6 Minute Read

Learn From the Worst? Management Best Practices

Guest Blogger: Robert Conrad


Even though not everyone is cut out for management work, somehow, a few bad apples still seem to make their way into it. Unprepared and ill-suited to management, these misfit leaders quickly become stressed, and often take out their frustration on their teams. These misplaced managers fail to embody the traits and techniques of more successful leaders, and the resulting fallout of their performance can be devastating to their businesses.


Don’t Be a Micromanager

Because no one enjoys working with one, and at the end of the day, they do little but cause unnecessary stress for everyone involved. Micromanagers go about their day constantly worried about inconsequential minutia, leaving workers feeling like they need to constantly re-evaluate their work. Over time, the workers begin to expect failure and may just stop trying at all.

The Harvard Business Review states that micromanagers tend to:

  • Never quite be satisfied with the work that’s produced.
  • Become easily frustrated with procedures that differ from theirs.
  • Become way too absorbed with minute details.
  • Want every decision ran by them, no matter how small.
  • Require constant updates from employees.

Some may even take pride in this title, and while it may generate positive results initially, it’s not a title of which to be proud. In fact, studies have found that extensive micromanagement puts a halt on internal innovation, even contributing to employee absenteeism and health problems.

If you find yourself worrying about such low-hanging fruit, just stop. Doing so will free up your time to worry about more managerial duties, or perhaps the next great idea that will propel your company to greatness. Your employees will thank you, too.


Don’t Lose Your Cool Under Pressure

Because nothing’s more paralyzing to employee morale than working for a manager that doesn’t have a handle on their emotions. A manager may possess a high level of expertise, but that can quickly be negated without an accompanying high level of emotional intelligence. An example of this would be a perfectionist who can’t handle the pressures of time-sensitive work or an overly sensitive soul who can’t handle constructive criticism.

Recently, researchers Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzkis discovered a large performance gap between emotionally intelligent and unintelligent managers. Their research determined that everyone possesses mirror neurons whose only job is to detect the smiles and laughter of others, prompting a similar response from the observer.

Naturally, it was found that top-performing managers were able to elicit laughter out of their employees three times more so than mid-performing managers. With managers being at the forefront, not having a good handle on their emotions can only serve to put their employees on edge, thus cutting into productivity and ultimately morale, if allowed to continue unchecked.

Keep your head together and focus on the big picture if you want to put your workers at ease and lead them to greatness.


Don’t Be a Poor Communicator

Because if you do, over time, your employees may forget why they’re doing the job in the first place. In fact, a recent study revealed that 64% of employees would work more efficiently if they were better motivated to do so. They cannot be expected to perform at their best if they aren’t even aware of what they do and where they stand.

Of course, part of being a good communicator is to clearly state your expectations and provide consistent feedback. Engaged employees are more likely to outperform those who don’t understand their duties or even know where they stand with the company in general.

Furthermore, managers who are able to practice empathetic listening and not simply barking orders can learn a lot from their employees, such as:

  • Their personal insights.
  • The factors that motivate them.
  • Their communication style.

If you want to build a lasting camaraderie and high level of trust with your employees, practice effective communication and be consistent.


Be a Better Leader Today

It’s not too late to put these tenets into practice. Granted, building trust is an exercise that requires time, but if you want to be the leader that people follow and can be inspired by, set the example and truly listen and engage with those around you.


Bio: Robert Conrad is a former manager/trainer with over 10 years of experience. His specialty during that time included new team building and training initiatives. When he’s not trying to save the world as a mentor for at-risk youth, he can be found either hanging out with his son or firmly planted in front of his Nintendo. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google+.