You're Aren't as Great a Boss as You Think, but You Could Be

Because they're human, most managers somehow aggravate or undermine their teams without realizing it.
You're Aren't as Great a Boss as You Think, but You Could Be
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Guest Writer
Investigative News and Tech Journalist
5 min read
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As a manager, you might think you are doing a great job leading your employees. In reality, you might be making common mistakes causing damage within the company that may require several years of recovery. The good news is if caught early, the factors that may lead to such great damage can be addressed, allowing you to correct the course.

Related: 8 Books Every Manager Should Read to Become a Better Leader

Below, we look at four signs you’re the source of the current troubles in your organization and ways to get you back on track.

1. You dictate the company culture.

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, company culture is more important than compensation when it comes to employee satisfaction. If that’s the case, shouldn’t the management be actively involved in creating company culture? Of course. However, because the culture develops as the company grows and includes every person working within the company, the decisions around it need to rely on input from the majority -- the employees -- rather than the minority -- management.

While certain elements of your behaviour might influence the culture to a significant degree, it’s a mistake to think you are the culture.

Fix: Instead of trying to shape the company culture according to your ideas, hand over that responsibility to the employees, and listen to their feedback.

Here are some other things you can do to foster the right approach to company culture:

  • Take note of the current culture first
  • Be a participant in the discussions around the local culture
  • Communicate not just with words but with behavior
  • Separate the elements that are dampening the culture from those that are contributing to its growth, addressing the former and supporting the latter

2. You engage in slow decision-making.

Whether it’s the volatile emerging markets, unpredictably big shifts in capital markets or the possibility of a recession, the current economic environment has given rise to fear of taking action. This fear can profoundly affect decision-making at the management level. Managers might take longer to make relatively easy decisions. When that happens, it stalls the flow, frustrating your whole team.

Fix: To address your slow decision-making, you need to determine the cause of it. According to a CEB research, too much information, which calls for unnecessary consensus and collaboration, is one of the biggest reasons why processes get slowed down in organizations.

Related: The 5 Worst Leadership Qualities: How Many Does Your Boss Have?

Some common practices at the workplace that might seem sensible but are actually not, if you’re trying to move faster, are:

  • Consensus buying -- major purchasing decisions have become highly collaborative. The CEB research says that if five people are consulted on a buying decision, the probability that the purchase will happen drops to only 31 percent.
  • Committee hiring -- the greater the number of people to be consulted, the slower the recruiting decision will be. Consequently, the position that needs to be filled remains open for longer. According to the data, recruiters currently take up to five weeks longer to fill positions than they did five years ago -- a 62 percent increase.

Figure out what’s slowing you down, and see whether it’s justified. If not, come up with a more effective decision-making process.

3. You implement secretive executive meetings.

Apart from improving communication and collaboration, regular staff meetings help employees feel as if they own part of the company. Employees generally trust management when they are transparent about company affairs. As Hemingway said, “The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.” If you don’t think you can trust your employees with information regarding the current state of the company, chances are they will be suspicious of your secret meetings, which will contribute to the erosion of trust within the company.

Fix: Earn employee trust. To regain lost trust, you need to be as transparent with your team as possible. You’ll find it difficult to achieve that if you scrap regular staff meetings, where you’re supposed to receive and provide feedback and offer guidance, replacing them with secretive executive sessions.

4. You cut employee perks.

When you need to downsize, getting rid of employee perks might seem like low-hanging fruit. But what do you achieve by that, especially if you do it surreptitiously?

Related: 4 Leadership Methods for Empowering Employees and Building Strong Teams

It sounds silly, but managers tend to start with getting rid of simple treats, like soda and snacks. I suspect such cuts don’t put too much back into the budget, but the negative effects could be far-reaching -- from low employee morale to staff quitting.

Fix: Be transparent. If you must cut any employee perks, let your team know first, and give them a reason. You’d be surprised to see what they’d be willing to forgo. If you don’t make them part of the process, that missing soda could be the reason for your fallout with your people.

For advice on downsizing, read this article.

It’s easier to see when someone else is making a mistake than to notice when you make it yourself. You’ll shine as a manager if you demonstrate your ability to step back and reflect on your motivations and actions before making decisions. The above signs of poor management and ways to remedy them are just a few of many managerial pitfalls and solutions you may have to grapple with and resort to while in the leadership position. But if you take them to heart, they will help you become a better manager.

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