New Managers Beware: 7 Deadly Sins You're Probably Committing!

Jul 26, 2023

I've watched new managers stumble, trip, and sometimes face-plant on their journey to leadership. And you know what? Most of the time, they're all tripping over the same hurdles.

So, I thought, why not share these common pitfalls with you? That way, you can leap over them like a pro and avoid the face-plant. Sounds good, right?

Today, I'll reveal the 7 things new managers do but need to STOP immediately. These are the secret traps that are holding you back from being the leader you're meant to be.

A warning: some of these might surprise you. They're not your typical management mistakes. They're the subtle, sneaky ones that creep up on you when you're not looking.

Sin 1: Being a Friend, Not a Manager

The Buddy Trap

When you first step into a managerial role, especially if you've been promoted within your team, it's natural to want to maintain the same friendly relationships. But here's the thing - you're not just a buddy anymore, you're a leader.

Let's break this down:

  • Understanding the Difference: As a manager, your role is to guide your team, make tough decisions, and sometimes, deliver criticism. These responsibilities can be challenging if you're trying to be everyone's best friend. It's important to be friendly and approachable, but you also need to command respect and authority.
  • Striking a Balance: This doesn't mean you have to be cold or distant. The key is to strike a balance. Be approachable, but also maintain a level of professionalism. You can share a laugh with your team, but when it comes to work, you need to ensure that everyone is focused and productive.
  • Handling Difficult Situations: There will be times when you have to handle difficult situations, like addressing performance issues or mediating conflicts. In these situations, being seen as a friend can make things complicated. As a manager, you need to be fair and impartial, which might mean making decisions that your 'friends' might not like.
  • Respect Over Popularity: Remember, your goal as a manager is not to be the most popular person in the room. Your goal is to lead your team effectively. And that requires respect, which comes from being fair, supportive, and decisive.

So, as you navigate your new role, keep this in mind: respect is more important than popularity in your role as a manager. It's a tricky balance, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it. And remember, you're not alone in this. Reach out to other managers and mentors for advice and support.

Sin 2: Overpromising and Underdelivering

The Promise Breaker

Let's dive deeper into this one. As a new manager, you're eager to prove your worth, and I get it. You want to show your team, and maybe even yourself, that you can deliver results. But here's the catch - overpromising and underdelivering can be a career killer.

Why Do We Overpromise?

There are a few reasons why you might fall into this trap:

  • You're eager to impress.
  • You underestimate the complexity of tasks.
  • You're afraid to say no or push back.

The Impact of Overpromising

Overpromising and underdelivering can lead to:

  • Loss of credibility with your team.
  • Lower team morale as they scramble to meet unrealistic goals.
  • Damage to your reputation within the organization.

How to Avoid Overpromising

Here are some strategies to avoid overpromising:

  • Understand the Task: Make sure you fully understand the task at hand before making any promises. If you're unsure, ask for clarification or more time to assess the situation.
  • Be Realistic: It's better to promise less and deliver more. Be honest about what you can and can't do.
  • Learn to Say No: It's okay to push back or say no if a request is unrealistic. It's better to be upfront than to let someone down later.

Remember, as a manager, your word is your bond. If you say you're going to do something, make sure you can follow through. It's all about setting realistic expectations and then meeting them. That's how you build trust and credibility with your team.

Sin 3: Ignoring Feedback

The Feedback Dodger

Let's dive deeper into this one, because it's a biggie. As a manager, you might think you're the one who should be giving feedback, right? But here's the twist - you should be on the receiving end too.

Why Feedback Matters

Feedback is like a mirror. It reflects your actions, your decisions, and your leadership style. It's how you see the effect you're having on your team. Without it, you're leading blind.

Common Mistakes

Now, there are a couple of mistakes new managers often make when it comes to feedback.

  1. Ignoring it: This is the big one. Maybe it's uncomfortable to hear, or maybe you're just too busy. But ignoring feedback is like throwing away a treasure map. You're missing out on the chance to find gold.
  2. Not asking for it: Sometimes, feedback won't come to you - you have to go to it. If you're not actively asking for feedback, you're sending the message that you don't value it. And that's a message you don't want to send.

How to Do Better

So, how can you avoid these pitfalls and make feedback your ally? Here are a few tips:

  1. Be open: Let your team know you value their feedback. Make it clear that their opinions matter to you.
  2. Ask for it: Don't wait for feedback to come to you. Ask for it regularly. It could be as simple as a quick check-in after a meeting, or a dedicated feedback session.
  3. Act on it: Feedback isn't just for listening - it's for acting. When you receive feedback, take it on board. Make changes where necessary. Show your team that their feedback has an impact.

Remember, feedback is a tool. Use it wisely, and it'll help you become the best manager you can be.

Sin 4: Not Adapting to Individual Team Members

The One-Size-Fits-All Manager

Let's talk about a common trap new managers often fall into - treating everyone on the team the same way. Sounds fair, right? But here's the thing - fairness doesn't always mean sameness.

Understanding Individuality

Every person on your team is unique. They have their own strengths, weaknesses, and work styles. Some might thrive under pressure, while others need a calm environment. Some might be detail-oriented, while others are big-picture thinkers. Recognizing these differences is the first step to becoming a great manager.

Common Pitfalls

So, what mistakes do new managers often make when it comes to individuality?

  1. Ignoring Differences: This is when you treat everyone the same, regardless of their individual traits. It's like trying to fit square pegs into round holes - it just doesn't work.
  2. Not Adapting Your Style: If you're using the same management style with everyone on your team, you're not getting the best out of them. Different people respond to different styles of leadership.

How to Improve

So, how can you adapt to individual team members and get the best out of them? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get to Know Your Team: Spend time with each team member. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, and work styles. This will help you adapt your approach to each individual.
  2. Adapt Your Style: Once you understand your team members, adapt your management style to suit them. This might mean giving more guidance to some, while giving others more independence.
  3. Celebrate Diversity: Make it clear that you value diversity in your team. Celebrate the unique skills and perspectives that each person brings. This will help create a positive and inclusive team culture.

Remember, a great manager isn't just a leader - they're a chameleon. They adapt to their environment and bring out the best in their team. So, embrace individuality, and watch your team thrive.

Sin 5: Not Prioritizing Professional Development

The Stagnation Advocate

Now, let's talk about a topic that's close to my heart - professional development. It's not just about attending workshops or getting certifications. It's about continuous learning and growth, for you and your team.

The Importance of Growth

Here's the truth of it: standing still is the same as moving backward. If you're not growing, you're falling behind. And as a manager, your growth isn't just about you. It's about your team, too. Your growth helps them grow.

Common Mistakes

So, what are the common mistakes new managers make when it comes to professional development?

  1. Ignoring It: This is when you focus solely on the day-to-day tasks and ignore the bigger picture. It's like driving with your eyes on the hood of the car - you're not seeing the road ahead.
  2. Not Making Time for It: Professional development takes time, and it's easy to feel like you don't have enough of it. But remember, time spent on growth is an investment, not an expense.

How to Do Better

So, how can you prioritize professional development? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make It a Priority: Schedule time for professional development, just like you would for a meeting. It's an important part of your role.
  2. Encourage Your Team: Make professional development a team effort. Encourage your team members to learn and grow, and provide them with the resources they need.
  3. Lead by Example: Show your team that you're committed to your own professional development. This will inspire them to do the same.

Remember, professional development isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. So, make it a priority, and watch as you and your team reach new heights.

Sin 6: Neglecting Team Building

The Lone Wolf

Let's move on to a topic that's often overlooked - team building. You might think it's all about trust falls and awkward icebreakers, but it's so much more than that. It's about creating a team that works well together, supports each other, and achieves great things.

Why Team Building Matters

A team is more than just a group of people working together. It's a unit, a well-oiled machine. When your team works well together, they can achieve more than they ever could individually. That's the power of team building.

Common Mistakes

So, what are the common mistakes new managers make when it comes to team building?

  1. Ignoring It: This is when you focus solely on tasks and results, and forget about the people doing the work. It's like trying to drive a car without oil - it might work for a while, but eventually, it'll break down.
  2. Doing It Half-Heartedly: Team building isn't something you can do once and forget about. It's an ongoing process. If you're not committed to it, your team will notice.

How to Do Better

So, how can you make team building a priority? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make Time for It: Schedule regular team building activities. They don't have to be big events - even a regular team lunch can help build relationships.
  2. Get to Know Your Team: Team building starts with understanding your team. Get to know them as individuals, not just as employees.
  3. Lead by Example: Show your team that you value team building. Participate in activities, and show genuine interest in getting to know your team.

Remember, team building isn't just a nice-to-have - it's a must-have. So, make it a priority, and watch as your team becomes stronger, happier, and more productive.

Sin 7: Not Setting Personal Boundaries

The 24/7 Manager

Finally, let's talk about something that's often neglected - personal boundaries. As a manager, it's easy to feel like you need to be available 24/7. But here's the truth - you're a human, not a machine. And humans need boundaries.

Why Boundaries Matter

Boundaries are like fences. They protect your time, your energy, and your mental health. Without them, it's easy to become overwhelmed and burnt out. And a burnt-out manager is not a good manager.

Common Mistakes

So, what are the common mistakes new managers make when it comes to personal boundaries?

  1. Not Setting Them: This is when you're always available, always working, always on call. It's like running a marathon without taking a break - eventually, you're going to collapse.
  2. Not Respecting Them: Even if you set boundaries, they're useless if you don't respect them. This means not checking emails after work hours, not working on your days off, and not letting work spill over into your personal life.

How to Do Better

So, how can you set and maintain personal boundaries? Here are a few tips:

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: Decide when you're available for work, and when you're not. Make these boundaries clear to your team.
  2. Respect Your Boundaries: Once you've set your boundaries, stick to them. It might be hard at first, but it'll get easier with time.
  3. Lead by Example: Show your team that it's okay to have personal boundaries. This will help them set their own boundaries, leading to a healthier and happier team.

Remember, personal boundaries aren't a sign of weakness - they're a sign of self-respect. So, set them, respect them, and watch as your work-life balance improves.


So, there you have it - the 7 things you need to stop doing as a new manager. Reflect on these points, see where you can improve, and start making changes.

And that's a wrap! Keep learning, keep growing, and we'll speak again soon.




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