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If there's one thing that can make or break a company's ability to succeed fast, it's management. Good management can lead to better sales, better employee output, and an overall better workplace environment.
Bad management can cause disgruntled employees, low output, low productivity, and even worse sales. In many cases, businesses that declared bankruptcy have cited mismanagement as a leading cause.
Managers need to learn the art of management or risk losing their job. Much of learning how to manage employees well deals with learning about the worst management mistakes to avoid.
Ever wonder what the worst mistakes you can do as a manager really are? We asked a bunch of people what they believed were the most toxic management behaviors you can have. This is what they said were the worst management mistakes to make — if you want to keep your business open.
Abusing the Staff
Many people openly admitted that the worst management mistakes to make all involved abusing staff members. Things such as insulting the staff members, belittling their opinions, purposefully excluding them, and openly ignoring them often will lead to workers burning out.
Workers who do not feel appreciated, or worse, feel abused, are also more likely to incite workplace violence, steal from the business, and quit. Moreover, they are more likely to pursue legal action against their abusers.
But, is this really that surprising? It's obvious that treating your employees poorly is a major management mistake. No one wants to be treated badly. As a result, this is the worst of the worst management mistakes to make.
What's really insidious about abuse is that many managers don't realize they are doing it — or if they do, they don't realize the toll it's taking on their companies.
Here are some signs that you may be abusing employees:
- Your best employees usually won't stay more than four months on the job. This is either because you aren't paying them enough, or because your management has caused a hostile workplace for them. Good employees generally don't stand for bad treatment for too long, because they know it'll burn them out.
- People regularly leave the room crying after you speak with them. If you regularly shout at employees, call them names, and threaten to fire them, you shouldn't be surprised to see them in tears. This is emotional abuse, and it would make most people cry.
- Your employees are afraid to show you anything they're working on. This is typically a sign that they are walking on eggshells around you. If your behavior is draining their confidence this badly, then it shouldn't be shocking if you find out that their work has suffered.
- When an employee calls you out on your behavior, you minimize it. No, everyone doesn't know you "don't mean it when you do that."
- You regularly threaten to fire people, pick favorites, tell them "consequences will follow" if they try something else, and name call. This is textbook bully behavior, and if you're doing this, then you are doing one of the worst management mistakes to make.
Keeping Quiet About Problems
Perhaps one of the worst management mistakes to make, outside of abusing employees, is to make them think that everything is alright when it really isn't. This is a management mistake that comes from being a people pleaser; no one wants to be the bearer of bad news.
The problem is that if you don't tell people that they are making big mistakes, they will continue to do them. The more they do them, the more they get used to them...until things come to a head.
If you ignore the warning signs for too long, then when you actually have to let them go for being bad at their jobs, it blindsides the employees. This, in turn, can make them feel betrayed, hurt, or even hostile to you. But, this management mistake gets even worse when you think of the human side of loss.
In most cases, employees can learn how to fix the mistakes they make as long as someone tells them what they're doing wrong. By not telling employees when they're goofing up, you end up instilling bad work habits in them and losing out on potentially great workers.
As a result, this is one of the worst management mistakes to make with new employees — as well as employees who generally just have shaky skillsets in one field or another.
If you want to avoid this management mistake, tell employees the moment you see them make a mistake. Then, teach them how to do it the right way. This way, they know where you stand.
Refusing to Invest in Employees
One of the most common management mistakes major companies make also happens to be one of the worst management mistakes to make. This mistake, of course, is not actually investing in your employees.
Without employees doing the work, you won't be able to run your business. Your employees are your lifeblood, and if you want to have a happy company atmosphere with loyal employees, you will have to show some loyalty to them.
A good company realizes the importance of attracting great talent, and also improving the talent they already have. This is why Google has one of the most luxurious benefits packages in the business world, why Starbucks gives part-time employees healthcare, and why many major corporations have a living wage standard as part of their hiring package.
The more you offer employees, the better the talent you'll attract. Similarly, the more you cultivate the employees you already have, the better they will be able to serve you.
The problem that most managers have with great workers is that they often don't want to spend the money it takes to get those kinds of employees into their office. In terms of sheer manpower, this is one of the worst management mistakes to make.
A good employee is worth their weight in gold. They are able to hit the ground running, consistently do great work, and also bring people together. It's better to have one excellent employee than three bad ones that need constant supervision to get the job done.
Letting Personal Ties Dictate Business
In terms of sheer productivity, the worst management mistakes to make often involve letting your own personal emotions and opinions get the better of you. In no mistake is this truer than when a manager turns the workplace into a scene from Mean Girls.
We all have been in scenarios when someone decided that everything had to be a popularity contest that you had to win. It's exhausting, and in most cases, the person who's the most talented tends to end up getting ignored until they're either let go or forced to quit.
While it may be tempting to promote people you're friends with over people who you personally don't have much in common with, it's often a bad move. Playing favorites will create a very hostile work environment for everyone who isn't you.
Moreover, doing this also tends to suggest that you may not be fit as a manager. This often means that you're letting your personal life cloud your business life — and that you might be burning out people who are helping you keep your job.
Management should never mean being a judge for a popularity contest. If it turns into that, then you have way more problems than just management mistakes.
Employees are not machines. They are people, complete with needs like food, sleep, a social life, and healthcare. If you overwork them, they will eventually end up losing motivation to continue working for you.
Some may even end up being unable to function at all due to the stress that comes with working too much — and that in turn will cause way more problems than just burnout.
If you regularly pressure employees to spend the vast majority of their lives in work, you're running a risk of overworking them.
Refusing to Trust Employees
Your employees are going to have to be privy to a lot of information and gear in order to perform their jobs well. Therefore, one of the worst management mistakes to make is to refuse to trust employees to do their job.
Having a deep lack of trust in your employees will leak through, whether you realize it or not. Employees who feel micromanaged and constantly monitored will often end up being too stressed to do their job well.
As an employee, few things can be as demotivating as working for a manager who believes that you are guilty until proven innocent. It's really not surprising that this mistake has been linked to bad performance. If you can't trust them to run your business, you shouldn't hire them.
Not Holding Yourself to Your Word
A smart manager is one who is clear, concise, and walks the walk. Employees will respect and follow a person who makes a point of showing himself or herself as an example in leadership. This means that you keep promises you make and that you hold yourself to the same standard as your employees.
Hypocritical behavior or refusing to follow through on promises will quickly lead your employees to resent you and lose respect for you. No one wants to work for someone who they see as two-faced. No one will believe someone whose word has repeatedly been proven to be as good as garbage.
In terms of both reputation and employee productivity, this is one of the worst management mistakes to make. Either stick to your word or don't say anything at all.