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Management: Don't do this

The path to effective, successful management is a long and confusing route. There are many traps to be avoided along the way, especially for someone with little management experience. Surprisingly, even experienced managers fall into these traps blindly. It’s not uncommon, just human nature.

Here is a list of typical bad management behaviors to avoid:

Don't act like you know everything.

Instead, act human. Show an interest in learning new things; it will spark similar interest in your employees. Aiming to maintain an air of authority and dignity is not a good idea. That’s called acting. People don’t react well to this kind of posturing. If you carry on as if you know everything, someone will eventually make a fool out of you.

Don't pretend you are right all the time.

Instead, admit you are wrong when you are wrong. And if you did something wrong, apologize. It won't hurt. In fact, experience shows that it will actually gain you some added respect. Yes, being human earns respect.

Don't exclude employees, especially any specific individual on an on-going basis.

This breeds mistrust. In fact, even the slightest perception that you are mistreating an employee, or playing favorites, can lead to poor morale or spark a rebellion.

Instead, be inclusive as much as possible. Involve everyone in the team effort. Let everyone know they are playing an important part in achieving team goals. Speak to EVERYONE on your team EVERY DAY, and do so in a sincere manner.

Don’t stop planning.

Instead, take the time to make a plan. No plan, no future. Always strive to have a plan to improve operations. Yes, it takes time. Yes, you have deadlines. But don’t stop planning. Stay late or come in on the weekend once in a while to work on your planning. Work on a plan at home during a time when it’s quiet if necessary. Every leader needs time to dissect their tasks and objectives. Take the time to prepare your plan; it will save you time in the long run.

Don’t stop training.

Instead, maintain a vigorous on-going training program that addresses the needs of your staff. Do this in addition to the basic training and orientation that you provide when welcoming a new staff member. You are their coach. If you don’t keep up with a challenging training program along with refresher courses, your team will stagnate, become distracted and begin looking for work elsewhere.

Don’t withhold useful information.

Instead, share information that your staff members can use to improve their performance. Don’t keep it to yourself, strutting around as the all-knowing genius. The more your staff knows about your industry, the more they will improve. An informed, knowledgeable staff will only make you look better. In addition, provide information about the status of your company as needed. Use your discretion.

Don’t share too much. Don’t share company information or rumors that will send the staff into a panic.

Instead, use your better judgment when sharing news of the company. No matter how bad things look, keep your staff focused on their daily responsibilities. Even if the company is falling apart, make sure your part of that company is solid, functioning and respected. There’s nothing wrong with being honest about the company within reason. If your employees really start grilling you about how things are going, let them know in a sincere manner that you are not allowed to disclose all the information. Let them know that you are counting on them to be professional enough to accept this fact, and to carry on as professionals. After all, you and your staff are all in this together.

Don’t take credit for your employee’s quality work or ideas.

Instead, give credit where credit is due. Share the glory with your employees. Spread it around. Make your people feel good about themselves, their work and working with you. This will breed contentment. Doing the opposite breeds resentment. When your employees look good in the eyes of the higher-ups, you look good.

Don’t place blame on others.

Instead, do your best to shield your team from the wrath of higher-ups. Don’t make excuses; it really makes you look bad. It’s your team, so who ultimately gets the blame? You do. When things aren’t going well, don’t blame your staff. Take action to improve the situation. Ask for help if you must. Do what you can to solve the problem or to prevent the same error from occurring again. Yes, you should hold people accountable for their errors. Yes, there should be consequences for those who make glaring errors, but deal with the problem internally.

Don’t gossip or share rumors.

Instead, be professional and only discuss business facts with your fellow business people. Don’t fall into the rumor trap. Remember: you are a journalist; you only deal in facts. Falling into the rumor trap lowers your reputation among your colleagues.

Don’t try to be everyone’s friend.

Instead, maintain a professional relationship with your employees. There is nothing wrong with being friendly, but you don’t have to be friends with everyone. As a matter of fact, trying too hard to be well liked will have the opposite affect. You don’t have to be popular, but you absolutely must be respected. Otherwise, you will lose your effectiveness as a leader. In addition, befriending your employees sets you up for possible compromising situations.

Don’t panic. Whatever you do, no matter how bad things get and no matter how bad the news is, DO NOT Panic.

Instead, keep a clear head, and remain calm and cool. Your employees can sense fear. Shut yourself in your room for a while or take a walk until you calm down if you must. You must never blurt out something that will indicate that things are not going well. If you do, you will cause a stampede. Your staff will mimic your behavior. Always display a calm exterior. It’s a good thing to show enthusiasm for the success of your staff, but when it comes to bad news, it’s best to keep your emotions in check. You are a leader; behave like one.

Don’t flaunt.

Instead, share your good fortune or keep it quiet. You are the boss. Maybe you know some things your subordinates don’t. Maybe the big boss takes you to lunch. Maybe you just got a big raise or a bonus. Don’t show off. Keep it to yourself. It’s very likely your employees are not so fortunate. “Let them eat cake” is not the appropriate attitude. No matter how good your fortune is, you can’t afford a rebellion among your workers. It might result in your head rolling into a bucket.

Don’t lord over your employees. Instead, roll up your sleeves and help out during deadline. Be one of the workers. Help your team. You were not hired to start your own private fiefdom. No matter how much you know or how privileged you are at work or how extravagant your title or how much you get paid, don’t assume you are high and mighty. Treat your employees with respect. Otherwise, you will take a long, painful fall.

Don’t play favorites.

Instead, treat everyone fairly. Everyone has his or her golden employees who seemingly can do no wrong. That’s fine; they should be rewarded accordingly. But be extremely careful not to take it too far. Remember, this is a job, not a game. Placing an employee on a pedestal at work will make that person’s work life extremely uncomfortable for them due to resentment by fellow employees. Plus, it will make you extremely unpopular.

Don’t pick on anyone. Instead, do everything in your power to help each of your employees succeed. It’s not unusual to have an employee who is not as talented or lacks the skills of other teammates. You are their coach; help them out. Don’t draw attention to anyone’s weaknesses. You must never insult anyone’s dignity; it will only work against you.

Don’t tease your employees.

Instead, leave them alone to focus on their work. Ask them if they need help. This is not a game. The workplace is not your personal playpen. It’s a place employees go to put in their time for a solid paycheck, and they expect a decent environment. They deserve dignity and respect. Maybe they’ll give you some in return.

Don’t have grandiose delusions.

Instead, live within reality and practice humility. Maybe you are brilliant. Maybe you’re a superstar. Let’s assume you really know what you are doing. That’s great, but keep it to yourself. Live by the classic journalism rule “show, don’t tell.” Show your staff how to do things. Show them how good a leader you are by helping them succeed. Be a good leader through your actions, don’t tell everyone you are a good leader.

Don’t set a bad example.

Instead, live up to the same standards you require of your subordinates. Lead by example. Don’t assume you are exempt. Don’t be late, don’t miss deadlines, don’t play hooky, don’t be a spoiled brat and don’t be childish. Your employees will pattern their behavior after yours. If you act like you don’t care, neither will they.

Don’t settle for things remaining the same.

Instead, do your best to continually improve and upgrade your operations. Keep up with the training and evaluations.

Involve your staff. Ask them, “How can we adjust to make things smoother?” Always keep moving toward progress and improvement.

If there is an ongoing flaw or a dilemma of some sort that hampers your operations, do whatever you can to fix it. You are the leader; don’t be lazy. Be resourceful and take action.

Don’t ignore the obvious.

Instead, address the obvious problems. You must never allow a problem to go unsolved, and you must never ignore it. If there is a glaringly bad situation that has developed in your workplace, do everything in your power to fix it. Ask for help if you must. Formulate a plan to better the situation, and let your employees know about what you intend to do about the situation. Follow through on your plan and inform your employees of its progress.

The rush of deadline and the grind of the daily routine can take a toll, and it’s easy to lose track of how we appear to our staff. Take some time to review this list, and use it as a quick look in the management mirror.

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