As a manager, it’s your responsibility to get things done in an office through other people. In order to do that, you need to develop strategies that make people want to help you accomplish the goals, objectives, and strategies of the office. This is a lot easier said than done, but talented managers have learned to use certain techniques and avoid others. Over the years, I’ve seen lots of lists on things managers should avoid. Here are five of my favorites.
Treating the people that report to you unequally is the first no-no. Yes, people are different and have different capabilities, personalities, work habits, etc. They’re also different ages, have different educational and religious backgrounds or beliefs, are of different sexes, etc. In other words, your staff is a pretty eclectic bunch. Even so, if you show favoritism to some employees, you’ll shun others. If you have a few people that aren’t right for your organization, train them or let them go but don’t treat them unequally. Remember how you didn’t like it when someone in your grade school class was the teacher’s pet? The same holds true in the business world.
One of the things good managers attempt to establish is a reputation for doing what they say. That means you have to deliver on what you promise. If you want to destroy your credibility in an instant, just renege on a promise and see how your team reacts. From that point on, they’ll never completely trust you again. To avoid this problem, never promise anything you aren’t certain you can deliver. It’s far better to say, “I’ll try” or “maybe,” instead of promising something and taking it back.
Managers have to learn to take stressful situations in stride. A Marine Corps drill instructor is expected to yell and scream when something is displeasing, but for managers it’s totally unacceptable. It makes people feel humiliated and they lose their respect and loyalty for you. Stay calm and work through the problem methodically instead.
Just because you’re the manager doesn’t mean you can break the rules. The rules and policies of the office are for everyone, including you. In fact, you’re supposed to be the shining example. If you break the rules, they’ll call you out on it when you try to hold them to the rules.
Have you ever heard someone in your office say, “Don’t talk to him today, he’s on the warpath?” “Some days she’s friendly and some days she’s not.” That kind of inconsistent behavior forces people to constantly assess your mood in order to approach you. A good manager learns to maintain a consistent demeanor.