We all like to think of ourselves as great managers, but there are many disgruntled employees who might not agree. Even if you give a sincere, concentrated effort toward being a great manager, you still might fall short. If you feel like your efforts aren’t matching your managerial output, this is for you.
Gone are the days of the 1950s executive who shouts at employees and whips them into shape. Overwhelmingly, employees want to like their bosses. One of the best management examples in my career is the worst boss I ever had—berating, intimidating, belittling people in front of others. Any time I need a check on how I’m managing, I compare to him and make sure there is NOTHING similar in my approach.
Instead of criticizing your next employee who makes a mistake, try highlighting another employee who’s performing well. If you think that you have to berate your employees to get results, then the issue is that you’ve hired the wrong people.
Generally, people will appreciate it when the boss jumps in to help out. However, they’re far less likely to appreciate the boss jumping in to micromanage. When giving feedback to your employees, take a moment to consider: Is this helpful, or am I getting in the way? I sometimes go so far as to just ask this question directly, and often the answer is productive in building a relationship with that person.
If you find that you’re accidentally micromanaging, try to take a few steps back. Give your employees clear guidelines, then let them work toward your goals in their own ways. Oftentimes, I find that this gives me happier employees and much better results.
It isn’t all about people who nitpick or yell, though. Complacent leaders can be just as ineffective as overbearing ones. While it’s nice to imagine yourself as the cool, laid-back boss, you could be in real danger of becoming a boss who ignores major issues.
Consider what “laid-back” means to you. Are you giving employees space to work, or are you failing to set clear guidelines? Do you encourage employees to be active problem solvers, or do you leave problems for others to solve? Be very careful that you don’t cross the line from “relaxed” to “negligent.”
Very rarely is someone naturally a “perfect” manager. We all make mistakes, learn from them, and adjust. If you’re falling into any of these common managerial pitfalls, it doesn’t make you a bad boss. It just means that you need to start looking for solutions.