Management comes in many styles, flavors and varieties. Regardless of management style, these are the top 10 management mistakes that I have seen that end up running off employees:
In no particular order:
1. Skip, Reschedule, or Show Up Late to One-On-One Meetings
If you do any of these, your employee will think that they are not important, regardless of how important your other issue was at the time. It’s OK to do it occasionally if some notice is given, but if it becomes a habit, there is a problem.
2. Avoid Tough Conversations
Confrontation is tough, but people who can’t confront issues head-on shouldn’t be managers. Just do it…it pays off better than the alternative.
3. Hire and Retain Under-Performers
This one is the worst on the list as far as I’m concerned. Almost everyone knows how much everyone else makes (point 10 below), so the person crushing it is wondering why they work 2x as hard with 5x the results for 1.3x the pay. "Suck it up" and "We're a team" works for a month or two, then it becomes an issue.
4. Fire People “Unfairly”
If you fire someone on the spot with no warning, that’s not cool. Especially if the person had been underperforming for a while and hadn’t been given direct feedback to improve. “If it happened to them, will it happen to me?”...that's what the rest of the team will start thinking.
When people fear they might get fired, they optimize for not getting fired, which rarely aligns with the company's goals.
5. Place Friendship Above Business
It’s OK for managers to be social with their teams, but if there are deep friendships that blur professional boundaries, others will start talking. The minute things get romantic or enter “best friend” territory, both the manager and the other party will lose the respect of the rest of the team.
6. Take Credit for Other People’s Work
This one is the most junior varsity item on the list. Empower people, don’t steal from them.
7. Block Career Progression
Help your people move up. If there is no “up” in your company, cut a deal with them to crush it as you prepare them for a role in another company. Sure, there will be a void when they leave, but as a career challenge, have them help find and train their replacement…that’s one of the key roles of people in leadership positions!
8. Fail to Give Constructive Criticism
If you cannot give me concise, specific, and accurate criticism on how I can do my job better…then why are you my manager? Get out of my way…I’m going to the top…
9. Give Poor Constructive Criticism
One time an exec sat me down and said, “don’t say ‘please’ in your emails…it sounds like you are whining.” Then he did the 5-year-old kid voice “pllllleeeeeaaasssseee”. LOL!
Where I grew up we were taught to say “please” and “ma’am”…if you think that’s whiney or offensive, that’s cool, but that’s my culture…a culture of respect. Tell me why my prospect discovery questions suck, don’t tell me that my formal writing is whiney. That just tells me you don't understand what I do and have no ability to help me get better.
10. Be Secretive About Compensation
Some companies don’t like talking about compensation. That’s cool, but I can tell you how much everyone made at every company I’ve ever worked at…everyone talks. If you give one employee a certain deal, others will find out about it, and some people might be upset. Everyone needs to cut deals, but adding a layer of secrecy is not helpful to anyone.