electric’s factory at Hawthorne, Chicago (the “Hawthorne Experiments“).

The original purpose of the Hawthorne Experiments was to study the effect of physical working conditions on productivity.

Initially interested in the effect of lighting levels on worker productivity, the researchers improved the lighting in the work area for one group of workers (the “Experimental Group”) and kept the lighting levels unchanged for another group of workers. Interestingly, the researchers found that the productivity of workers in the Experimental Group increased significantly.

The Experimental Group’s working conditions were then changed in other ways (e.g. working hours, rest breaks) and, each time a change was made, the Experimental Group’s productivity improved.

Most interestingly, the Experimental Group’s productivity even improved when the lighting was dimmed to its original level.

By the time the Hawthorne Experiments were completed, and the working conditions for the Experimental Group were returned to normal, productivity was at record highs.

Obviously, the improvements in productivity could not be explained by the changes made to working conditions. So, what caused the productivity improvements?

The researchers concluded that the improvements in productivity resulted from the simple fact that the workers felt that they were being attended to and that someone was taking an active interest in their workplace.

Although, subsequent analysis has placed some doubt on these conclusions.

2. The Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne Effect is the idea that people will alter their behavior in response to being observed. In psychology this phenomenon is referred to as reactivity.

The Hawthorne Effect indicates that productivity in the workplace is reactive and social. The productivity and performance of an employee is influenced in a meaningful way by attention received from management.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld notes that the Hawthorne Experiments brought to light ideas concerning motivational influences, job satisfaction, resistance to change, group norms, worker participation, and effective leadership. All ground breaking concepts in the 1930’s. (A New Vision, Essay by Professors Michel Anteby and Rakesh Khurana)

Great managers select for talent

I am in the process of reading “First Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman. The book makes the insightful point that great managers understand the difference between skills, knowledge and talent:

  1. Skills are abilities that may be acquired by training. For example, a mathematics teacher must be skilled in arithmetic, a secretary must be skilled in typing, and a baker must be skilled in baking bread. A skill may be taught by breaking down the performance of a task into steps, which can then be practiced.
  2. Knowledge is simply “what you are aware of”. There are two kinds of knowledge: (1) factual knowledge are things that you know; and (2) experiential knowledge are understandings that you have picked up along the way.
  3. Talent is “a recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behaviour that can be productively applied.” You may have an instinctive ability to remember names, or be in the habit of playing with numbers and equations in your head – both of these are talents. A talent is any behaviour that you find yourself doing often and which can be applied in a productive way.

Skill, knowledge, and talent are all necessary elements to achieve excellent performance, talent being the most important element. Skills and knowledge can be taught relatively easily, however talent is difficult to teach. For example, one of the key talents required to be a great accountant is “love of precision”. Love of precision is not a skill, nor is it knowledge, but this talent is needed to excel at accounting.

The definition of talent is seemingly innocuous but has a powerful implication – excellence requires talent. A great manager understands that to excel in any role requires talent because each role, when performed with excellence, requires certain recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour.

Understanding the importance of talent, great managers are good at identifying the talents of their people and then allocating each person to a role where they can use their talents most effectively.