The 5 Cardinal Sins of Management
Absolve yourself of these basic mistakes.
By Cheri L. Swales
After years of building your expertise, you have finally been promoted to manager. You are immediately sent to classes, seminars, and special training regarding the budget, accounting procedures, and various theories. As you begin your new job, however, you suddenly realize that you don’t know how to manage employees.
In a 1995 study, Kenneth A. Kovach, PhD, asked employees what they considered the most important “job reward factors.” The survey included questions for the employees’ supervisors regarding what they thought was important to their employees. Following are the top five factors given by employees and supervisors:
Feeling of being “in” on things
Sympathetic help with personal problems
Opportunity for promotion
Good working conditions
Notice the differences. The employees’ top three ranked items had much more to do with feelings than quantifiable and concrete items. Yet supervisors thought pay increases made employees happier. Many managers think that money and benefits make employees happy. In reality, employees expect very basic things, such as respect, job enrichment, feedback, honesty, and recognition.
Principles in basic human relations are what really matter.
Consultants, authors, and educators have long touted these important management principles. After years of research, they have concluded that principles in basic human relations are what really matter. Avoiding a few mismanagement tactics will serve both you and your employees well.
1. Public Reprimands
Remember this old management rule: Reprimand in private and praise in public. It still rings true today. Disciplining or reprimanding employees in front of others indicates a lack of respect and a desire to have power “over” them. If you reprimand in front of others, employees will “lose face,” making it very difficult for them to rebuild a relationship with their co-workers, as well as management. This is basic respect you owe your employees.
2. Failure to Expand Employee Jobs/Skills
Many jobs become redundant and somewhat boring over time. Most employees want to learn and grow on the job. Allowing and encouraging your employees to attend training sessions, workshops and seminars shows respect and acknowledgement that you value them. Giving an employee additional, more complex duties lets them know you believe they are worthy of more responsibility. As an HR Director for the past four years, I have heard managers complain, “As soon as I train an employee to do a higher level of work, they leave.” I always tell them, “But if you don’t train them, they might stay and then you’d have untrained employees.”
3. Providing No Feedback
Feedback should not be confused with general information. Management consultant Aubrey Daniels says in his book, Bringing Out the Best in People. “Feedback is information about performance that allows an individual to adjust his or her performance.” Employees always want to know how they are doing and don’t want to wait for their annual performance evaluation to hear it.
4. Giving False Answers
Lying to an employee may seem like the best or least emotional alternative at a given time. However, if you are dishonest with an employee and they later learn the truth, you will have lost their trust, which is crucial in work relationships. When you lose trust, it is extremely difficult to regain.
5. Never Recognizing Accomplishments
Employees want to know that their work makes a difference. Says Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, “Recognizing employees for their exceptional work is critical for keeping them motivated to continue to do their best.” Recognition