Five Common Management Mistakes

March 24, 1999
Managers have a tremendous impact on the productivity of their employees. Motivation, performance and effectiveness are not all in the hands or the control of the employees of an organization. Managers need to be aware of the way in which they influence directly or indirectly their employees’ behavior, actions and decisions. Here are five of the more important ones.

Corporate culture.
Corporate, organization and department culture all flow from the top down. The written and unwritten rules, policies and philosophy of a manager or the organization all eventually find their way into the attitudes and performance of everyone in the organization. The first thing you should remember is that unwritten and written rules must be compatible, not contradictory (practice what you preach). One of the other critical things to remember when dealing with people is: you get the behavior you reward. If the culture directly or indirectly rewards a certain type of attitude or behavior you are by your actions or inaction’s are probably reaffirming that these are acceptable. If you want to change behavior you must first evaluate the reward systems that are in place that are rewarding the type of behavior you are getting.

Communication style.
Rumors, hearsay, memos, e mail’s, meetings, individual counseling sessions, bulletin boards etc. all have one thing in common -- they communicate information more effectively and timely than other ways. If communication in an organization is all top-down you can be assured that you are not in touch with the realities of your organization, the marketplace, your customers or suppliers.

Organization direction.
One of the biggest challenges managers face today is how to effectively communicate corporate direction with clarity and consistency to all employees who have a right and need to know. Most organizations do a poor job of this at best. One way to find out what your people believe is to conduct an anonymous survey of attitudes, perceptions and opinions.

Decision making.
Many managers make decisions that other employees will either have to implement or will affect them. If these decisions are made without bottom-up feedback you can guarantee that the outcome of the decisions will be less than desired or expected.

Feedback mechanisms.
Employees want to know how they are doing whether poorly or well. Failure to give them the feedback they need keeps them in the dark regarding their assessment of their performance and how and where they need to or can improve. It is also de-motivating.

SOURCE: Tim Connor, Connor Resource Group, Davidson, NC. Phone: 800/222-9070.