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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Five mistakes managers make most often

Some management mistakes are so common that you can actually compile them into a list. If you’re a manager struggling to find out why your team is dysfunctional, take a look at the behaviors in this list and see if any look familiar.

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Some management mistakes are so common that you can actually compile them into a list. If you’re a manager struggling to find out why your team is dysfunctional, take a look at the behaviors in this list and see if any look familiar.

1. Not communicating with the team. I know, I know, you’ve seen the advice for communicating so often you want to smack someone. I want to smack myself for saying it so often. But you know what? Unless you’re on the front line heading into a military battle, you have to take time to communicate with your team members. You don’t have to pass on every shred of information you’ve gotten from upper management on a new initiative, but you have to give them enough information to know why they’re being asked to do what they’re being asked to do. The more information your team members have, the more ownership they’ll feel in the process, and the better they’ll perform.
2. Continually focusing on the negative. Thinking in negative terms is a common result from working in a reactive environment, which IT tends to be. In that environment, IT spends most of its time keeping the negative to a minimum with goals such as decreasing network downtime or putting out fires. A good leader has to make an effort to recognize the positive. (How about mentioning increased uptime?) Recognize your people for the forward progress they make and not just for their efforts to keep things from getting worse.
3. Changing policy due to one person. The term “team” makes some managers think they have to treat everyone the same way. This is true in many cases, but if one person has a performance issue, don’t take across-the-board measures to correct it just because you’re afraid of confronting that one team member. If one team member is failing to complete some duties in a timely manner, don’t introduce a policy forcing the whole team to submit weekly progress reports. Deal only with the one with the issues.
4. Not understanding the needs and concerns of your team. Some IT leaders find it virtually impossible to tell their bosses that something can’t be done. The team’s bandwidth or overall state of mind takes a backseat to real or imagined glory of being the guy who “gets things done.” Good managers don’t over-promise on their team’s behalf.
5. Never admitting you’re wrong or never taking responsibility. There’s risk involved in being a manager of a team. And that risk is, if your team fails at something, you should and will be the one held accountable. It doesn’t matter if one team member screwed something up; your job was to manage the overall process of all the team members, and you didn’t do it. So suck it up and own up to that. On a related note, if one of your actions caused a kink in a project, admit it. It’s ironic but not owning up to a problem damages your credibility with your team more than simply saying, “I was wrong.”


Author: Toni Bowers, Toni Bowers is the Head Blogs Editor of TechRepublic. She has been in the publishing industry for 20 years, with concentration in IT-related topics. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

Url:http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=796
website: http://www.techrepublic.com

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem, almost too much to handle, When 24 Hours in a day is not enough, Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly, He picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
And proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students, if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open Areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided,'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

  • The golf balls are the important things - family, children, health, Friends, and Favorite passions –Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, Your life would still be full.
  • The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.
  • The sand is everything else --The small stuff.


'If you put the sand into the jar first,' He continued, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, You will never have room for the things that are important to you.

So... Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play With your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. 'Take care of the golf balls first --The things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked'. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'