Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Common Management Mistakes

Achieving excellence in management requires being fully aware of faulty practices and a possessing a desire to alter how you manage your employees. Understanding basic behavior-based principles is key. The following are widespread management mistakes that can easily be corrected to help achieve organizational success.

1. Employee of the Month

While this longtime management practice is used to motivate all employees, it is only able to recognize one employee at a time, leaving others’ performances uncelebrated. Instead, understand the goals of implementing a performance reward program, and establish criteria that recognizes all employees who deliver outstanding performances.

2. Stretch Goals

Stretch goals may seem necessary to improve performance, but are typically set too high. These goals are rarely reached and cause employee discouragement, efforts towards reaching the goal begin to slide and eventually are extinguished completely. Try setting mini goals instead and reward smaller achievements. These positive reinforcements keep employees motivated along the way as they reach the final large goal.

3. Ranking

Publicly displaying how an employee ranks based on objective measures is a common practice in a sales environment. The idea behind it is to motivate, but it inhibits sharing and teamwork and creates unhealthy competition. Evaluate individuals and teams in terms of what they need to accomplish. People will not only achieve high rates but also assist others in achieving as well.

4. The Sandwich

The sandwich practice is when managers sandwich a criticism between two positive statements. Using this method creates a “waiting for the other shoe to drop” atmosphere and any positive reinforcement is met with suspicion. In spite of the fact is it commonly taught at many management training sessions, it does nothing to protect the ego of the performer. Instead, be direct when behavior needs correcting and then positively reinforce all instances of corrected behavior.

5. Promoting Jerks

It is commonly thought that a person who is well liked is not effective at producing results. This is understandable, as most managers think hard-nosed negative practices produce the best results. The reality is that there is a direct correlation between practices such as those and operational costs including high turnover, grievances, absenteeism, training and recruitment. The first screen in promoting someone should be whether people would want to be around this person. Look for managers and leaders who produce results by understanding behavior from a scientific perspective. These leaders are always well-liked.

6. No-Apology Downsizing

Most downsizing is done in a matter of fact way, while assigning the remaining employees even more work to do. Those left after layoffs look very carefully at the way companies treat the terminated employees, and more often spend their time looking for a new job instead of being productive. An alternative to this scenario is to get all the employees involved in a solution to avoid lay-offs. If lay-offs need to happen, be more generous than you need to be to those who are downsized and it’ll help calm the anxieties of the remaining employees. Make sure you also plan positive reinforcement for the accomplishments of those left that have taken on the extra work.

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