Think you would make an excellent office or department manager? Imagine yourself supervising a team and coordinating projects?
It's likely you are well-organized, ambitious, and a self-starter. But do you possess the finer skillset every manager needs to gain respect, inspire hard work, and achieve goals?
It won't matter which industry you work in after business management training—or the size of the office. If you're striving to lead others and direct a team, you are certain to face challenges that are common to practically every new business manager and work environment.
We're here to help you get one step ahead! Get to know the 5 mistakes almost everybody makes when taking over a supervisory role for the very first time.
(You might still fall into one or two of these traps, but that's okay. Becoming an excellent manager takes solid training combined with years of experience. You'll get there.)
Business Management Mistake #1: Throwing Your Weight Around
Finally get promoted to your first supervisor role? Responsible for managing a small team of people at the office?
Chances are, these are the very same people you used to work with, as an "equal". Now that you've assumed the role of manager, you may feel compelled to prove your new authority—in other words, to throw your weight around a little.
Try to resist this impulse. Instead, focus on organizing tasks and supporting each individual on your team. Work at getting to know and building relationships with your staff.
Constantly reminding people that you're the "boss", or even worse, acting superior, will instantly de-motivate your team—not to mention gain you some serious enemies at work!
Business Management Mistake #2: Doing Everything Yourself
Imagine you've been promoted to supervise a small team of sales associates at a retail outlet. Your duties now include hitting sales targets, coordinating work schedules, conducting performance reviews, hiring and firing staff, and managing inventory.
You've got a lot on your plate, and want to ensure everything runs perfectly. To make that happen, you begin micro-managing each team member. Before long, you're doing many of their tasks yourself, instead of coaching your staff to be more efficient, and helping them to learn new skills.
Meanwhile, you're neglecting some of your own key management tasks, and feeling totally overwhelmed. You've fallen into a very common new manager trap: doing everything yourself.
Remember, your job is to divide up work between your team members, and support them to complete those tasks well. Do it all yourself, and your staff will get the message that you don't trust them - so why should they bother working hard?
Business Management Mistake #3: Making Promises You Can't Keep
In order to get new team members "on their side", first-time managers often make big promises they simply cannot keep. For example, you might promise longer breaks, special rewards, or that you'll implement that new office software everyone's been asking for.
It's great to look for ways to make your staff happy and improve their working conditions—but remember, your new-found power has limits. If you over-promise and can't deliver, the team will quickly lose respect for your authority.
Business Management Mistake #4: Ignoring Problem Employees
Many new managers are eager to please, impress their team, and be liked by everyone. And while it's true that you should work hard to build positive relationships, ignoring performance problems is a huge mistake.
If someone on your team is having trouble completing tasks, or can't get along with others, it's important for you to intervene sooner rather than later.
You must protect your staff from toxic behaviors, prove that you can mediate disputes, and ensure each individual has the support needed to do their job well.
Letting problems fester will only slow down productivity, frustrate your team, and undermine your position as a leader.
Business Management Mistake #5: Forgetting to Give Feedback
This is a truly dangerous new manager mistake. Have you ever held a job where the manager never seemed to recognize the effort you put in?
You didn't get praised for your hard work and skills, and nobody showed you how to improve in key areas? You just had to figure it all out for yourself?
You experienced a manager who forgot to give feedback. Why is feedback so crucial? Take a look at this research compiled by the marketing experts at HubSpot:
- companies that provide regular feedback on performance have 14.9% lower turnover rates (employees don't quit as often)
- 40% of employees say they feel disengaged, and stop doing their best, when management provides little or no performance feedback
- when surveyed, 65% of employees said they wanted more feedback
- 69% of employees said they would work harder if their efforts were recognized
- 78% of employees say "being recognized" motivates them in their job
One of your most important tasks as a manager is to carefully observe your staff, and give frequent feedback on what they're doing well, and where improvements are needed.
This feedback should be delivered thoughtfully, with support provided to strengthen weak areas. You should recognize small, daily "wins" as well as major milestones (such as a formal 6-month or yearly performance review).
This is a great way to stay connected to each staff member, and ensure they're supported to do their best. It's important for retention, productivity, and strengthening your own skills as a true leader.
Think you've got what it takes to be a great supervisor or office manager?
Take a look at the Business Management Diploma offered by Herzing College in Ottawa. We've been preparing successful business professionals for over 50 years!
Click below to explore the program, see a list of courses, learn about career paths—or chat live with a friendly advisor. We're here to help you get started.