The five most common management mistakes
A first-hand view of where management usually goes wrong, from a chartered manager, mathematician and Brexiteer
Guest blogger Pencka Gancheva CMgr
When managers make mistakes, there are often common causes.
They’re not prepared
These start with lack of preparation for the position itself – some managers do not have the knowledge and/or the vocational training, even life experience for the role. In my view the most important requirement for a manager is an understanding of different people: how people should be managed (even manipulated?), what their strengths and weaknesses are, where the limit of their competences is, how to get them motivated, what are their fears, problems, priorities?
The manager has to know everything about their team members. In big corporations, it is simply not possible for the CEO to know all the employees personally, hence the managers are the intermediaries who must strive to do so.
If one chief executive can lose a lot of money and ruin lives, so one out-of-place manager can lose even more money and ruin many lives: from missing opportunities to unwise investments or expansion in the wrong direction. All because the organisation hasn’t put the right people in place to do the job correctly. Bad managers always blame low-quality human resources or dishonestly refer to the market competition while they know best where the fault actually lies.
They don’t delegate
Along with having the trust of their people, perhaps the most important managerial skill is the delegation of responsibilities, tasks and encouraging self-initiative. Without these, the organization is literally doomed to failure.
Managers must overcome the perception that "only I can do this work". People are the most important asset of any company; without good people, managers and CEO are nothing. People are not pawns or random screws, they are the engine, tires, body and even "the soul of the machine". The manager acts as a wheel. He/she sets the direction, and a good manager will always consider all the abilities of the engine, chassis, tires and will run at the optimum speed possible.
They fail to look to the future
The next step for the successful manager is analysis of the organisation’s current situation, market competition, external factors and general business background. This must be followed by strategic thinking, a vision for the company's development in the future, business forecasts and the right ways to implement them.
They inspire fear, not trust
A team does not need fear, gratitude, admiration or uncertainty. A good manager should inspire peace and respect, loyalty and trust within the team. To create a working organisation, to be a good manager, all these are required as well as to be able to listen, admit mistakes, talk to people, understand, familiarise with business as a whole. Then the manager can make a decision, take responsibility and stand truly behind the things as a whole, as an organic process. Empathy, reasoning, humanity are among the most important qualities for a manager. Only when we really appreciate these, whether in business or in politics, only then we can move forward.
They don’t listen
For a manager, the ability to manage consists of hearing and acknowledging others' points of view; listening and understanding. My experience is that when no-one appreciates me for what I've done, when my capabilities, skills and successes have been taken for granted, and treated as normal, then this is a sign of a crisis within the organisation. A good manager must know the strengths of their people and use them, but not in a way of exploiting them. We cannot want it all, we cannot and should not put simple and routine tasks on highly qualified experts while other people struggle with hard tasks. That kills ambitions, the desire to devote yourself to your work. And from here it’s a short journey to a complete lack of respect and trust in leadership qualities, and a lack of loyalty.
Life is a constantly changing curve. We are all changing, often without noticing. We are never the same and simply can't be. Our experience is the only foundation we use to predict future changes. I believe the only universal tool to smoothing conflicts, misunderstanding, resentment, frustration, disloyalty and unhappiness within a working environment is clear, honest, non-misleading, fair communication. All participants – CEOs, managers, team members, support staff – must understand that we are firstly humans, and only then do we associate with job titles and work duties. Being respectful and understanding to each other is the moving force within any successful organisation.
Pencka Gancheva CMgr MCMI is a Chartered Manager, mathematician and Brexiteer