After 8 years as a manager fairly close to the ‘coal-face’ I’ve made a few observations of my own which I’ve decided to share. The motivation for this is to allow managers and employees at all levels to identify these mistakes and work to rectify them.                                                                                              

These are my observations…

1. You wouldn’t pay your lawyer £100p/h to cut your grass, so why do managers insist on doing this with the company’s money? Ok, so it’s not exactly this scenario but it’s very similar. Project managers on over £40k per annum are spending entire days inputting data. Managers should be thinking about what employees cost and using their time effectively, ensuring value for money for the company as a whole.

2. Not ‘inspiring’ your employees to work. The military are taught to ensure their subordinates understand their overall intent and what it is they are trying to achieve. When managers are away and there is nobody to give constant direction, employees are able to use their initiative and work towards an end goal, only if they understand the wider purpose of their work. Understanding the overall aims also creates buy-in from your employees making them feel part of something bigger. This will help them to understand deadlines and hopefully provide them with more fulfilment from their everyday work.

3. “We’ve always done it that way”. Often quoted as the 6 most expensive words in business. Whilst you may have tried and failed previously in streamlining practices, in such a fast moving technological world, new technologies are constantly emerging. These new technologies can make what was once impossible, possible. Businesses must learn to strike a balance and nurture good ideas. One of the huge benefits of new employees is that they often bring insightful new perspectives. Don’t waste these ideas.

4. Stagnation – Not allowing progress within the business. Failing to spot future talent or spotting it and not acting on it. In the worst case scenario companies will have senior slots and not look internally to fill them. This leads employees to look elsewhere for progression, leaving the employer to fill both the more senior position and the slot that has just been left vacant.

5. Toxic culture – Perhaps the most important of all. A culture that values money and results above all else, often neglecting the finer details that are important to achieve a successful, positive and profitable organisation in the long term. In a fast moving, money driven world, this ugly trait is rearing its head more and more. Companies are increasingly expecting individuals to work late for no reason other than to display a hard working ethos, not understanding that their employees have lives outside of work. This diminishes employee satisfaction and makes that critical ‘surge’ that you need on an important job all the more difficult to achieve, with employees already being burnt out. A toxic culture can also encourage employees to stamp on each other to get to the top, which may produce excellent results from individuals in isolation. However, with employees not assisting each other as much as they should, along with the associated drop in morale, the impact on the wider business far outweighs these small, short-sighted benefits.

Do you agree with these big mistakes?
Do you know of companies that are particularly good in these areas and why?
Are you aware of another ‘big mistake’ that I’ve not included in this list?

Post your views in the comments below.