Finally, you got that promotion to management you’ve been waiting for. You’re feeling pretty accomplished, and you're motivated to show your superiors they made the right decision. But they’re not the only ones you’ve got to prove it to.
Whether you’ve just taken on a leadership role or you’ve been managing for a while, the signs of a good leader are the same. We all know things like yelling, playing favorites and micromanaging top the list of horrible boss behavior. But here are five more practical tell-tale signs that you’re not an effective manager.
1. You have to keep explaining things that you think your team should have understood by now.
If you’re frustrated that your team still doesn’t quite get something, you may need to look at your communication skills. Consistently having to repeat something may mean your intended message isn’t being received the way you had hoped but rather being misinterpreted. Make sure you’re able to clearly outline goals, deadlines, and purpose and that you’re communicating in a way that works for your team, not just for you!
2. You manage all your team members the same way.
Sure, this sounds like the right thing to do, and for years it was the way things were done. But in today’s evolved office culture, managers need to recognize their people as a individuals. Failing to do so will lead to failure in being able to effectively motivate each person. Why? Because what drives one person on the team to succeed is not the same as what drives another. A good manager will understand the different personalities and motivations and manage each person accordingly to achieve optimal results.
3. When your team member has an issue or a problem, they go to your boss.
This is a clear indication that your employee doesn’t trust you to have their back. Trust is the most important thing for managers to cultivate with the people they manage. If there is no trust, there is no loyalty, and with no loyalty, there is no sense of wanting to do well for the good of the company. This ultimately prevents the employee from feeling part of the greater whole and leaves them to focus solely on their work as an individual which makes managing and motivating them much more difficult.
4. You talk more than you listen.
Unless you’ve really got one really bad apple, you must assume that the individuals on your team all want to do well. It’s up to you to get them there, partially by managing to their motivations and personality, but also by listening to them. You may think you have all the answers, that perhaps they are slacking off just because they can, or start to tell them how their numbers have slipped and your analysis of what’s going on with them and why. While there certainly is room for your opinion, remember that’s all it is. Rather than starting your conversations with all your ideas that they will then be forced to either defend or refute, let them be more in control of the conversation. Ask open-ended questions and let them talk. You’d be surprised how much a struggling employee, and even successful ones, may need to talk about a particular issue, but don’t necessarily feel supported to do so for fear their honesty will be used against them. Open the door for honest dialogue and then really listen to the issues and come up with a plan to make them better.
5. You have to comment on everything.
Part of letting your employees take ownership of their work is to let them have total ownership. Marshall Goldsmith, renowned executive coach, has said that if your comment as a boss only makes something 10% better, it may not be worth mentioning at all. Why? Because this small act can unknowingly undermine the work your employee just put all his/her energy into. A 10% improvement is probably negligible and also quite possibly just a matter of taste or opinion. Rather than coming in and making a comment that, in your opinion, seemingly elevates the project, think twice and ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
Michele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos.