frustrated young female manager with angry colleagues

Tips on How to be a Good Manager – Avoid These Mistakes!

Nobody likes working under a mean boss, and the same is true for managers. So, seeing as you carry a lot of responsibility as a manager, you must also be careful of making mistakes with the people under your leadership. From overseeing projects to motivating employees, your team’s success depends on how you lead. However, no one is perfect, and mistakes are bound to happen no matter how much you try to be a good manager. The good news is that with some awareness and a few simple changes, you can avoid the most common manager mistakes and create a more productive work environment.

But what are these management mistakes, and how can you avoid or fix them?


Many managers fall into the trap of micromanaging, which can be detrimental to the manager and the employee and ultimately lead to poor management. To avoid micromanaging, focus on setting clear expectations and deadlines, giving your employees the freedom to achieve them in their way. Delegate tasks and trust your team to do the job well.

Viewing Employees Only as Resources

Managers who view their employees solely as resources or tools may not foster a healthy work environment. Instead, recognise your team as individuals with unique strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Get to know them, listen to their ideas, and show that you care about their well-being.

Reacting Too Slow to Problems 

In any workplace, problems are inevitable, and managers who react too slowly may worsen the situation. Be proactive and prioritise potential issues before they become more significant problems. Communicate with your team regularly and encourage them to speak up if they notice any concerns.

Not Giving Enough Feedback

Employees need feedback to grow and improve. Managers who fail to provide regular feedback may stunt employee development and limit productivity. Provide both positive and constructive feedback regularly and consistently. Make sure it is specific, actionable, and delivered promptly.

Not Taking Responsibility

angry manager pointing at and rebuking employee

As a manager, your role is pivotal in fostering the success of your team. It is important to understand what makes a good manager and strive to embody those qualities. Instead of shifting blame onto others when faced with challenges, a good manager takes ownership of their mistakes and seeks opportunities for growth and learning. By demonstrating accountability and a willingness to learn from setbacks, you establish a culture of personal and professional development within your team. This approach not only strengthens trust and collaboration but also inspires your team members to continuously improve and achieve their fullest potential alongside you.

Being Too Casual with Employees

Set clear boundaries and expectations for behaviour in the workplace. While building a rapport with your team is essential, being too casual can blur the lines between professionalism and authority. Find the right balance by being approachable yet maintaining a professional demeanour.

Providing Unclear Direction

A manager’s ability to give clear directions is crucial to achieving team goals. Without clear direction, employees may become confused and frustrated. Be specific and concise when giving directions, and provide additional resources or training if necessary.

Failing to Acknowledge Employee Efforts

Recognising and acknowledging employee efforts can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation. Failing to do so may lead to employee burnout and decreased productivity. Take the time to acknowledge your team’s efforts and celebrate their successes.

How Can Executive Coaching Help?

Executive coaching can be an effective solution for managers who want to avoid or fix the common mistakes listed above. A coach can help managers identify their tendencies to micromanage or react too slowly to problems and offer strategies for shifting their behaviour. By providing a safe and confidential space for honest feedback, coaches can help managers view employees as people with unique strengths and areas for development and offer guidance on giving more frequent and meaningful feedback. Coaches can also help managers take responsibility for their actions and lead by example rather than being too casual or failing to provide clear direction. Through coaching, managers can learn to acknowledge employee efforts, creating a positive work environment that motivates employees to do their best.

But It Doesn’t Stop There. Remember, It’s Also About What Managers Fail to Do

young male manager deep in thought

My Team and I coach and mentor various of business and organisational leaders. Some are entrepreneurs who have created successful seven or eight-figure businesses, whom we coach as part of our business coaching and business mentoring program. Others are executives in larger corporates or government organisations for whom we provide executive coaching and executive mentoring.

Regardless of the leadership demographic (business owner or executive) we all agree that there is one mistake that most managers make. It is not micromanaging, nor bullying, nor even poor execution.

In fact, it is not really about anything they do. It’s about what they don’t do, or don’t do enough.

What is the Biggest Mistake Managers Make?

The biggest mistake managers make is failing to engage and develop their individual direct reports. Perhaps the majority of managers we have worked with have initially failed to make the time for regular interfacing with their team members, individually. They fail to get a real grasp on how to develop their direct reports. How to motivate them. How to enable and fast-track the increased capability of their direct reports.

Why is this? There are several reasons (rather excuses) but the most common is managers citing a ‘lack of time.’ Many if not most managers regard the operational and strategic imperatives of their role as the real priorities.  The ‘management stuff ‘ is what they may get around to ‘if I ever get enough time.’ Which of course in their minds, they rarely do.

This shows a real lack of ability of managers to prioritise around what is arguably the most important aspect of their role – to lead and develop their people. If a manager’s job is ‘to get things done through other people,’ then engaging and developing your team must be the highest priority as a manager. Even more than much of the ‘operational stuff.’

Asking the Right Questions

man holding up paper with question mark symbol covering his face

If you are a manager, ask yourself ‘how well do I really engage with, develop and grow all of my direct reports?’ Not just the ‘stars’ or the ones I like, but all direct reports.

Then ask yourself ‘why isn’t developing my staff my highest priority?’ Staff engagement and development is perhaps the ultimate ‘Quadrant 2’ activity for managers in Covey’s Time Management Matrix.

What would happen if it did become your highest priority as a leader? How would the people that report to you grow, develop and become more effective (thereby increasing your own overall team and leadership effectiveness?)

What You Can Do

If you need to improve your ability to develop and grow your individual team members, start with the following steps:

  • Put regular catch ups with each of your team members as a mandatory calendar entry each week
  • Rate your team members individually on the Skill/Will Matrix. This is where you rate your individual reports out of ten for their skill to do their role, as well as their current willingness or motivation to do it. Where you rate them, as per the matrix, determines what they most need from you as their manager to develop them.
    • In short- low skill, low will – you must micromanage them
    • Low skill, high will – you must enable/fast track their capability development
    • High skill/low will – you must find out what intrinsically motivates that individual and leverage off that
    • High skill/high will – you must delegate, enable and empower these people to do more of their role without your intervention.
  • Repeat step 2 every six months and when new team members arrive.

Taking the time to develop your individual team members takes motivation and discipline. Yet it will be the most rewarding thing you can do as a manager and will go some way to differentiating you from 90% of other managers.

Can Coaching Help?

Certainly! Recognising when managers may need coaching to gain additional guidance is essential for preventing common mistakes and promoting effective leadership. It offers a supportive and safe space where managers can reflect on their actions, strengths, and areas for improvement. Through compassionate coaching, managers can gain insights into their own management style, develop better communication skills, and learn effective strategies for motivating and empowering their teams. By working closely with a coach, managers can enhance their emotional intelligence, foster better relationships with their employees, and nurture a positive work environment that promotes productivity and growth.

Become a Better Manager with Stride Group

male manager and executive coach having a discussion

At Stride Group, we understand the challenges that come with managing a team. That’s why we offer executive coaching services in Melbourne to help managers avoid or fix the common mistakes that can hold them and their teams back. Our experienced coaches work with each individual manager to identify areas of improvement and develop personalised strategies to help them succeed. With help from our executive mentors in Melbourne, managers can become more effective leaders, build stronger teams, and achieve their professional goals. Contact us today to learn more about our executive coaching services and how we can help you take your management skills to the next level.

More on the Skill/Will Matrix

The Skill/Will Matrix was previously described as something you can do to enhance each team member’s unique skills. Based on each team member’s motivation and ability level, this tool can assist leaders in determining the best coaching approach to apply. Leaders may better understand their team’s strengths and limitations by using this matrix, and they can then modify their approach to boost engagement and performance. To learn more about it, we encourage you to read our upcoming blog article about the Skill/Will Matrix, in which we’ll go into more detail about this matrix and how to apply it to improve your leadership abilities.