THE ONLY WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT
WHO DON'T MAKE ANY MISTAKES
ARE THE ONES WHO DO NOTHING!
Mistakes happen! They happen because we are human. Look at Christopher Columbus! He discovered America by mistake. If he had fallen into a state of analysis paralysis this whole discussion would be moot.
I'm not advocating rash, knee-jerk reactions, especially in your role as a woman new to management. I'm just advising you not to pile unnecessary pressure on yourself and not to be afraid you'll slip up. Chances are pretty good that your company will survive it if it happens. After all, we're not talking failed brain surgery here . . . at worst, just a little embarassment.
The Most Frequent Mistakes
By Women New to Management
Even though managers come from all walks of life and many different cultural, philosophical and experiential backgrounds, there are ten mistakes most will make sooner or later, however unintentionally. If you are aware of them ahead of time, you can avoid making them and take some of the heat off yourself during this hectic transition. The mistakes are:
1. Putting Policies Ahead of People. Company policies generally fall into two categories:
Strict observance. No flexibility.
Relating to employee safety and security
Dealing with handling propriety company information
Relating to the law
And others of this type
Management guidelines. Some flexibility.
Dealing with employee compensation packages
Dealing with customer issues
Relating to hiring and terminating employees
And others of this type
The bottom line here is to learn your company's policies and clarify anything you don't understand. Adhere to policies unless they jeopardize a customer or employee relationship, but always talk it over with your boss if you feel you need a policy exception.
(Personally, I wish I had a dime for every time I heard someone say "because it's company policy". I've always suspected people use that as a conversation stopper when they don't know what else to say.)
2. Failure to Communicate. If your employees don't know where you want them to go, any road will get them there, leaving them frustrated with you, their jobs and the company. Goals, objectives and priorities need to be mutually agreed upon for the highest level of commitment and reinforced by you in ways that are respectful and allow for discussion to ensure they are understood.
3. Failure to hear what employees really say. Some managers make the mistake of listening but not really "hearing" what their employees say. There's a big difference. Learn to read their body language and listen for changes in tone of voice because your employees may be sending signals that they mean something very different from what they are vocalizing.
4. Giving the impression you have all the answers. A truly good manager acknowledges that he or she can't solve every problem. Your employees will respect you for that. Be honest up front about the issues that are outside your sphere of influence, but let your employees know that you will take their concerns up the line if you can't fix them.
5. Focusing on the negative. If you keep your focus on the positive, it will be contagious and keep morale and motivation high. Consider how hard it would be to work in an office where you anticipated the flip side of that coin every day.
6. Failure to accept responsibility. Being a manager means taking responsibility for whatever happens on your watch, even if it isn't your fault. If you want your team to be a winner, follow these guidelines:
If anything goes badly, say "I did it".
If anything goes semi-well, say "We did it".
If anything goes really well, say "You did it".
7. Favoritism is a team wrecker. I know its hard not to prefer some team members to others, but the minute you let it show, you lose the credibility and respect of everyone else on the team. Make it a personal goal to favor every individual on the team for something unique and special to him or her.
8. "Just Do It". The Nike slogan doesn't work when your employees are trying to understand the importance of a certain goal or the process needed to reach it. Take the time to explain what the goal is all about and solicit their input for the best way to achieve it. Again, if the ideas are theirs, they will be more invested in the decision.
9. Tech Overkill. Many of today's first-time managers are more tech-savvy than they are people-savvy. Avoid hiding behind e-mails in lieu of face-to-face meetings. You could miss one of the most rewarding parts of being a manager - the interaction with the people on your team.
10. Never Change. You may be more comfortable sticking with tried and true methods in some areas, but today's business environment is changing so rapidly that you need to be comfortable adapting to changes as they occur. Be flexible.
Above all, don't dwell on the mistakes you might make. If your heart is in the right place, simply follow your instincts and they'll probably never happen.
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