Dave Kline: The 5 Deadly Sins for New Managers

Dave Kline shares his perspective on the major mistakes new managers make when they get started. Plus, Dave shares his simple steps to remedy or avoid these mistakes in the first place.

Dave Kline highlights the common pitfalls new managers face. In his course, Dave shares is management operating system, CODE: Coach, Operate, Delegate, Engage.

With failure rates consistently ranging between 40-60% for new managers and corporate executives in the United States, it's clear that there is a significant problem plaguing management positions. 
In fact, according to Gartner, a whopping 60% of new managers fail within their first 18 months on the job. But why are these numbers so high? 
Let's explore five common pitfalls that contribute to this managerial failure rate.

1. Failing To Set Expectations

In your role as a manager, there's a good chance that you've been in the shoes of your team members – having once performed the tasks they are now responsible for accomplishing. Throughout those experiences, you undoubtedly acquired invaluable knowledge and developed a deep understanding of how things should be executed efficiently and effectively. 
However, when transitioning into management roles, it can be all too easy to overlook these hard-earned lessons and assume that our team members will simply intuit what is expected of them. This oversight can unfortunately result in confusion, frustration, and even resentment among employees who feel left in the dark about their job responsibilities.
How to Set Clear Expectations
To avoid falling into this common managerial trap, it's vital to establish clear expectations with your team from day one. By thoroughly communicating both goals (the "what") and approaches (the "how"), you set each employee on the path towards success while fostering an inclusive work environment characterized by transparency and open communication.
Not only does clarifying expectations eliminate misunderstandings or ambiguities surrounding job duties; it also empowers individuals within your team by providing them with specific targets to strive towards. When employees have a greater sense of purpose in their work – knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished and how best to achieve it – they're more likely to take ownership over their projects while feeling motivated to perform at optimal levels.
Setting well-defined expectations serves as an essential foundation upon which trust between managers and employees can flourish.

2. Neglecting Delegation

A common pitfall that ensnares numerous new managers is the reluctance to let go of their previous responsibilities, even as they assume additional duties tied to their newly elevated position. 
This tendency can lead to an unsustainable accumulation of tasks – in many cases, piling up at a rate that outpaces completion by a factor of four – while your team members are left idling on the sidelines, awaiting guidance or opportunities for contribution.
How to Delegate Effectively
In order to circumvent this managerial minefield and prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by an unmanageable workload, it's crucial to embrace delegation more rapidly than might initially seem comfortable. By entrusting others with key assignments and having faith in their capabilities, you create an environment where everyone can actively participate and effectively contribute their unique talents towards shared objectives.
Embracing delegation not only benefits overall team productivity; it also plays a vital role in safeguarding against burnout – both for yourself as well as your colleagues. When workloads are equitably distributed among team members according to skills and expertise levels, each person has the opportunity to shine while maintaining a healthy balance between professional commitments and personal wellbeing.

3. Assuming Trust Is Inherent

A common misconception in the workplace is that trust automatically materializes when an individual is promoted to a management position. However, this couldn't be further from the truth; trust must be diligently cultivated over time through consistent actions that demonstrate dedication and reliability. It's important to note that even close friendships and existing relationships may not translate into immediate trust within a professional context.
In the absence of trust, seemingly inconsequential actions or comments can trigger significant ripple effects throughout your team, potentially causing discord and undermining morale. Providing critical feedback without first establishing a foundation of trust can inadvertently inflict long-lasting damage on both personal and professional relationships.
How to Build Trust on Amongst Your Team
To successfully build and maintain trust with your team members, adopt an inquisitive approach by leading with questions rather than dictating directives. By doing so, you create opportunities for open dialogue while signaling genuine interest in their perspectives. Consistently meeting commitments also plays a crucial role in fostering trust – when people see you delivering on promises time after time, they're more inclined to believe in your dependability as a manager.

4. Withholding Clarity

As you step into the role of a manager, it's essential to recognize that your influence extends far beyond just the words you use. Indeed, every aspect of your behavior – from daily habits and actions to overarching priorities and decision-making (or lack thereof) – holds tremendous significance within the workplace. 
Your words, while important for conveying information and expectations, are only one part of this larger picture; they set the stage for how others perceive their roles and responsibilities within the organization.
Offer Clarity
To provide much-needed clarity for your team members while fostering an environment where everyone understands not only what is expected but also how best to collaborate with one another, it's crucial to adopt a balanced approach: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. 
This mantra serves as a reminder that taking time upfront to ensure clear communication regarding expectations pays off in spades by preventing misunderstandings or misalignments down the road.
Achieving optimal clarity goes beyond merely communicating effectively through verbal means; it requires attentiveness towards nonverbal cues as well. As a manager, being mindful of how even unspoken behaviors can significantly impact those around you will empower both yourself and your team members by creating an atmosphere characterized by transparency and trust.

5. Acting Indecisively

Embracing humility and actively seeking input from team members are undoubtedly indispensable aspects of successful management styles that foster a collaborative work environment. It's crucial for managers to strike the right balance between gathering valuable insights from various sources while also making prompt, well-informed decisions when faced with challenging situations.
In pursuit of clarity and understanding, managers should be diligent in collecting data and perspectives from diverse sources to inform their decision-making process. This comprehensive approach not only ensures a more holistic view of the situation at hand but also empowers team members by validating their contributions to the conversation. Nevertheless, it is important not to let this quest for information hinder timely decision-making or lead to analysis paralysis.
Is it Time to Debate or Decide?
To maintain momentum and keep projects moving forward, managers must be mindful of which mode they are operating in: "debate" or "decide". The debate phase involves engaging in meaningful discussions with stakeholders that encourage open dialogue, constructive criticism, and creative problem-solving. Once ample information has been gathered – along with varying viewpoints considered – it's time for leaders to transition confidently into the decision-making mode.
During the decide phase, final choices need to be made assertively without succumbing to indecision or apprehension about potential failures. Demonstrating decisiveness as a manager not only instills confidence within your team but also sets an example for them on how best to navigate complex situations that require tough calls under pressure.

Emotional Intelligence Saves the Day

A crucial but often overlooked aspect of successful management is emotional intelligence. As new managers transition into their roles, they must shift focus from individual achievement to collective success within the team. 
According to research by SHRM and insights from Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of education, honing one's emotional intelligence is key for developing beneficial relationships with both direct reports and supervisors.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Management
Many newly-appointed managers continue relying on strategies that previously worked for them, such as achieving results at all costs. But this approach can be detrimental when applied to management positions because it ignores the importance of teamwork and collaboration.
As McKee points out, "That's a sure way to fail as a manager because as a manager you get results through the people you manage. This requires a great deal of emotional intelligence." 
By focusing on collective achievements instead of solely personal ones, managers can better understand how their actions impact those around them – ultimately leading to more effective decision-making processes that benefit everyone involved.
Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills
To cultivate high levels of emotional intelligence among your managerial skillset, consider implementing these practices:
  • Self-awareness: Recognize your own emotions and reactions in various situations; understand how they may affect others around you.
  • Empathy: Put yourself in other people's shoes; appreciate their feelings as if they were your own.
  • Active listening: Pay attention not only to what others say but also how they say it – including body language cues or tone changes – so you fully comprehend their message without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions based on preconceived notions about what they might mean.
  • Adaptability: Be open-minded towards change; adjust your behavior accordingly when faced with unfamiliar circumstances or new information while maintaining composure under pressure even during challenging moments where the outcomes remain uncertain.
  • Conflict resolution: Address disagreements or disputes among colleagues professionally by seeking mutually beneficial solutions that promote harmony within the workplace. 
Emotional intelligence is a vital component of successful management. By honing their emotional intelligence skills, new managers can better understand, relate to, and communicate with their teams – resulting in more effective leadership that fosters collective achievement over individual successes. 
Avoiding these five common pitfalls can greatly improve one’s chances of success as a new manager – not only by increasing job effectiveness but also by fostering stronger relationships built on trust among teams. 
By setting clear expectations, delegating tasks effectively, building trust through consistent behavior patterns that prioritize transparency over ambiguity; acting decisively after thorough assessment processes – new managers will lay the foundations upon which successful careers can be built while creating environments conducive to growth and collaboration for all involved.

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