How to Avoid Common Mistakes as a New Manager

StrategyDriven Business Management and Leadership Article|Leadership|How to Avoid Common Mistakes as a New ManagerWhen you find a job that you love, it is only natural to want to progress through its ranks as fast as you can. If you are willing and able to put in the hours, you can one day make it to the level of manager. This will give you an opportunity to oversee a new generation of workers in your industry and pass on the skills and experience that you have developed over the years.

But no matter how good you are at your job, and how naturally-suited you might be to the role of manager, managing a business for the first time is always going to present a significant challenge. Of course, you won’t be the first manager to find themselves thrown in at the deep end when they first take on the role. Even with preparation, you will inevitably make some mistakes during the early days of your tenure as manager.

By preparing adequately beforehand, you can significantly reduce the chances of you running into unexpected but avoidable problems. Avoiding these common mistakes will make it easier for you to establish your authority and your management style as soon as possible after you take over. They will also help you to bond with your team and foster a mutual respect, something that will make your life as a manager much easier.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Know Everything

Many managers hold themselves up to very high standards. This can include feeling as if they should be able to handle every single issue that comes their way with barely a second’s thought. However, this is an impossible standard to try and reach. Even if you are being promoted within a business that you already have plenty of experience with, that doesn’t mean that you will know everything there is to know about being a manager.

You should never be afraid to admit when you don’t know something. Instead, you should focus on showing your employees that you can still effectively solve any issues that do crop up. When you encounter issues that you don’t know how to solve, working out solutions will be a valuable learning experience. It is also important to show your employees that it is ok to not know things.

An important part of your role as manager will be nurturing the efforts of those that work beneath you. Some of this will come from your own past work experience, but as with any role, you will also need to do a fair amount of learning while on the job. When you encounter things you don’t know, use them as learning opportunities and encourage your workers to do the same.

Foster Initiative

The best leaders are those that others would follow even if they didn’t hold a more senior position than them professionally. An important part of nurturing this kind of relationship is showing your workers that you value their opinions, skills and experience. Encouraging them to think for themselves as much as possible is an effective way of doing this.

You shouldn’t be looking to stamp on everyone with your newfound authority; if you set up a hostile atmosphere from the beginning, you will never be able to win them back around. One of the most common mistakes that new managers often make is in trying to control every aspect of what goes on during their watch. If your workers find you overbearing, they will be less likely to respond to your demands.
It is much better to gently guide your team, while encouraging their natural talents to shine through. What matters is that your team are able to navigate through most challenges on their own. Again, remember that when you don’t know how to do something, it is an opportunity to learn it. When your team don’t know what to do, encourage them to formulate and evaluate their own solutions to problems.

Don’t Change Everything Overnight

If you come into a new role with the attitude that everything that was done before you arrived was wrong, you will be instantly setting yourself up for confrontation. Instead, you should show respect for the existing procedures and techniques that those working under you have grown accustomed to. It is likely that some of those who now work beneath you will have been involved in formulating the processes that are in place when you arrive.

If you arrive and instantly dismiss everything that was done before, this is unlikely to win you respect. Instead, look for existing processes and procedures that you can get behind. Instead of aiming to make your mark by changing as many things as possible, look to make the most difference with the least amount of changes.

Don’t be Indecisive

In business, decisions often need to be made relatively quickly. A quick decision in business isn’t necessarily one that has to be made right now. In some cases, a quick decision for your business will be a decision that needs to be made in a few days, but requires back and forth communications within the business. If this is the case, there may be very little time to spare.

Similarly, when you are looking for ways to improve efficiency and save money in your new role, show that you are able to make and execute solid plans. For example, if your business needs to ship goods to consumers, don’t be afraid to ask what does it cost to ship each item. There is a plethora of different shipping types out there, each best suited to different cargo. Identifying the right service providers for your business is essential to its long-term success.

Taking on a managerial role is a big responsibility. However, for the most ambitious members of the workforce, rising up to the level of manager is a natural progression. As a new manager, you will face some significant challenges but, with the right preparation, these can be mitigated or overcome. Do everything you can to avoid making any of the above mistakes.

3 Most Common Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in 2019

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | 3 Most Common Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in 2019 | business leadershipIt is no news that being a leader requires quite a lot of perseverance and personal strength. For some people becoming a leader has been a meticulous decision and a result of many years of hard work, whereas some others might have got a leadership position without ever striving for it. The luck of the draw!

In both cases, the expectations are high and the stress is unavoidable. Not only should a leader outperform themselves and make sure all the objectives are met but they should also ensure their entire team feels happy and satisfied with work. Not an easy task to do!

Regardless of how many years of professional experience and personal training leaders possess, all of them tend to commit certain mistakes because they are all human beings. But what distinguishes a good leader from the rest is their ability to be able to recognize their mistakes and find solutions to avoid them when they get a second bite at the cherry.

For those leaders looking to improve their leadership qualities, we have compiled a list of 3 most common leadership mistakes and ways to avoid them in 2019.

Let’s take a closer look at each mistake.

#1. Not communicating the vision and the goals

Having a vision and setting clear goals is one thing, being able to communicate those to your employees is a completely different thing. Many leaders think that if they have a clear vision, that is more than enough for employees to succeed. While there is some truth to that, constantly communicating the vision and the goals is more than essential to guarantee a successful team work.

Leaders should remember that their employees have different personality types and they do not necessarily function in the same way. In order to ensure that the whole team is on the same page, leaders should remind them about the significance of the vision and how it translates into everyday tasks for each employee.

Sharing the vision, sticking to it and showing how every employee can contribute to that vision every day is key to creating a successful working environment based on common goals.

Top Tip: constant communication of the vision can be executed through monthly email reminders, oral reminders during meetings or via audiovisual support materials like TV screens around the office. Make sure every employee knows the vision and knows how to contribute to it.

#2. Poor delegating of tasks

Poor delegating of tasks is equally harmful as not delegating at all. Recent research has shown that leaders who skillfully delegate tasks achieve three-year growth rates that are 112% higher than those who don’t delegate at all or who do so poorly.

Delegating tasks will not only let a leader concentrate on more important tasks of strategic value to the company but will also empower employees because by doing even the smallest task employees feel like a valued member of a team, especially when those tasks correspond to their strengths.

Here is how to delegate tasks successfully:

  • Identify the tasks to delegate
  • Choose who to delegate the tasks to, based on their strengths
  • Be clear about the tasks to implement
  • Monitor progress and give continuous feedback for improvement
  • Be able to redelegate when something goes wrong
  • Show constant appreciation

It has been proven that employees who have a chance to use their strengths and character traits are on average 74% more engaged at work. Moreover, the mere fact of knowing each other’s strengths makes the team 12% more effective.

Top Tip: delegating tasks based on strength finder results will help leaders achieve maximum efficiency. Sharing each other’s strengths can be of huge help to team members who work together as well as for leaders who manage those teams.

#3. Failing to adjust to changes

In today’s ever-changing world the ability to adjust to changes is crucial to successful leadership: continuous tech developments, new customer relationship management practices, employee motivation roller-coasters, and much more.

One of the main differences between a leader and a manager is the aptitude to embrace change. Real leaders know that change leads to new ways of growth and accomplishment. While there is no perfect formula for managing change, the secret of succeeding is realizing that change is inevitable and that growth happens when things change.

Top Tip: learn to be flexible as a leader: listen to your employees, constantly follow the trends and keep an open eye on market developments. Remember to surround yourself with people who can complement you in areas where your strengths are not enough to help you with your weaknesses.

There is no special school for leadership that teaches how to be a true leader. It takes a lot of everyday practice and a great deal of flexibility to be able to adjust to people, places and different developments.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
John Maxwell


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Anatoli ChernyaevAnatoli Chernyaev is a content marketing manager born in Armenia and currently residing in France. He writes about various topics such as self-awareness, positive thinking, personal development, and career advice.

6 Qualities of a Good Boss

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Leadership | 6 Qualities of a Good BossIt is easy to distinguish what makes a bad boss, but describing what makes a good one can be difficult, with many bosses being mediocre. Why is it important that you be a good boss, though?

Lack of employee satisfaction may force good workers to leave and provide a bad reputation for both your company and you, as the boss. Online forums and discussions make it extremely easy for businesses to be bad-mouthed and can damage the perception of potential new employees and customers. Therefore, it’s important to learn that whatever happens in the office doesn’t necessarily stay in the office.

A boss should boost productivity and create a work environment that encourages employees to enjoy their working life, rather than turning up as a matter of need’s must. Being a boss does not solely mean you need to focus on the work being done and produced, in fact, it is much more valuable for bosses to concentrate on their employees instead.

If you are concerned about whether your employees view you as a good boss, here are some useful qualities that you should aim to work towards.

1. Creates a positive workplace culture

Every employee within your firm is there to ensure your business is a success; therefore, potential new candidates shouldn’t be disregarded when it comes to their race or disability. Invite them to an interview and acknowledge what they can bring to the table, as well as asking if they may have any needs for a safer and more positive work environment.

An approachable boss should instill an ‘open door policy’ so that employees can ask to talk at any given moment and feel comfortable to have a discussion about any issues or concerns within the workplace. Doing so means that issues are ironed out, so positivity can be increased, meaning greater employee satisfaction.

2. Sets clear performance expectations

Reduce the level of employee stress by setting clear goals and expectations of what you would like your employees to achieve on a daily basis. When they have little understanding of what they need to do, it can often lead to decreased productivity throughout the entire office. The boss should have a one-to-one discussion each day with the employee; whether it be face-to-face or via email and set out clear guidelines of the tasks that need to be completed and how they can do so.

3. Nurtures development

Many young professionals are keen on the idea of moving forward within a company and will often only apply for a role if the job advert specifies that there is an opportunity for training and promotion in the future.

A boss who allows employees to work within other sectors or on more complex will make their employees feel far more appreciated by their leader, rather than being managed by an individual who doesn’t have their best interests at heart. There are many ways in which training can be achieved while holding down a job; whether it be practical day courses or long-term degrees which can be studied flexibly online in their own time. An engineering firm, for example, may decide to invest in their employees to enroll onto an electrical engineering online degree which teaches Bachelor’s level engineering graduates a vast amount of new skills and will enhance personal development and opportunity for career progression.

4. Praises employees

According to a study conducted in early 2017, 35% of employees in workplaces stated that one of the biggest hinderances in workplace productivity was failing to be praised for their achievements. If you don’t praise your employees enough, now would be a good time to start.

In order for your team to work well for you and reach their full potential, you need to be in keeping with each employee’s goals and achievements so that they can be rewarded for good work. Praising employees may also mean that you will retain good talent within your company rather than facing a high-turnover of staff, which can waste both time and money.

There are many ways you can praise your employees; whether it be a simple yet personal ‘thank you’ card, a financial bonus added onto their paycheck or a voucher for their favorite store.

5. Provides feedback

There are some instances when you need to be upfront about an employee’s performance, and one way of doing so constructively would be by providing feedback. Acknowledge when employees are doing a good job and where key improvements may lie.

It is often the case when employees don’t even realize they aren’t meeting the requirements unless they are discovered to have been completing work wrongly by chance. Feedback, however, can be achieved through regular coaching, in which meetings should be held on a monthly or quarterly basis for an in-depth discussion on how they can improve and what to work towards.

6. Builds up trust

There is nothing worse than a boss who doesn’t hold the trust of their employees. Therefore, you should always aim to get on their level and build a personal connection with each of them. Establishing trust ensures successful communication, greater engagement, and better job performance.

One way to build trust is to display honesty, even if there is bad news to share – no-one likes to be lied to, especially when it comes to the status of their job position or job performance.

You should treat all employees fairly and judge each individual based on their actions. Never feel threatened by those who shout louder. As the boss of the company, you should be able to stand your ground and ensure that everyone gets fair treatment.

One of key ways of building a trusting relationship is to show an understanding when it comes to difficulties in their personal life and ask if all is okay if you happen to notice that they are performing poorer than usual. Insist that you are always available to talk to and that help is at hand if needed. Expressing your own vulnerabilities not only allows you to build up a more human relationship with each of your employees but will establish yourself as a mentor that they confide in.

To Create Radical Outcomes – Make Sure Every Output Has A Purpose

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Business Outcomes | To Create Radical Outcomes - Make Sure Every Output Has A PurposeIn many work situations, random things are created because people are not focused on a specific outcome. They do things, launch programs, take actions, but they have no business outcome in mind.

The problem usually occurs, because people don’t understand the difference between an outcome and an output. There is a BIG difference between the two. In our work with clients, we have found that these two ideas are often misunderstood. The “stuff” people create does not, in itself, constitute an outcome for the business. Every email, meeting, presentation, or experience that they create is just one thing by itself. It’s an output. But if they know what outcome they are trying to achieve, then all of the outputs become vehicles to drive the desired outcome.

Outcomes keep everyone focused on what’s most important for an organization and provide a way to measure whether they’ve achieved a desired result. Put another way: if you can’t connect your work and your outputs to a measurable result and outcome, then you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

Maintaining an Outcome-Based Mindset

An outcome-based mindset leads people to focus on results first, and outputs or actions second. When they identify the desired business result(s) first, they can then identify the tasks necessary to achieve them. For example, a salesperson for a large technology business, who is accustomed to orchestrating deals with a Chief Information Officer (CIO), would head into the first call thinking about how to have a conversation about the CIO’s role, challenges, and pressures she is facing, so that she finds value in the conversation and agrees to another meeting to explore how his company can help her. To be prepared for that outcome which will then lead to the larger outcome of making a sale, the salesperson has to be conversant in the CIO’s business. He’ll have to do some planning to learn about what other opportunities or contracts are already in play between the two entities. He’ll need to research where some of her challenges might be coming from, by reading annual reports. Some of those steps may lead to outputs — a discussion document or a whiteboard, for example.

But the outcome — agree to another meeting, to move a potential opportunity forward, to reach a shared vision of how his solutions can address her problems, is always what that salesperson has in mind. Focus on the wrong thing—such as selling her something she doesn’t need or spending too much time talking about his company or products—and she’ll become annoyed and feel like her time is being wasted. The outcome then becomes unreachable. When people are outcome-based, they always have the bigger picture in mind. Always. They make decisions about outputs and tasks based on whether or not they move them forward toward the outcome.

Maintaining a Group Output Mindset

Thinking in an outcome-based way can be an individual mindset, but it also can be a group mindset. It can even be an organizational or functional mindset. We believe strongly that having an outcome-based mindset is what makes all the difference in the work we do with our clients. The specific, measurable outcome becomes the north star that always helps us navigate.

Winning with Radical Outcomes

It’s arguable that there are many types of outcomes in business. The salesperson example shows outcome-based thinking for a single large deal.

And while a single large deal is great for that salesperson, there’s nothing radical about such an isolated example. By itself it doesn’t produce a major business impact. But what if someone could help 50 salespeople learn how to think and plan the way he did with the CIO? And 50 salespeople started closing large deals, repeatedly and consistently, because they knew how to have valuable conversations with their customers? Or 500 salespeople?

Radical Outcomes are tied to complex, high-stakes initiatives that yield tangible results. Examples include increased retention rates, improved acquisition rates, increased revenue, reduced costs, process improvements or efficiencies, increased profitability, increased word of mouth, increased conversion rates, and more upsell and cross-sell opportunities. These are or should all be measurable and quantifiable.

Here are the basic criteria that differentiate a Radical Outcome from something that is just run of the mill.

Executive Level, Cross Functional Stakeholders are involved. To drive change in the business where the impact is truly felt by customers, executive sponsorship is needed, usually because there will be so many different groups involved in working toward the outcome that it requires someone at the executive or business unit level of an organization to provide the endorsement of the initiative.

Results are achieved over time. Every executive wants change to happen “yesterday,” yet even so, it takes time for an organization to adapt and change, especially when the change itself is radical. Urgency defines the need for these changes, even ones that seem impossible to make. Most executives therefore expect to see roadmaps or plans that show how a change will take place, and they also expect to see consistent progress toward the outcome.

Results must be measurable and tied to the outcome. One of the most difficult things we’ve seen when clients are facing Radical Outcomes is determining what to measure so that progress can be conveyed against the outcome. Knowing that a change won’t happen overnight is one important guideline. Knowing what to measure and in what time frame are two additional guidelines.

The good thing about setting these guidelines? You can show the impact of what you have created. You can also more readily and accurately identify gaps and make the changes needed, quickly, in an agile manner, to meet the business outcome.
Radical outcomes actually make common sense and are comprised of tangible results. They’re the product of scope and scale, and something the executive level group is constantly envisioning. Imagine what would happen within your organization if you started having conversations about Radical Outcomes instead of just creating more stuff.


About the Author

Juliana Stancampiano, author of RADICAL OUTCOMES: How To Create Extraordinary Teams That Get Tangible Results is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Oxygen. For more than fifteen years, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies, both in them and for them. Her firm’s clients include Microsoft, DXC, Delta Dental (of WA), Starbucks, F5 Networks, Avaya, and Western Digital, among others. Her in-depth experience, along with the research that Oxygen conducts and the articles she has published, has helped to shape the perspective that Oxygen embraces. To learn more, visit: www.oxygenexp.com.

How To Keep Personal Scandals Out of the Office

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article | Professional Career | How To Keep Personal Scandals Out of the OfficeYour personal life is personal, right? Not exactly. In fact, when it comes to your professional career, your personal life plays a critical role. Whether that role is positive or negative is up to you, and it is up to how well you manage both your personal and professional lives. Being calm and preparing in advance can help keep your personal life private. The last thing you want is a criminal charge to ruin your life – which it can, regardless of whether or not you were convicted or exonerated. By staying private and following this guide, you can maintain your professional career and move on.

How A Personal Scandal Can Affect Your Career

A personal scandal can severely impact your career. Businesses don’t want to risk the negative press of keeping you on, and will, therefore, cut their losses as soon as your name is out in the paper. It doesn’t matter if it is later found out that you had a rock-solid alibi or your charge was overturned, because to the media you are guilty. This can ruin a career and make it incredibly difficult to find work later on. Your record might be squeaky clean, but your name will always show up next to news articles with that DUI charge.

The worst part is that the more advanced you are in your career, the harder you can fall. The media loves a scandal, and if the CEO of a big company has any sort of black mark on their name, they will pounce, with or without confirmation. You can sue them afterward for defamation of character, yes, but it still won’t change the negative impacts this press will have on your career.

How to Keep a Personal Scandal Out of the Office

To keep a personal scandal out of the office, you need to take measures to prevent a fall out as soon as possible. To do this, you will want to:

1.Know Who to Turn to For Help

Knowing who to turn to for help can be incredibly useful. If you are charged with a DUI, for example, a professional from this DUI lawyer Philadelphia firm can help fight against the charge and at the very least work to keep your identity confidential.

2. Stay Offline as Much as Possible

Your online persona will affect your career. That is why it is always important to curate your personal presence with the knowledge that it could be used against you. An off-tone joke made five years ago could ruin your career today, so go through everything. Delete old accounts, old posts, and otherwise curate all social media to protect your reputation and digital security.

3. Don’t Feed the Fire

It might seem like a good idea to get on top of a story and talk to the press, but this is the wrong approach. The truth is, by giving them nothing to go on you are more likely to be passed on for a more exciting news story. Unless the case against you is a big news story, staying quiet and anonymous is a great way to keep your name, face, and story out of the press.

Everyone can have a run-in with the law. This doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you guilty. What it can do however is ruin your career if you aren’t careful. Always take every charge seriously, whether or not you are 100% certain of your innocence.