The 5 Common Errors Committed by Newbie Leaders

by Dora Wang on Mar 3, 2015 11:00:00 AM

The 5 Common Errors Committed by Newbie LeadersYour first leadership role will definitely be a learning experience. A new manager can stumble a little coming out of the gate, so don’t let yourself get tripped up by these common first-timer flubs.

1. Being a Micromanager

The good news is, if you make this mistake, you’re not alone. A survey by Accountemps found that over 50% of employees say they’ve worked for a micromanager.

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The bad news is, micromanaging causes serious problems for your team. Take a look at the picture painted by employee surveys, psychological studies, and market research:

  • 68% of employees who’ve been micromanaged say it decreased their morale
  • 55% of employees who’ve been micromanaged say it hurt their productivity
  • People who believe they are being watched perform at a lower level

2. Trying To Be the Cool Guy (Or Gal)

Yes, you want your team to like you. But remember that you’re a boss, not a peer. Here are some of the ways that inexperienced leaders fall into this common trap.

  • You avoid saying “no” because you don’t want to be the bad guy. If a team member makes a mistake, you shy away from giving them criticism. If you get too many vacation requests at once, you try to please everyone by granting them all.
  • You avoid setting high expectations or challenging your team so you can be a “fun” boss. You don’t want to nag them about meeting deadlines or maintaining productivity.
  • You’re having a lot of fun grabbing lunch or sharing in-jokes with some people on the team ... to the exclusion of others.

3. Giving Your Team Too Much Room

Hands-off leadership is good. But neglecting your team will kill your rapport. Remember that you’re no longer just one member of the team, and you can’t just dive into your own work and never come up for air. Being a leader means being interrupted.

You can also run into this mistake when you’re trying too hard not to be a micromanager. But don’t try so hard to avoid smothering your team that you cut off contact.

4. Not Setting Clear Expectations

Don’t expect your team to be mind readers. Employees come in with different experiences, so it’s better not to assume everyone’s playing by the same rules. Findings from our Engagement Study show that management transparency is the number one factor in determining employee happiness, so your team won’t be happy if they get mixed messages about what they’re responsible for or how you’ll evaluate them.

5. Forgetting To Check In About Employees’ Professional Goals

It might be hard to think beyond the day-to-day responsibilities when you’re first starting out as a manager, but employees look to their leaders to help develop their career path. Our 2015 TINYpulse Best Industry Ranking Report looked at the trends impacting employee unhappiness. Sure enough, lacking opportunities for professional growth made the list of top three unhappiness drivers.

Worried? You don’t need to be. The Beginner’s Guide To Great Leadership is your road map for avoiding these pitfalls and learning the essential leadership qualities on your way to becoming a smart and successful manager.

 

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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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