Mastering the art of effective people management: avoid these 7 common pitfalls

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Every one of us has, at some point, observed our superiors and thought, “How hard can their job be?” However, once you step into a managerial role, the complexities of effective leadership become all too apparent. While your team members are only responsible for their individual conduct and performance, as a manager you are accountable for everyone’s behaviour and results.

Effectively motivating and managing people involves honing a myriad of “soft skills”. It’s more art than science, but you can start by steering clear of these seven widespread pitfalls.

Neglecting the transition to your new role

If you’ve climbed the corporate ladder to become a manager, it might be tempting to continue your previous responsibilities and maintain the same relationships with your colleagues while leading by example. This approach can backfire for new managers even despite their good intentions.

Being a manager entails embracing an entirely different role than that of an employee, even if it feels unfamiliar. This means mastering the art of delegation, developing and applying essential managerial skills, and cultivating more formal relationships with your colleagues turned subordinates.

Mastering the art of effective people management: avoid these 7 common pitfalls

Egocentric leadership

Some individuals seek power to achieve specific goals and use their authority wisely to make it happen. Others instead desire power simply to assert control and bask in the limelight.

The first type of authority figure typically garners respect, even if they hold high expectations for their team. Conversely, the latter is often despised, succeeding in their professional pursuits but earning the disdain of their peers.

Neglecting to establish structure and objectives

If you’re an ambitious self-starter who thrives on self-direction, congratulations: that’s likely why you were promoted to a managerial role. It’s important to not assume that everyone shares your work style, however. Many employees feel anxious without clear goals and expectations, making it your responsibility to provide and communicate them clearly.

Avoiding micromanagement

Constantly scrutinizing your employees’ every move, offering unsolicited suggestions, and not granting them autonomy sends a clear message: “I don’t trust you.” Effective management hinges on learning when and how to delegate responsibilities wisely.

Inconsistent actions

One of the gravest missteps a manager can make is expecting their employees to adhere to different standards than they do. If you demand sacrifice and extra hours to meet a deadline, you can’t leave the office at 2 pm on a Friday. Nor can you lecture your team about avoiding personal calls while chatting with your golf buddy all day. Managers should lead by example, as “Do what I say, not what I do” doesn’t cut it here.

Maintaining overfamiliarity with employees

While your workplace may foster a friendly environment, it is not a family (unless your family pays people to be there). Therefore, it’s crucial not to blur the lines between professional and personal relationships. While you can have a cordial rapport with your employees, you can’t truly be their friend. Friendship requires a level of personal trust that doesn’t align well with the roles of a boss and an employee, potentially leading to favouritism and office politics.

Taking credit for your employees' achievements

If you want your employees to seek employment elsewhere, start taking unwarranted credit for their contributions. A survey conducted by bambooHR indicates that the number one grievance employees have with their bosses is “taking credit for their employees’ work.” Interestingly, the survey reveals that the number of managers who find this practice acceptable is 20% higher than the number of employees who share that view.

In the intricate realm of leadership, steering clear of these seven pitfalls is the first step toward becoming a truly effective manager within your workplace in a machinery dealership or OEM. Embrace the transition into your managerial role, focusing on mentorship over ego. Provide structure and clear objectives while respecting diverse work styles and know when to delegate rather than micromanage. Consistency in your actions and maintaining professional yet cordial relationships will foster a positive work environment, while crediting your team for their contributions reinforces a culture of trust. Leadership may be an art, but by avoiding these pitfalls, you’re well on your way to becoming the kind of leader your team can genuinely respect and depend upon.

Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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