Being a great manager is tricky and can oftentimes seem like a delicate balancing act. You have to walk the line between providing constructive criticism and praise. You need to oversee projects without micromanaging. You also want your employees to like you, but also respect you at the same time. This can be an incredibly difficult task and much of it comes down to trial and error. That said, as you work toward figuring out how to become the best manager, here are a few tactics you definitely want to avoid along the way.
Being the “Best Friend Boss”
While it’s a natural human tendency to desire acceptance, you have to walk a fine line when you assume the responsibility for a group of people in the workplace. It’s one thing to want your employees to feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns, but you want to be careful about trying too hard to earn their respect. You shouldn’t do things because you want your employees to think you are the cool boss. Rather, every decision you make should be intentional and should benefit the company. Be cautious about joking too much, getting too personal with employees, or hanging out outside of the office. This can make it difficult to handle problems when they arise. You need to avoid blurring the lines between boss and employee and learn to distinguish between private and personal space.
Of course, as a manager, it’s your job to make sure your employees are performing well and completing their work on time. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stand over their shoulder watching every move they make. Likewise, you want to avoid telling them how to do their jobs. Employees don’t need their manager pressuring them to do things their way and controlling every move they make. Instead, they need someone who trusts them, supports them, and empowers them to reach their goals.
Not Handling Conflict
Conflict is inevitable in the workplace and it’s not always easy to handle difficult employees. That said, your team will not respect you if you turn a blind’s eye to problems in the office. A great leader tackles problems head on and deals with issues as soon as they arise. Otherwise, you risk creating a toxic environment and increased turnover.
Not Making Time for Employees
There’s no question that a manager’s schedule is very busy, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to forget about making time for your team. Not making time for your employees is a critical mistake. You need to be available when they need to talk with you. You also need to make it a point to meet with them on a regular basis and encourage two-way communication. Even if you have a team that is highly qualified to carry out their jobs, without your coaching and feedback, they miss opportunities for growth.
Setting Unrealistic Goals
There’s no question that a manager should strive to pull the best out of their employees, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair to set them up for failure with unrealistic expectations. Avoid setting the bar too high and focus on communicating well and setting reasonable tasks that are achievable.