4 Mistakes Managers Make that can Derail an Organization - Part 1

Whether you are a new manager or seasoned leader, there are four mistakes that can have potentially devastating effects to your team, your organization and to your future. In this two part article; The Mistakes Managers Make, I will share the common pitfalls that can derail even the seasoned leader accompanied by examples and solutions, followed by coaching questions to support your own transformation.

While the following mistakes may seem basic, they can actually be devastating to an organization.  Anyone from the novice manager up to the veteran leader is susceptible to committing them.  If the mistakes are not caught early, they can derail the best of intentions and send someone who has a natural ability to lead, (just in need of some tender, mentoring care) back to the file ranks of time-clock punchers. Such mistakes can be catastrophic to the potential of our teams and our leaders.

Each mistake has simple action steps to correct but may require the support of a skilled coach or mentor to navigate successfully.

Mistake #1: Forgetting there is no "I" in Team.

There is more power in a ‘We’ environment than a ‘Me, My or I’ hierarchy. Good managers forget about themselves and focus on the good of the whole to empower and lift others up for success.

New managers that have only managed workload and not people are often primary offenders of “me vs. we.” With no training or mentoring, their selfish behavior can tear at the psyche of the team and each individual who was a part of it.

Ultimately, the team will begin to sabotage the manager just to prove a point or get proper acknowledgment. The members of the team may stall on completing projects, avoid showing for meetings, and start taking their offense to anyone who would listen.

It takes a collective effort to identify areas for improvement and expansion of capacity to ensure overall success. It is crucial to provide mentoring, coaching and support to single minded managers to support them in identifying their natural leadership style.

Remember: Just because an individual knows the work, does not make them a manager of people.  They may not be the right person for the job. If you have a team that is under producing, start at the top, and ask for input from all.

Mistake #2: Micromanaging.

Holding things so close to the cuff can squelch creativity and self-motivation toward the desired outcome. Constant hovering, checking in, nagging, questioning and reworking the work of your team creates a sense of apathy in all. Employees don’t want to work hard if they are going to be corrected, redone or rejected for not doing it ‘right.’

One executive in an institution for higher learning was having difficulty with his team leaders being accountable to what they had committed to doing.  This executive was so on edge with his key leaders within the organization; their lack of follow-through was putting him on the hook with the board of directors.  When we dug into the challenges through coaching and got past the finger pointing, the root of the problem became evident. This leader and his team had placed such heavy restrictions on each other that they were paralyzed as a whole.

The cause, this executive was not letting go of ‘how things get done’ and was not allowing their people to creatively solve problems together.  Conveniently, the team around him was pointing fingers back and succumbing to their own negative self-talk by blaming vs. collaborating toward a solution.

Together, we broke down the walls by acknowledging insecurities, hurt feelings and frustrations. We put action steps in place for course correction, and co-created new ground rules and working guidelines.  The new culture created an environment where people no longer wait to be told exactly what to do; they are free to take lead on executing the deliverables. Ultimately, the overall accountability resulted in streamling services and saving jobs.

Coaching Questions:

  1. What has your experience been with ‘micro managing?’
  2. What environment are you creating as leader?
  3. When you consider the “I,” or “Me vs. We” factor in managing, what side of the pendulum do you reside?
    HINT: (You may want to ask for feedback from your team too.)