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Employee engagement continues to be a hot topic when discussing talent retention. It’s no wonder when the Gallup organization tells us that almost 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged. While there’s a number of reasons why employees feel disengaged, a manager plays a big part in how employees feel within their role.
Unfortunately though, over 58 percent of managers have not received any management training (Careerbuilder). Let that sink in. A majority of managers were only promoted because they were good at what they did, not necessarily because they are good at helping the people around them be better. Because of this lack of training, managers may not realize what they’re doing wrong. Below, we’ve highlighted 7 common leadership mistakes.
1. Not Providing Feedback
You may have an employee that is great within their role, but has a habit of distracting coworkers with long conversations. Instead of giving her this feedback now, you’re going to wait for her yearly performance review. The longer you wait to provide feedback, the longer she will continue distracting employees, causing less work to get done.
While performance reviews serve a purpose, ongoing feedback is critical in maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. However, it’s important to remember that positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback. If you only tell an employee what they need to correct, they may feel like they are not doing anything right and start to mentally check out.
2. Not Making Yourself Available
It’s easy to get so involved in your own work that you forget to make yourself available to your team. Yes, it’s important to complete your projects, but you need to remember that a big part of your responsibility is your people. If you do not make yourself available to them when they need you, they won’t know what to do or have the support and guidance they need to meet their objectives.
3. Being Best Buds
This is not to say that you cannot (or should not) be social and friendly with your team. What it does mean is that as a leader, you will have to make tough decisions that may upset some members of your team and you cannot let personal feelings get in the way of those decisions. Creating boundaries helps ensure that you will be able to make those decisions and prevent people from trying to take advantage of your relationship.
4. Not Setting Clear Goals
You may know what you want your team to accomplish and what steps they need to take to get there, but have you clearly stated that to them? Without clearly defined goals, your people will have a hard time being productive because they don’t know what they’re working towards. They will also have difficulty prioritizing effectively, meaning tasks could be completed in the wrong order, causing setbacks and delays. Avoid this mistake by taking the time to not only state the goal upfront, but map out the steps you’d like the team to take to achieve it.
5. Not Understanding Employee Drives
No one person is the same. What motivates you to get your work done, may actually cause stress to some of your people. If you don’t know how to properly motivate each member of your team, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Using behavioral assessments, or taking the time to ask your people how they preferred to be managed could help ensure they stay engaged at work.
6. Not Delegating
While you may think you’re the only person capable of doing your work correctly, the truth is, you can’t do it all. Not delegating tasks makes your people think you don’t have faith in their abilities and can cause you to burn out. You have to learn to trust your team to accomplish some of your tasks so you have time to focus on the bigger picture.
7. Forgetting Your Role Has Changed
Once you take on a leadership role, your responsibilities change. It’s easy to forget that you are no longer doing the same job and that you need to start using different skills to be effective. And unfortunately, as stated above, many managers have not received any form of management training, so you may be unaware of what skills are required to be an effective manager. Taking initiative and finding resources that discuss management skills is a great first step.
No one is perfect and all managers and leaders make mistakes from time to time. But with today’s limited applicant pool, employee retention is vital. Becoming aware of the mistakes you may be making, and doing your best to correct them can go a long way in keeping your employees engaged and happy in their roles.
From January 24, 2019