Top Ten Myths About Managers

There are many people who are in the dark as to exactly what a manager does on a day-to-day basis, and overall. And this not only applies to non-managerial personnel, it applies to some managers as well. Managerial myths abound and clearing them up will help managers, and non-managers, alike. Below are the top ten myths that all employees incorrectly believe about management.

You have to yell a lot

Two women talking in office
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Not true. Smart managers don't yell a lot. Of course, sometimes it's necessary, but those times are the exception. As a manager, if you find you're doing a lot of yelling you need to investigate why. If it's because people aren't doing what you tell them to do, make sure you're providing clear instructions. 

Often, it's when you speak softly that the other person tends to actually listen more closely. This approach stops them from talking and changes the tone of the conversation.

Managers don't do anything

Many employees think their managers don't do anything because they don't see them do anything other than wandering around the office talking to people. They don't realize that managers work just as hard as they do; they just work on different tasks.

When you see a manager wandering around talking, he or she may be getting clarification of department goals and objectives. Or, they may be discussing ways to improve cooperation with other departments or working to build employee morale. Much of the duties and responsibilities of a manager may not look like work but in reality are just as difficult as any task done by their employees.

Also, any manager who became a manager thinking they would have nothing to do will quickly find themselves demoted or out of a job.

It's all about meeting goals and hitting targets

Metrics and KPI are the numbers that businesses use to measure progress toward goals. The important thing to remember is that the goals are important, not the measurements. You can hit your numbers every time, and still not achieve your goals so don't get lost in the counting game. Instead, keep your eye on the target. If you're meeting your numbers, but not getting to your goals, take a look at what's wrong with the numbers.

You can't be fair if you want to keep your top people

Fair doesn't equate to equal. You have to treat all employees fairly but that doesn't mean you treat all employees the same. That's because top performers get the most rewards because they earned them. Fairness has to do with how you treat all the employees. If you have a policy that everyone has to be at their desk at 8 am sharp and you ignore a top performer who consistently comes in at 8:30 am (while reprimanding others), you're not being fair. That kind of favoritism will quickly undermine your effectiveness as a manager because you'll lose the loyalty and dedication of your staff.

Managers are just planners

This is a big one because, yes, good managers do a lot of planning but it's one of a few key elements of Management 101. Once the plan is in place, managers have to track progress against the plan and take corrective action if there is any deviation.

Managers make more money

In many cases this is true, but the trend is changing. Many companies are realizing that management requires a different skill set but not necessarily a better one. Technical employees, especially in technology companies, are frequently paid more than their managers. This usually occurs with senior-level IT professionals aligned with more junior, front-line managers, but can occur almost anywhere in the hierarchy.

It's hard to become a manager, but easy when you get there

See Myth Number Two above. The people who believe that it's easy once you become a manager don't understand the difficulty and complexity that comes with every managerial position.

On the other hand, it's not as difficult to become a manager as some think, especially if you start out as a project manager.

You have to be available to your team 24/7 to be a good manager

Yes, as a manager you will probably work longer hours than anyone else on your team, but that doesn't mean you have to be available around the clock. Managers need breaks to recharge their batteries just like everyone else. Whether it's going out for lunch instead of eating at your desk or getting away for a well-deserved vacation you have to relax, rewind, and recharge. Otherwise, you'll burn out and be no good to anyone.

It's easier if I do it myself

Perhaps the biggest mistake managers make is thinking that just because they can do something better and faster than anyone on their team, they should do it themselves, especially if it's an important task. Actually, the opposite is true. Your boss didn't get to be a boss without learning to delegate and surely will notice if you don't delegate. Also, when you delegate, you are training your team and enabling them to become more proficient. This ultimately increases the productivity of your team and makes team members happier.

You have to be the smartest person on the team

Not true. Of course, you have to be smart to be a good manager but a good manager takes advantage of the skills and talents of everyone on the team. If someone on your team is a better artist than you, let them work on the presentation materials. If an employee is a better listener, assign them to the cross-functional team that requires good listening skills. Don't try to compete with your staff, use their talents to the fullest and everyone benefits.