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What are the most common mistakes that new managers make when interacting with the team?

Posted on 12/20/2009 04:35:00 PM by Abhijeet Bhagat

Have you ever experienced that some managers are most popular among the team whereas others need to be forceful on the human resources?. I want to know expert opinions so that all the new managers can be benefited.
A Repost of Answers by Famous on Linked In


Project & Risk Management | Systems & Process Analysis | Strategic Planning | Operational Management & Leadership
Some of the most common mistakes include:

- Failure to earn the confidence, respect and trust of your staff.
- Failure to manage and focus in on your objectives and workload.
- Failure to manage your relationships with subordinates, peers, and superiors.

Just because you have a new title and authority does not grant you automatic confidence, respect and trust. These things have to be earned. This means getting to know your staff, who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, and what motivates them. You must show them respect if you want respect. Treat people how you would expect to be treated if you were in there position. Take a few minutes everyday to say good morning and good night to your staff, and engage with them randomly. Don't be the guy perpetually working behind closed doors. Your staff need to feel that you are approachable to discuss issues. When they do, encourage them to show initiative and solve simple problems on their own, or to at least suggest possible solutions. The two most important words in your vocabulary as a new manager should be "Thank you".

In order to focus in on your objectives and workload, you need to build a strong team, and manage your time effectively. The moment you catch yourself saying or thinking that the most effective way to get work done is for you to do it yourself, close your door, and beat yourself across the head with a ruler. To succeed, you must learn to delegate. You cannot do it all yourself... there are not enough hours in the day. If your staff are that incompetent that they cannot be relied upon to handle simple tasks, then you have a much bigger problem. To be effective at delegation, you must assign specific tasks, to specific individuals, with specific deliverables, on specific dates. You must log these requests and follow-up. You must ensure the person being assigned the tasks clearly understands what is expected of them, and when the task is due. You must hold people accountable for their delivery of those delegated tasks, and keep records.

Communication must be clear and concise. But you must also periodically gauge whether there is understanding. Try to avoid office politics where possible until you understand how politics work, and how to control them. As a leader, you must be an example. How you treat others and relate to others will be noticed, and your staff will act accordingly. Above all, you must be very careful not to maintain personal friendships with subordinates. I'm told that in small companies this is not an issue, but in corporations it is a career killer. You must be seen as being objective, which is nearly impossible if you are known to be friends with one or more of your subordinates. You will always be under the microscope and open to accusations of favouritism if you do not keep a distance between your and your staff.

Never address performance issues with staff in public, and especially in front of their peers. Always do this behind closed doors, and keep notes of such discussions and events.

Remember that you are the most highly paid, and likely the most highly qualified individual in the department. Learn to plan your day (to the degree that this is possible), and how to manage your time effectively. (Take a time management course if you are unsure of what this means.)

These are the most common issues that trip up new managers, but with some careful planning, and attention, you'll quickly make the grade, and build that trusting and respectful relationship with your staff.

Best regards,


Kathy Klotz

Customer Experience Project Manager
The biggest mistake new managers make is not acknowledging that without the skillset of their team--they would not be able to be successful. The best managers have insight into the workings of their team and an understanding of the need for managerial support. Support means getting your team the tools, means or training needed to do the job at hand. A new manager should not be the one sitting back waiting for reports from the team; but rather be in the trenches with the team doing what it takes to motivate and drive the team forward. The most successful managers will make it clear to the team that they (the manager) is part of the team--not just a governing body.

Steven Wolff

Consultant: Team Development/Effectiveness, Leadership, Org. Change, Researcher, Statistician/Analyst, Survey Design
Linda Hill wrote a book called "Becoming a Manager" that studies this exact issue.

In my experience the biggest mistake is what I call "managing the Xerox machine." The new manager feels compelled to find all efficiencies and does things like create restrictions on people using the copy machine. In essence, the new manager is typically in the position because they are a good performer and have been successful at getting things done. They now have to realize they need to get things done through people and that there is a balance that needs to be struck between optimizing the task system and optimizing the social system. Managing the Xerox machine is an attempt to optimize the task system without concern for the social system.

Stephen Harvard Davis

Talent Integration and Team Productivity Expert
Research that we have undertaken shows that between 40 & 50% of ALL executives leave early, are dismissed or receive a poor performance review within eighteen months. Considering the cost of recruitment and potential lost opportunities any business experiencing a "new hire" falling into this statistic must be considered a failure.

Such failure is often despite a track record of success. Indeed, the appointment to a new job in management is always attributable to previous success.

There seems to be three common mistakes that organisations make when instructing a new hire. The first is failing to communicate the exact results that are required. Job descriptions provide an indication of the required results but success in a new job more often depends upon a boss’s assessment. New hires therefore, need to be told what constitutes a success in the boss’ eyes and how such success will be measured.

Giving a clear understanding of what success looks like can be achieved by holding a series of meetings with the new hire. These meetings need to be structured in order to provide the greatest amount of useful information. As such they are best undertaken as formal discussions as opposed to short conversations over the coffee machine. A mistake that a new hire will make is not to arrange for these meetings with a new boss.

The type of information that need to be given to a new hire includes:

· How has the current situation reached this point?
· What problems have been identified if the situation is not improved?
· What actions are expected from the new hire in the short and medium term?
· What would constitute success in the boss’ eyes?
· How and when will performance be measured?

The second mistake is failing to understand the boss’s management style. The new hire needs to ask the boss on the best way to communicate with the boss. Is this by email, report or verbally, and how often? What decisions the boss likes to make personally and what decisions are clearly delegated?

Other information that contributes to success for the new hire is what help the boss is prepared to give.
These include:

· Identifying the people with the most influence in the organisation?
· When and how these influence makers should be contacted?
· What support to plans and actions the boss will give?

A big mistake a new hire can make is to introduce systems and processes that have worked for them in the past without considering the new culture or the people affected. All change will have an affect on other people, particularly in other areas in the organisation, so prior to making changes it’s important to consider the consequences both upstream and downstream.

It’s also worth remembering that new hires are unlikely to positively affect the bottom line within their first few months. Yet in the new hire’s mind there is the need to prove oneself. This often gives the new hire a false sense of urgency that encourages the introduction of “quick wins”. However, the wrong “quick win” can permanently harm a new hire and point the individual towards the “Exit door”.

Quick wins need to focus on creating a reputation for problem solving that satisfies the boss, the team and other parts of the organisation. The boss should discourage changes that look good on the surface but which contribute nothing to profits or productivity. The “quick wins” to encourage are those that remove blockages or simplify a process.

Finally, in order to succeed a new hire needs information about the company, the people and the culture. Such information provides warnings of early mistakes that could create a negative opinion of a new hire in the minds of others. All this can be communicated by the new hire’s boss.

A boss can help a new hire avoid the three main errors, understand the new culture, network with colleagues early and thus significantly reduce the 40% risk of failure.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC

America’s Overwhelm Coach │Systems │Increased Performance │Successful Transitions Linda@HardensteinConsulting
I think the most common mistake is to believe that everyone operates the same way the manager does. I have found the best way to form a team, earn trust, avoid conflicts and enhance team communication is to do an assessment of the team that reveals everyone's communication and work styles. When I provide this type of assessment for the teams I have managed it enables team members to identify their strengths and the strenghts of others. As a manager of teams my main goals has been to enable team members to work to their strengths and it has always worked well.

Amit Gupta

Research Manager at Pipal Research,
Unless the new manager has been promoted from among the team, a new manager is well advised to understand either each or important persons, team dynamics and subtle underflows. Every effort in that direction allows the new managers to gauge competencies, establish equations and work towards developing trust. While managers will forever continue to be observed / scrutinized by his/her subordinates, this is particularly true for the initial period. Like it or not, first impressions matter and persist much longer that we’d like them to. And sometimes, there are no second chances. And this brings into play all of the management wisdom – from do unto others as you want done to you to living by example.

My 2 ¢. Hope this helps. Best, Amit.

Shailesh Wagh

Module Lead at Persistent Systems,
1.Taking team members granted for all decisions which managers take
2.Ego problems due to power & glamor of the position in the organisation
3.Managers thought that as they are managers so why to make their hands dirty by work when team actually needs solution from them
4.Carrying lot of assumptions about team members in mind
5.Some times too bossy....not understanding exact difference between delegation & dumping
6.Not involve deeply in project budgeting & less interaction with sales people

Mujahidin Zulkiffli

Contact Center Professional
Implementing radical change without proper change management process in-placed.

Azmil Abdul Aziz

Service Manager at Standard Chartered Bank
My mentor once told me "People are different, so treat them differently". I have kept this in mind till now. And this quote is very relevant to my answer. Put aside politics - Some people are manager because they would have (at one point of time in their career) proven themselves to be worthy of a promotion. In other words, they are good in what they do!

Sadly, some managers only knows or acknowledges ONE way of being good - THEIR WAY. Therefore, although with good intention, these managers tend to 'force' their way / believes / preferences / even 'brain waves' onto their people. To them - "I have walked this pathway before. All you have to do is follow my footprint & you will be successful too". So, the minute they see their subordinates do something different then what they did, they will be thinking that this person needs help and that a good 'spanking' would teach them a lesson or two to get them back onto the 'footprint'.

However, they forget that each individuals are very different. They are different right down to their genes and upbringing. They have very different dreams, different way of thinking, different way of doing things, different ambition, different preferences, different role models & different reason for living. AND THERE ARE multiple stairways to success, which allows us, as managers, to streamline these differences. But before we could streamline, we must first acknowledge these differences. Just because our way works for us and we became successful, that does not mean that if we force our way onto others, they would be successful too.

So, my advise to new managers - Start by understanding what is the objective you want to achieve and ensure that you and your team understands this clearly. It is alright to be strict by the book. Wrong is wrong, right is right!

But remember to work on those grey areas in managing a team. Learn to know when to let loose a bit & see where the flow goes - you'll be surprise that it may lead you & your team to miracles!!

James Bupp

Electrical Engineer at UTC Power,
Failure to listen to the team members; failure to ask the finial of the team.failure to ask the opinion of the team.
Many times a problem has been seen before, a solution is in place. A manager who fails to check for such things loses credibility very quickly.

Mike McRitchie

Director of Operations at RealCom Associates, LLC - Optimist, Synthesizer, Business Builder...
The biggest mistake is thinking they have to know it all.
This keeps them from opening up and getting ideas from their team.
The end result is the team underperforms because it is limited by the expertise of the lead manager.

Hector Erazo

California Retail Investigator,
I believe it is important to admit when you do not know the answer and rely on your team's experience. By levereging on other's strengths, the entire team has the opportunity to grow and develop rapport.

You Can always Checkback these answers at

I Personally thank to all the people who took out precious time to post and answer.

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