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Managing people can be a tricky business. Everyone is different, with different learning styles and motivators, so people management is far from an exact science. To make things even more difficult, most managers are thrust into the position with little to no management training.
Despite these difficulties, great people management is critical to the success of any business with employees. Employees are a company’s greatest-and most expensive-asset. The following are few of the most common mistakes that are made when managing people, along with some tips on how to avoid them.
Employees are people, with real lives outside of work that sometimes affect the tasks at hand. Understanding this and working to get to know employees can be beneficial for the business and can help to build a close-knit group of loyal and content employees. Knowing what is going on in employees’ lives can help managers to anticipate call-outs and other issues, making reasonable accommodations when needed so that employees can perform to their highest potential.
Some managers take the relationship with employees too far and become friends. This can make it difficult to separate the working relationship from the friendship, sometimes causing an unbalance in which employees lack respect for managers’ authority or managers fail to respect employees’ boundaries. To avoid these issues, managers should keep the relationship within the walls of the company.
Providing feedback can help employees to improve performance issues, identify and continue with desirable behaviors, and develop at a healthy rate-all of which are beneficial to productivity and the bottom line. With tools such as HRIS making it easy to communicate with employees virtually anywhere at any time, there is no excuse for not providing adequate feedback.
Having firm objectives and expectations in place can help employees to feel empowered and engaged. Making every single task a priority or conversely not prioritizing anything can be confusing and frustrating for employees. Managers should set tasks, identify priorities, and be consistent about holding employees to a specified standard.
The perspective of employees is a valuable thing, as they see and work with things on a daily basis that managers don’t. Ignoring employee input or asking employees for input after decisions have already been made can make employees feel as if their opinions don’t matter and can deprive the company of precious insights. Managers should make it a point to really listen to what employees are saying, responding to suggestions promptly.
Managers are responsible for everything that happens in their department while they are on shift. Throwing employees under the bus for mistakes or otherwise making excuses fosters resentment and does nothing to resolve the problem. Owning up to issues and mistakes and being proactive about fixing those mistakes is the best course of action.
No one likes to have someone looking over their shoulder, not trusting them to do the right thing or make decisions. Allowing employees enough autonomy to get the job done will be appreciated and may help to increase productivity.
Some managers make the mistake of stepping away from problems, hoping that the issues will resolve themselves. This can cause problems, especially between employees, to progress to a boiling point. Managers should be consistent and swift about reacting to problems.