We've all made our share of errors as managers, and there are countless horror stories on the internet about management gone wrong. Read on for a selection of things you shouldn't be doing when managing people.

by Pierre Bernard
Date Published December 7, 2023 - Last Updated December 4, 2023

We live in the third decade of the twenty-first century. Using your favorite browser, your can find on the internet way too many so-called "horror stories" about bad management behaviors. We've all made our share of errors as managers, and these stories can be fun to read (and relatable). 

In my previous article, I spoke about six things you should be doing when managing people. In this article, I'm discussing six things you should not be doing when managing people (there are more than six, but this is a start). Basically, I am flipping the previous article’s narrative.

  1. Keep all the decision making to yourself. You are the manager; hence, you're the boss, so you should know everything. You should be the one to tell them what to do. Empowering people is a threat to your job security. Hover over them like a hawk, micromanage them.
  2. Don't mentor your personnel. Mentoring is highly effective for developing knowledge and skills of your people within your team, for supporting their professional goals. Isn’t this why we have a human resources department? Experience is gained at the sweat of your brow. Let them figure it out on their own. Who’s got the time to mentor anyway? What a waste of time.
  3. Don't develop their talent(s). Why should you pay good money to educate and train your staff so they can get a better (paying) job elsewhere? They have a job to do. They can learn on their own. It’s called on-the-job learning. They should do what you are telling them to do. See #1 above.
  4. Don't coach your personnel. Coaching? We're not a sports team. We're a serious organization. Coaching in business is simple. Tell them what they need to do. When they make a mistake (and they will), you will only have to ask one question: What did they do this time?
  5. Don't send your staff on courses or on training sessions. You hired them because of what they know. You hired them based on their experience. If they lied on their resume they should be terminated. You are a hawk over them all day long. You can’t afford to leave them alone for a moment, let alone attend training yourself. If you can’t then neither should they. What’s next, they will think they know more than you do? Maybe they’re after your job...
  6. Don’t do any of the five things above, please. This article uses some real comments I've heard (and thought myself) in my nearly four-decades-long career. It uses sarcasm to poke fun at negativity in the workplace. There's too much of that. Let us be more positive in treating our personnel and our colleagues.

I believe in the inverted pyramid of management. I work for my staff. I am there to remove the obstacles to their success. But even I used to think in terms of items 1-5 above. That is until someone took me aside and mentored me on the necessity of doing better. Here are a few tips.

  • Create a plan to mentor and coach your personnel.
  • Create an education plan.
  • Block time in your schedule for mentoring and coaching your personnel.
  • Block time in your personnel schedule to attend the mentoring and coaching sessions.
  • Mentor and coach, your personnel. Do not cancel the sessions.
  • Block time in your personnel schedule when they will focus on learning something (education).
    • This should be part of the education plan.
    • Ensure they do it by “testing” them afterwards (not a real test, but do ask them questions about what they learned).
  • Make sure that all projects introducing new technologies or new software includes education and training for your personnel as well as support documentation.
  • Ensure education and training sessions take place when scheduled. Ensure people attend when scheduled.
Tag(s): supportworld, people, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, leadership, performance management


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