Guest Post by: Heather R. Younger, J.D. CCXP
Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. Peter F. Drucker
In my role, I often meet with employee focus groups and leaders of organizations. While on one side I am privy to what employees think of their manager’s effectiveness, I also see first-hand some of the key mistakes that block managers’ ability to be their best. Below are the top five mistakes I see managers make in their role as manager.
I have to focus on getting work done.
I do live in the real world where organizations exist to make money and profits. To this extent, I understand that managers have to meet their own deadlines. They have to get work done.
Having said that, most managers focus too much of their effort on tasks and not on the people who help perform the tasks. These are the same people who can make or break the customer experience and the bottom line.
I challenge managers to schedule in a sliver of time every week to sit with each team member. Having meaningful conversations with team members will actually drive improved performance.
We believe in this so much that we created a Meaningful Conversations tip sheet for managers.Click Here if you need direction.
I see what you are doing, but don’t have time to recognize you.
This is a big one!
I don’t think I need to be academic about this concept, because we all crave more consistent recognition. It is such an important driver of employee engagement that Gallup research still lists it as one of the top reasons employees remain with or leave an organization.
If you are a manager, how often do you recognize your team members? Remember, know how your team member likes to receive recognition. Some just don’t like big parties and balloons. Many just prefer a “thank you.”
Be sure to use their name and be as specific as possible about the reason for the recognition. This way, they know what types of behaviors drive positive praise from you.
In order to have long-lasting effects, you want to recognize team members every seven days. I don’t mean you have to give them a party or even give them a ribbon. Keep it simple. If you go too long before praising them, they will forget that positive feeling and that affects performance.
How did you feel the last time your manager recognized you?
Give that same feeling to your team members often!
I need to tell you what you are doing wrong and don’t have time to care about how that sounds.
Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?”
Managers are in a unique position to be able to use their authority for the betterment of others, or to use it to make others feel awful for their shortcomings or mistakes.
I would caution managers from jumping too quickly to find their team members’ mistakes. If you notice that any one team member’s performance, behavior or attitude is below your standards, sit with them to find out what might be going on to cause such a change.
Let them know that you are concerned about this decline. Offer to provide clear guidance to help them get back on track. They need to know that you are not always judging them. Choose your words carefully in order to avoid creating this perception.
They need to know that you are on their side and will fight for them if they put in the hard work.
The good news?
Managers can control whether or not they make these mistakes and how often they choose to do so. While the power and authority rests on the manager to drive their team forward, the more important thing to remember is to use that power for the good of the team. I know that these mistakes can create a lot of frustration. What other mistakes do you think many managers make? Ideas on how to stop them?
Senior Consultant and Trainer
Heather is a leadership strategist and employee engagement consultant, trainer, coach and speaker with proven expertise in building Voice of the Employee cultures and acting as catalyst for employee-driven cultural & process improvements. Heather is a frequent author on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform, a blog contributor for Huffington Post and a member and Certified Customer Experience Professional with the Customer Experience Professional’s Association.
Heather truly believes that the fastest way to create employee engagement and loyalty is to transform organizational culture into an environment focused on breaking down silos, aligning around a common purpose, empowering employees to do their best work and reinvigorating leaders to take ownership in their role in creating all of it.