Common mistakes new and inexperienced managers make
new & inexperienced
Compiled by the folks at staffsquared.com
Being slow to deal with performance issues
It’s always best to nip problems in the bud as soon as they appear. If confrontation isn’t your thing this is bound to
be tough but practice does make perfect. Leaving issues to fester means that you’ll have to take stronger action
down the line, so putting it off does neither you nor the employee any good.
Not documenting poor performance
It’s always a good idea to keep a diary of what an employee has done that has resulted in you talking to them. The
more detail the better. Keep track of lateness, including the time they arrived and their reasons. If problems are
related to work make notes of the issue and the knock on effects it had on the business. This will help you to be
much clearer about the problem with the employee when you come to talk to them.
Not documenting good performance
It’s just as important to keep note of the good things the employees in your company have done as it’s all too easy
to suffer from The Recency Effect during staff reviews. In Staff Squared everybody uses the thanks system to give
praise for a job well done, and during reviews we always pull up a list of the thanks the staff member received.
Staff career development
Not getting to know your employees
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer....we kid, we kid! Seriously though, knowing the dreams,
aspirations, type of work desired and other background information about each of your staff is only ever going to be
a good thing when you plan for their development in your organisation. This information will only become available
when your staff get to know and trust you.
Not paying attention to high performing employees
If somebody is smashing the ball out of the park on a regular basis it’s always a good idea to think about ways in
which you can provide them with more job satisfaction. This can include a small shareholding in your business, or if
this isn’t possible giving them access to projects that they’re going to enjoy.
Not investing in developing your employees
Managers often get so caught up in the hunt for new talent that they forget to upskill their existing staff. Your aim
should be to retain the staff you want to keep using career development, and upskilling weaker employees.
Thinking too small
A successful leader creates growth and development opportunities by growing the business. Think about how you
can grow your business by just 10x initially, rather than trying to achieve growth by an order of magnitude
Not explicitly allocating resources
New managers often give teams who have yet to demonstrate their powers of organisation too much say in how to
prioritise their work. This results in suboptimal resource allocation.
Poor delivering on unpopular decisions
The more important and potentially unpopular a decision, the more work that needs to go into managing the
delivery. This arguably applies to managing all relationships. Good managers create time for a Q & A around the
unpopular decision to allow staff to vent and understand. Bad managers blame it on the powers that be.
Being slow to relieve team pain points
Good managers are always tracking their teams pain points and looking for strategic or tactical solutions that fix the
pain and prevent it from reoccurring.
Not investing in sourcing new talent
Good managers source candidates themselves through their personal networks and take ownership over sourcing
in other ways, treating any candidates that the recruiting department sends their way as gravy. Inexperienced
managers are satisfied with whatever recruitment sends them.
Finding good people to fill your team with is as much about tenacity and acting quickly as it is taking the time to
define job requirements and network. Good managers review CVs as soon as they hit their desk, and make quick
hiring decisions. They’re aggressive in getting from offer to acceptance. New managers tend to act more slowly, and
this loses good people to other companies.
Reactive sourcing and recruiting
Good managers are always working to keep in touch with potential candidates even if they’re not actively recruiting.
They have a network of people to call upon when they do need to hire, and any candidates sent to them by their
recruitment department are icing on top.
Not setting down clear expectations for a job role
Inexperienced managers don’t invest enough time thinking about what they need from a new hire. They end up with
generic candidates in generic positions which is never a good idea. Good managers narrow their search profile with
comprehensive job descriptions.
Lowering the bar
Often caused by leaving hiring to the last minute, inexperienced managers then lower the bar in order to fill a
position rather than setting their standards high.
Taking the credit
Inexperienced managers often take all of the credit for their team’s hard work. Experienced managers make a point
of reflecting the credit back in to their team and thank each team member for their individual contribution.
Forwarding the blame
Inexperienced managers will blame members of their team for mistakes. “Sorry we didn’t hit the deadline, Michael
was off sick and Joe was late on project Aardvark which cascaded in to this project”. Good managers accept that
there was a lack of foresight somewhere in their thought process which could be improved and work to make sure
the problem doesn’t happen again.
Let us help
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