10 More Dumb Things Managers Do

Common Sense Behaviors Managers Can Exhibit Instead

Sad, frustrated, beautiful woman at work
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Want to know more dumb things that managers do? You can avoid doing the dumb things that managers do that undermine their effectiveness–if you know what they are. Sometimes managers make bad decisions or develop bad habits that are actually undermining the abilities of their staff members to do quality work.

As such, creating impediments to getting their work done is one of the top ten reasons that employees are likely to hate their managers. In an interview with a successful senior manager about the common mistakes managers make managing people, he said that most frequently he finds that managers make the mistake of assuming that you know what's going on.

He also added his favorite quote from Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator, and author, "Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done."

If you want to become an effective, contributing manager, it's a good idea to make sure you can avoid the bad management traps that keep you from effectively managing employees and projects. Start with self-awareness as you consider the shortcomings in your own management style.

1. Overburdening Employees

Requiring written reports and updates that gather dust on shelves, asking for written proposals before giving the go-ahead on projects, and holding endless meetings so you remain in the loop on everything is just plain bad management.

To be more efficient, decide what you need to know and when, establish a critical feedback path for each job and project, and hold your weekly meeting with your reporting staff members. Make sure the employees understand the goals and that they have enough information to make informed decisions. Then get out of their way.

2. Acting Like a Lazy Slacker

Employees who are responsible for picking up the slack for lazy managers are resentful and unhappy. Nothing makes a work environment seethe with negativity more quickly than having a slacker boss.

Stories about bosses who surf the web and chat on Facebook all day are prevalent in social media. When working on the computer may make the world think you are actually working, don’t think that you can get away with slacking. Your employees know and may even be clocking your time online.

Employees don't need to know every detail of everything you do as their manager, but they still should be able to see and define what you contribute to the team. If they don't understand your role, address that issue as a problem with a lack of communication.

3. Focusing on the Complainers

If employees who complain get most of your attention, you will turn all of your reporting staff members into complainers and whiners. This will occur especially if other employees perceive that the problems of the complainers are solved first.

This is damaging to motivation if your employees think that the complainers receive more resources and attention from you. Good managers are responsive to all of their reporting employees and prioritize problems and opportunities based on their impact on department goals and work.

4. Sharing Too Much Personal Information

Your employees may listen politely when you talk about the details of your personal life—after all, who wants to be on the bad side of the boss? However, they really don’t care, and they really don’t want to know. Furthermore, excessive details can chip away at their respect for you and your competence as a manager.

As a manager, you make a positive contribution at work when you are friendly to colleagues and show your human side. However, most of your focus and leadership needs to focus on work. What employees need from you is the information that will facilitate their success. 

5. Mind Reading

Never make assumptions about what an employee is doing, thinking, or planning without asking the employee. Don’t assume that you know, or can conclude from what you see, that you understood what the employee meant. This is especially important in situations that might lead to disciplinary action. If you make false assumptions, you could irreparably harm your working relationship with an employee.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, get an explanation from the employee. It may turn out that the employee has a method of being productive that you don't understand.

6. Gossiping

Your relationship with the employees who report to you must remain confidential, and if it doesn't, whatever respect they had for you likely will be gone forever. Additionally, other staff members will disrespect you for taking part in gossip.

As a supervisor, you should be stopping office gossip, not participating.

7. Too Little Information

Some managers fail to communicate because they hoard information as power. Others fail because information gets lost in their day-to-day busyness. Other managers fail to understand or assess the impact of the information on the employees in their department. Whatever the reason for withholding information, it's counterproductive.

Employees need all of the information that you can offer to effectively perform their jobs, and you are the source of much of the information that your employees receive. They adapt much better to change when they know that the changes are coming. Make it a point to keep your staff abreast of changes or other relevant information, no matter how small.

8. Assigning Personal Work

Employees resent doing your personal work and it does not move your department any closer to accomplishing goals. Personal work can be anything running personal errands to completing tasks that should be completed by you as the supervisor.

Do your own job and run your own errands. Your employees will respect you more and be more willing to step up and do work that is actually relevant to their own jobs.

9. No Honest Feedback

Holding back information and not conducting performance reviews that would have helped an employee grow is just plain wrong. Additionally, misuse of an annual appraisal destroys employee trust and creates an environment in which employees are afraid to make mistakes. Telling an employee at the annual review that you are rating her 3 or 4 instead of 5 because everyone has room to grow is nonsense. Equivalently, telling a good employee that he is rated a 3 so that he has something to aspire to, destroys—not increases—motivation.

Every employee needs feedback regularly. Effective feedback occurs as close to the incident or occurrence as is humanly possible. It also should come as part of a regular performance review.

10. Indecision

A manager who vacillates about goals, changes his mind, moves the group in new directions based on new feedback at the drop of a hat, and never seems sure of the appropriate direction, will make employees crazy. These managers alienate employees who are asked constantly to start, restart, and change direction.

The best managers are leaders and provide their employees with the sense that they can be counted on to make decisions. The employees may not always like or agree with the decision, but they believe that the manager carefully considered the facts and reached a thoughtful decision. It is much easier to follow a manager who will make a decision and execute the required actions.