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The Five Management Behaviors to Avoid at All Costs

Feb 3, 2016 | Leadership

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Have you wondered why your best talent leaves your company? It’s typically not because of pay, benefits, or even growth potential (or perceived lack thereof). Employees, especially those who are in the rock star category, leave organizations because of poor management behavior from a boss or colleague.

It’s frustrating, to be sure. You spend the right time finding, interviewing, and training the best talent for the job. You have the right policies in place to help people achieve against their greatest strengths. You even have excellent benefits and perks, and pay above competitive wages for your industry.

And yet…

They say it takes only one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch. It could be your most profitable salesperson, a mid-level manager who says awful things to others in private that can’t be confirmed without a he said/she said fight, or a receptionist who refuses to provide messages to certain colleagues.

The point is, it doesn’t have to be an immediate supervisor. The poor management behavior can stem from anyone inside the organization. But there is one thing in common: How you behave and how some of the poor management behaviors you exhibit create an environment you don’t want.

Let’s look at some of the most common management mistakes many leaders make that cause people to leave.

Five Management Behaviors to Avoid

Lack of accountability. This starts with you. Not keeping your team accountable is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and it permeates the entire organization. If you start out that way—and maybe you rationalize it by saying you’re not a micromanager or you hire grown-ups and get out of the way—it sends the wrong message about your leadership style and empowers everyone in the organization to act the same.

This also leads to failure in identifying poor performers, who not only demotivate the team, but affect the overall success (or lack of it).

Think about it this way: Remember in college when you had to do group projects and there were always one or two people who did nothing while the rest of the group did all of the work? Your organization is structured the same way. If you allow those one or two people to slide by without being accountable to the rest of their team, your top talent will get frustrated and eventually leave.

Micromanaging. On the flip side of lack of accountability is too much of it, which comes in the form of micromanagement. When you micromanage every task, you send a clear message: You don’t trust their judgment. It also tells them you think you are the only person who can do the job and eventually they begin to let you (which is called reverse delegation).

Not only will you make your team feel unworthy, in no time, you’ll be doing their work and stuck between wanting to grow and needing to have your finger on everything.

Empower and encourage your team to take on more responsibilities. Let them speak their mind and listen to their ideas. You may not always agree on approach or ideas, but you’ll make them feel like they have a say in the business growth, which is how you create an organization where everyone wants to work.

This starts at the top, as well. If your leadership team sees you acting this way, they do the same and then it permeates the organization.

Not delegating often enough. Lack of delegation goes hand-in-hand with micromanagement. It shows a lack of trust in your team and that you don’t know how to help them work against their strengths. As well, not delegating often and effectively speaks volumes about you as a leader….and it’s not good.

Asses the tasks and projects you can freely hand over to your team, trust their judgment, and keep them accountable. If you do this, your team will behave the same. Soon you’ll have an organization full of people who are accountable, work to their best abilities, and have fun.

Procrastinating important decisions. A friend wrote a blog post about why seemingly intelligent people abhor failure. She describes how we procrastinate because we are afraid of failure. It might be a deadline we let pass or a big decision we have to make. Whatever it is, we procrastinate for no real reason except we’re fearful of doing something wrong.

You are the leader. Decision-making is your job. Procrastinating important decisions—whatever the reason—sends the wrong message to your team who looks up to you for guidance. Get a grip on your priorities and be the leader your people need.

Lack of team meetings. You know how I feel about useless meetings. Many of us hate meetings, in general. They all tend to take us away from our work, which means we don’t have time to do what we need to do to keep the business growing.

That said, regular team meetings are necessary because they allow you to follow-up on ongoing projects, your team’s concerns, your concerns, and to bring everyone up-to-date on what’s going on in the company. Without those regular check-ins, no one knows what everyone else is doing, which causes major inefficiencies.

The message you subconsciously give when you don’t have regular check-ins is communication isn’t important to you. You’ll make your team feel out of the loop and not important, and the end result is progress stalls and people lose interest in their jobs and your organization.

Are you guilty of any of the above poor management behavior?

Be honest with yourself, analyze your behavior and see where you can improve immediately. Get feedback from your employees, adjust and adapt. It’s your business at stake.

What other management behaviors have you seen that cause great employees to leave?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Want to know more about being brief? Check out The Brief Practitioner, an online course from The Brief Lab that teaches executives how to avoid information overload and become lean, effective leaders and communicators.


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