Avoiding Ten Management Traps

Who is a manager? Those individuals held responsible and accountable for the proper supervision and leadership of employees. Managers should concern themselves with the key functional areas of planning, organizing, controlling, coordinating and leading.

What should managers be doing? They need to actually manage, not to do the work of those they supervise. This requires being aware and avoiding the ten management traps.

The first trap is being the “best technician” and not being “the best manager possible.” This requires learning and performing all of the functions of management.

The second trap is thinking like an employee. Managers need to think in terms of using what they have and not be making excuses for why something cannot get done.

The third trap is acting like an employee. Managers must protect the employees physically, mentally and emotionally by providing a workplace safe from elements that have no place at work: harassment; bullying; violation of laws; unsafe conditions; gossip, rumor and innuendo; unfair labor practices and all things hindering an individual from doing their job.

Managers who actually do or tolerate any of these things demonstrate poor judgment. These individuals don’t comprehend the potential personal and corporate legal liability exposure that their behavior could cause.

The fourth trap is failure to lead by example. Managers must be an example to all in the company and serve as an ambassador to suppliers, clients, prospects and business partners.

The kinds of example setting that a manager must be willing to do includes: being on time; being organized; being focused; not gossiping; working hard; following through; providing consistent and accurate feedback; setting clear expectations; not playing favorites; following the organization’s policies and procedures and explaining and defending them as necessary.

The fifth trap is the game of keeping score. I have witnessed it many times, managers hearing about incentive programs offered to some departments and not their own pout, complain and talk about how they will retaliate. Or, a meeting is called and some managers are not invited. This immature behavior poisons relationships and smacks of being unprofessional.

The sixth trap relates to the fifth, which is not communicating. Managers are to serve as a conduit from those in leadership positions to those that are not. Information is supposed to go up and down the conduit. A manager who withholds information is not an effective manager and is not a team player.

The seventh trap is a lack of courage. Anyone in management who does not have the courage to ask their boss questions about why they are not included in certain incentive plans or why there not invited to a meeting simply demonstrates why they should not be a manager.

The eighth trap is assuming it is someone else’s responsibility to protect tangible and intangible assets, including reputation, equipment, the physical plant, copyrights, patents, trademarks and client lists that would hurt the organization if lost, stolen or damaged.

The ninth trap is the responsibility to become a better manager; meaning, to continue to learn and improve. No job is guaranteed to last a lifetime; the best investment is to become better at what is done to earn a paycheck.

The last trap is thinking, as an owner, that none of these apply because you are the leader and not a manager. As the owner you are still responsible and accountable for managing all those who work in your company. More importantly, you are responsible for teaching and coaching your managers so that they will be successful as managers.

It has been statistically proven that the relationship between the employee and their immediate manager is linked to profitability and employee retention. Avoiding these traps will go a long way to improving productivity and profits in your company.