Initially, I was going to direct this blog series at “new” managers by capturing some of the mistakes they make and distilling them down to those that are most common. After writing an initial draft, I shared what I had written with a number of people whose input I value, to gather their feedback. As expected, the feedback I received was great. However, a piece of advice from one of my peers stood out: “Remove the word ‘new’ from the title.” What a wonderful suggestion! The mistakes we make as new managers are identical to those we make later, even after years of experience.
I was also reminded that there is an infinite number of ways to “mess up” as a manager. For the sake of simplicity and one’s attention span, I landed on this list of eight common mistakes that we will share over the course of the next several weeks.
Mistake #1 – Failing to Listen to Your Team
The most effective managers listen to the members on their team. As a mentor of mine once said, “Use everyone’s brain, not just yours.” As a manager, it is imperative that you seek out and consider your team’s feedback, always remembering that they are often closer to the problems and the opportunities than we are. Great managers create a culture in which team members feel they are free to speak openly about any topic, even if they are the voice of dissension. Great managers encourage team members to express concern, share ideas and even disagree. Consistently seeking out your team’s feedback and unique perspectives can often yield the missing piece of the puzzle that gives us, the manager, the clarity we need to make a sound decision on behalf of our business, our team and our customers.