4 Mistakes to avoid to ROCK as a people manager


Mistake #1. Not giving your team a Purpose.

If you are able to involve and unite your team or employees around one Purpose then management become a lot easier for you. Why – because people largely want to be part of an organisation and something bigger and not just work for an organisation. So giving people something to believe in and to come to work for will motivate beyond any extrinsic motivator.


Co-creating a compelling Purpose means your people are more likely to:

· Collaborate

· Stick with things when they get difficult because they can see the greater good

· Find their work engaging and meaningful

· Keep focussed on the outcome

· Make some sacrifices for the good of the Purpose and the team

Mistake #2. Not listening effectively.

Communication is without doubt the most critical skill that a people manager needs but most managers haven’t been trained how to communicate effectively – you are just expected to be able to do it! Communication comes in 4 modes – reading, writing, speaking and listening. Think back to your days at school…. You were taught how to speak, read and write but were you taught how to listen? Mostly likely you weren’t. Many people think they know how to listen but they are normally listening to respond rather than to understand. To truly listen takes practice and is a whole body experience, which I know sounds odd so here is a quote from Peter Drucker:

'The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said'

To listen to someone with your whole body also requires you to give up your own ego and opinion for the moment that the other person is speaking. It also means avoiding any distractions that stop you concentrating (so put your mobile phone away) and be truly present in any conversation.

Mistake #3. Not trusting people.

You can feel trust and what it is like to be trusted but you can also bestow trust on someone by empowering them, so the ideal situation would be a combination of the two. In the words of Stephen R Covey, ‘Trust is a verb and a noun and when it is both it is something shared and reciprocated’. As long as your team has the technical and conceptual competence to do the job, then bestow trust on them.

Ask yourself - do you believe your team to be trustworthy i.e. they display integrity and maturity? Do you display these character traits – do you keep your promises, are you honest with your dealings with all people? If your team trust you and your trust them then there is synergy, strength and power.

Here are 4 steps to build high trust:

1. Recruit and develop competent people with stacks of potential

2. Role model trust and openly talk about trust

3. Ensure everyone has clarity of roles, tasks and expectations

4. Create a work environment where people feel psychologically safe

Mistake #4. Not giving your people opportunity to develop and learn.

People generally want to use their minds creatively and usefully and people who commit to learning are able to change, adapt and be flexible with greater ease. Now you show me a business that doesn’t change! Therefore, giving your people the time and opportunity to develop and learn helps people to be more resilient. Additionally, managers who don’t allow their staff to grow are likely to sow the seeds of disengagement and lower productivity. In today’s talent market, people have a choice and if you don’t use someone’s mind creatively and usefully then they have the option to work elsewhere. Get creative with learning and development – sending people on training courses is not always the best solution. Think about, mentoring (internal and external), job shadowing, allowing people to step into your role when you are absent, leading on task you normally do i.e. chairing meetings, briefing senior managers.

If you are making any of these mistakes then now is the time to change – your team will thank you for it.

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