By Colleen Kettenhofen

Many managers, supervisors and team leaders are promoted to leadership positions based on their “hard skills” or technical skills. Yet, as new managers, most of them have never had any formal training in people skills, and how to communicate effectively. And now, they’re managing people! In over eleven years conducting management skills training, here are what I see as the seven most common mistakes managers make:

  1. Practicing favoritism when managing friends and former colleagues. Don’t socialize all the time with that one friend, and not include other workers. If you’re going to socialize with a close friend you manage, make certain you socialize with your other employees as well. For example, if you go to lunch with a friend you supervise, make a point of including the others. Beware the “boss’s pet ” problem. In other words, others will look at your relationship with that person as being based solely on a friendship.
  2. Poor delegation. As managers, many of us are doers. Let’s face it. We like control. And that usually means we are not delegating enough. Years ago as a new manager, I used to think, “Well, if I want it done right I better do it myself.” Or, “In the time it takes me to train someone, I might as well do it myself.” Don’t give the work to someone else because the difficult employee works too slowly or makes mistakes. Don’t do it all yourself either. Remember, your job is to help grow, develop and mature the employee. If you don’t want to delegate a whole project to an employee, at least delegate a role within that project.
  3. Poor communication. And often, not really having an “open door” policy. A big complaint from employees is the manager who is not sharing job knowledge, skills and ideas. It makes employees feel intimidated. They don’t feel supported. If you want to be seen as someone who practices effective management skills, it’s imperative that you practice good people skills. Work on your communication.
  4. Not being flexible to change and open to new ideas. Be open to what employees have to say. Even if you don’t always agree. At least acknowledge them. It shows you’re open-minded and a good listener. Part of being an effective manager or supervisor means practicing good listening skills.
  5. “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. For example, the manager emphasizes that employees must report to work on time, but he/she is always late themselves. If you’re going to be late, make sure employees understand it’s for a good reason. Such as the fact that while you arrive late, you also work late. Like it or not, they look to you as a role model. To see if you’re practicing what you preach.
  6. No giving credit where credit is due. You know what it’s like if you’ve ever had a manager or supervisor who took YOUR great idea and ran with it. They take the credit. And, if the idea doesn’t work, they blame it on you! Give credit to an employee where credit is due. Give specific, immediate praise where it is warranted. Behavior rewarded is behavior repeated.
  7. Micromanaging. This is a huge mistake that managers and supervisors make. I hear about it all the time. And, from many managers themselves…about their own managers! Let the employee do their work. Otherwise, it makes them feel you don’t trust them. Or, that you don’t have confidence in them.

“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right,
but it takes a slightly bigger man to acknowledge instantly
and without reservation that he is in error.”
General Peyton C. Marsh

March 13, 2007

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen’s contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article. Colleen Kettenhofen is a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of “The Masters of Success ,” featured on NBC’s Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. For free articles, video clips, and e-newsletter, visit Colleen’s area of expertise are leadership, managing people, life balance, difficult people, presentation skills. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.


She can be reached at contact information listed below:

Colleen Kettenhofen

(971) 212-0479


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