3 Common Mistakes People Managers Make (& What To Do About It)

When it comes to people we regularly hear three common complaints from managers.
#1 My people don’t listen to me.
#2 My people don’t do what I tell them to do.
#3 My people don’t care as much as I’d like them too.

Can you relate to any of these? If you can, please read on. This may help if you lead a team.


Leading People
As a leader of a team of people, I have a question for you. Are you tuning in to how much you may be contributing to these ‘people’ issues you face? What might your part be in creating these issues?

This question may seem slightly confrontational. However, I assure you, that if you are prepared to keep reading, some answers to these problems will emerge. How open and willing are you to apply yourself differently? It’s one thing to ‘know something’ and it is another thing to ‘do it’. Experience comes from doing.

“True knowledge is experience – Everything else is just information” ~ Albert Einstein

Sit quietly and read through this check list. Challenge yourself to improve. What can you do to ensure you don’t repeat these 3 Common Mistakes?

Here are 3 Common Mistakes Managers Make (& What to Do About Them)

1. Failing to Really Listen
I want you to imagine you are pitching your idea to someone. And somehow you know that they are not really listening to you. Their eyes glaze over. They’ve tuned out. They are just pretending to listen. They are in their own thoughts preparing to talk over you. How do you feel in this scenario? Not very polite is it?

Consider that we are all mirrors. If you have had this done to you in the past, is it possible you are repeating this? And, if you are doing this to others, is it possible, that you are being copied by people in your team?

Imagine the self-talk of the employee. “There’s no point saying what I really think to my boss, he’s (or she’s) not listening any way”.

As a manager of people, are there times you fail to listen? And in doing so, are you creating an environment of not ‘really’ listening? Address this and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find your people will begin listening too. Why? Because they’ll do as you do.

2. Failing to Ask Clearly
Most people fail to realize the strategic advantage of asking. Think back in time. We’ve all had experiences from our up-bringing of being told what to do. Did you enjoy being told what to do? The answer of course is… “No”. And so this creates the question, “If I didn’t enjoy being told what to do, what would have worked better?” And the answer is possibly, “being asked”.

And so, I now ask you this question: “What would life be like for you (and for your team) if you asked your people to do what you want them to do, rather than tell them?”

When we as managers are in ‘tell’ mode rather than ‘ask’ mode, the message is often lost. It doesn’t land. The recipient of the message cannot ‘hear’ for being ‘told’.

When you are committed to really having your team work with you, you will find it easy to convert your statements and instructions to questions. This starts the new habit of asking rather than telling. When people are asked, they listen. When people are asked they are poised to hear more clearly.


3. Failing to Really Care
It’s easy to spot people in a team that we think don’t care. If this is happening in your business, what can you do to increase your own care? Do you ask questions that really check in on how they are doing? Are you thinking of them as workers? Or as people? While you may not be in a position to get around to everybody, when you do connect with these people, are you present with them or are you rushed?

What could you do to demonstrate you care more? When you begin to respond to this question and operate differently, your people will show up differently too.

It all starts with you. If you are the manager and leader and you have problems, look to yourself first. Check in to see if the behaviors you’re asking your people to do better at are aspects of your own approach that you also could improve on. Start with yourself. Be the change you want to see in others.

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