Five management behaviours to avoid

30 November 2018 -

Business meetingClosing up when difficulties emerge. Talking not listening. Not advancing your people’s development. Research is increasingly consistent about the most toxic management behaviours

CMI Insights

Earlier this year Google research caused a stir when it highlighted the supposed traits of bad managers. Behaviours such as micro-management were said to alienate team members.

With this in mind, CMI Insights has identified five more habits proven to demotivate staff and damage the performance of organisations. Is it time you changed your ways?

Not communicating

The CMI white paper The What, The Why and The How of Purpose concluded that openness and honesty are essential to build values-driven companies that outperform others. Interviews with 14 well-known business leaders concluded that employees need to be given information so they can understand the meaning of what they’re doing and feel motivated to continue. This is turn creates a productive culture.

“Real corporate transparency forces change... (and) with social media and a whole new breed of NGOs or a whole new breed of activist, if it’s not really transparent you get found out. True corporate transparency changes behaviour,” said Matt Peacock, group director of corporate affairs at Vodafone.

In reality, too many organisations – and managers – close up in challenging situations (big client losses, layoffs in the pipeline). How you react – and communicate – in a sensitive scenario might be the ultimate test of your management skills.

Talking, not listening

If you are focused on instructing your employees how to do their roles, think again. Managers need to listen to others in order to innovate, according to stats from Wazoku, a software provider specialising in collaboration. Its research showed that each employee suggests six ideas to their employer each year, but less than half (43%) are acknowledged. When employees’ suggestions are taken on board, one in three ideas positively impact the way the organisation works.

The CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 contains examples of how to create an inclusive and positive workplace in which employees’ opinions are not only heard but applied. You can also start by reading this guide on how to become a good listener.

Wasting time in meetings

Bad bosses are wasting time in meetings. At least a third of business professionals believe their meetings are pointless, shows research from Barco, another high-tech software firm. The effects go deeper than boredom: productivity dips when people are not satisfied with their working culture.

If you find you’re spending too long in meetings, consider mixing up the way you work with your team. In the CMI/Glassdoor Top 20 more than one company had opted for a ‘squads-and-tribes’ model that exchanges long-winded discussions for regular checkpoints in order to keep a project on the move. ‘Huddles’ rather than meetings are commonplace in the tech world. You could also try these meetings tips from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Being invisible to your team

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of professionals say that they have wanted to ask their boss for help in making a decision, but have not been given the opportunity, according to CMI research. The lesson? Make sure you are available when you’re needed.

In October, pest control firm Rentokil Initial told CMI Insights that middle managers must spend at least six months of the year on the road in order to meet staff based in regional offices. James Timpson, the boss of the hugely successful shoe-repair chain Timpsons, is another leader who spends countless hours visiting and listening to front line employees.

Even for remote teams, experts say that connections can be fostered through regular praise and acknowledgement. Webinars, Google Hangouts or group Skype chats are another way to maintain a connection with your team. And one other thing: remember to invite remote workers to catch-ups, even if they’re ad-hoc. Even if they can’t make it, they’ll appreciate the gesture.

Ignoring your people’s career development

Finally, a third of UK employees say their career progression to date has failed to meet their expectations, due to poor line managers either ignoring or blocking their professional development.

That’s at odds with what millennial-employees actually want – learning new skills, working on passion projects and progressing up the career ladder . CMI president Bruce Carnegie-Brown talked about this in his 2018 McLaren Lecture when he said: “I have the privilege of mentoring a few [millennials] who have set up their own digital businesses and I see at first-hand the sacrifices they make to start and build their businesses; and their passion for their projects, in terms of both their economic and social value.”

With this in mind, the best managers are adopting the role of mentor to their teams. Chelsey Baker, founder of National Mentoring Day, advises: “To become a great mentor you should support and help the mentee to review their own situation through a process of reflection, questions, signposting, challenge and feedback.”

Of course, if you want more advice and support on how to develop your team and improve your own management skills, the CMI offers a comprehensive range of training and qualifications.

Image: Shutterstock

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