Boss is picking favourites
Regardless of the world’s tolerance trend, it is normal to like some people more than others. We all have different interests, characters, values, and it is only natural that some people feel closer to some than others. But not for management. To keep your team intact, and to make sure that every person brings their best to the common business table, you have to stay professional and impartial. It is not easy, but spending too much time or giving too much attention to one person can negatively affect others. Picking favourites at work can result in jealousy, feelings of underappreciation, lack of productivity, and an overall toxic environment, each one worse than the other. On top of all negativity, over time, your favourite can also become overly confident and plain lazy, knowing that he or she has secured their position, no matter what. And breaking this bond in favour of a different person can only worsen an already tense situation.
Make sure to have regular reviews of your own and your employees performance (a.k.a 360 performance reviews), listen to what people say, and pay attention to the amount of time you spend with people at work. We don’t recommend isolating yourself from your employees, but if your affection is genuine, it would be much better moving your friendship to after work activities and weekend get-togethers.
However, if you’ve found yourself in a team or company that persistently picks favourites, and you are not one of the “lucky ones”, it might be a better idea to move on. It is most likely that the company culture is not the best match for your personality. So, instead of being upset and feeling under-appreciated, find a place that can offer you a better environment.
People’s person or outcast
Both sides of the spectrum are critical management mistakes. It is imperative to have good and trusting relationships with your employees, but being a “bro” or “sis” is not it. Being too close to employees can trigger similar issues as with having a favourite, just instead of the one person, you involve the whole team. Relationships that are too close, especially with employees can essentially result in lack of respect, laziness, and insubordination.
Barricading yourself in the office on the other hand, will not be any healthier for your position. To manage efficiently you need to know your team, and not only through monthly performance reports. We get it, not everyone is easily outgoing, and having tens of employees might not make the task easier. But, understanding and a little bit of compassion and personal interest can go a long way. Managing employees is a job, so approach it as one. Create a small folder for each of your employees, their marital status, age, interests, time in the company, last raise, etc, review this information before each meeting and update it after each performance review. This information can not only help you build better relationships with your team without getting too close, but it can also help you see the most promising candidates for promotion.
Lack of transparency and one-sided emotions
Have you heard about the almighty “positive thinking”? Is the glass half full or half empty? What people often forget is that life is more complex than a list of cliché statements. No question, it is better to be happy than miserable, but if there is an issue, a smile generally won’t fix the problem. As a manager, your core responsibility is to anticipate and solve issues, not pretend that they don’t exist. Hiding negativity won’t make issues go away, praising poor workers hoping that they will get better will only escalate the problem and hurt those who perform well. Instead, be honest with your team, explain the problem and outline potential solutions. Difficulties can bring people together way faster than false smiles, and their solutions can bring additional respect and admiration. As we said, management is not easy, and sometimes it’s worth showing it.
The same goes the other way, if there is too much negativity and you haven’t had a single mini celebration in months, it’s time to come up with a reason to say thank you to your team and have a few glasses of beer, wine, green tea, or whatever works best for your office culture and environment.
A lack of transparency within a company will trigger more problems. Instead of keeping everyone at ease and not burdening them with what you think may be unnecessary information, will result in gossip and theories that can be much worse than the reality. If you want your employees to be supportive and care for the common cause, make sure you let them be a part of it and see the bigger picture.
Management that isolates their employees from the company’s business, success, and failures are also more likely to be isolated from their employees. This can prevent individual professional growth, and overall company progress by ignoring its own resources.
Internal resource distribution
This happens too often and yet it is rarely mentioned in typical lists of “management mistakes”. Usually it starts with a small extra task that doesn’t have its allocated owner. This task would be passed onto the most suitable or, sometimes, any person that does have some time on their hands. Did you ask your office manager to take more of a personal secretary function? Do you think that it is a good idea to ask your content writer to take care of your social media profiles? Over time, you won’t even notice how you managed to overload your personnel with tasks and roles that are not a part of their job description.
Although it might seem like a good idea to use some open time on your team, in the long run it might lead to some serious issues. First of all, many feel uneasy to say “no” to their manager, and while a random task here and there is ok, in a few months your workers can become unsatisfied with their work simply because they are not doing what they signed up for. Additionally, too many tasks added to their daily list of todos, without much in return, can put too much stress on an employee, resulting in a professional and emotional burnout.
Lastly, without proper training and work experience, your employees will not be as efficient at their additional tasks as professionals would be. Instead of squeezing every last drop out of your current resources, you might end up wasting them. It might be a better idea to use your employees’ free time for additional training or professional courses in preparation for future growth for them on a personal level as well as the company.
As to new tasks and initiatives, even if you don’t need a full-time person, there are many options that could work much better and bring significantly more benefits. Hire professional digital marketing services, find a business consultant, open a part-time secretary position, or you can even start running an internship program.
How to become a better manager?
One of the most valuable advice we can give you is to remember the times your role was not managerial, and always aim to self-reflect. If you work for your team, your employees will stay loyal and work for your business, meeting and surpassing all expectations.