Managing people is not a science. Not everything can be learned from a book, and sometimes, you just have to find what works for you and your staff. I have managed a large number of people over the years and I have learned -- mostly through trial and error -- what not to do as a supervisor. Below are five things I’ve learned you should never do when managing.. I hope they can serve as guidance to help you become a better supervisor.
- Micro-manage. You hired your employees because you felt they were competent enough to do their job, so let them do it. Do not tell your team how to do their work over and over again. Trust them, and only step in when you see the task or project is in jeopardy.
- Constantly re-prioritize. Assigning different priority levels to projects too often can make you look as if you can’t manage what is important. Doing this can also cause lots of frustration among staff. Be sure you and your team are managing projects using a status report. Every item on the report should be discussed and well thought out before being prioritized.
- Lose your temper. No matter how angry or frustrated you are, do not lose your temper. It demonstrates immature behavior and can cost you your staff’s respect. Instead, take some deep breaths -- remove yourself from the situation if needed -- until you can regain your composure. Then, sit down and discuss the problem. If your frustration stemmed from the behavior of a member of your team, when possible, take the opportunity to create a teaching moment. Don’t put yourself in a position to look back with regret because you lost your temper.
- Set unreasonable expectations. I tend to forget the effort it used to take me to do certain projects or tasks that I haven’t performed in years. To make sure I don’t set unrealistic expectations, I meet with my team routinely. We set priorities and discuss project timelines, so everyone understands and agrees on the milestones. Good communication upfront will help everyone manage expectations.
- Avoid making decisions. Addressing a performance issue, reevaluating a project that has become unnecessary, or has lost its luster, making an important decision or admitting you were wrong; all of these situations require a decision. You’re the boss, but you’re not perfect. You will make mistakes and you will make poor decisions, but you need to make them.
Brenda Morris, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer at Love Culture Inc, a young women's retailer with 45 stores. During her 25-year plus career, Brenda has acquired extensive experience in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, treasury functions, consulting and IPOs, which she has employed while working in a diverse group of industries (retail, sporting goods and equipment, apparel, heavy equipment, service industries, manufacturing, food distribution and production). Brenda holds a Bachelor's degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master's in Business Administration from Seattle University.