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7 Management Mistakes That Hurt Productivity and How to Avoid Them
by Derek Miller
May 7, 2023
Employees working at desks sitting on yoga balls in business office

No one is perfect, just like no office is perfect. We all dream of working for a company that appreciates our every move, that gives us creative license to experiment, and never questions our ability to make good decisions. Unfortunately, the reality is that most employees feel undervalued and overworked in their roles.

The desire for increased productivity leads to some managers making some common mistakes that, ironically, lessen productivity.

Here are seven management mistakes that hurt productivity and employee satisfaction.

1. Don’t be complacent

Being a manager is not always easy. One of the main reasons it’s so difficult is that successfully managing employees requires a unique mindset. You must understand and accept that as a manager, you are responsible for setting your employees up for success. In fact, the success of your department is much more a representation of your management than your individual employees.   

Great managers understand their role and always strive to be better. This means learning to maneuver the unique dynamics and personalities of each individual employee. It means adjusting your management style depending on situations, employees, and other varying circumstances. It requires delegating tasks, holding your team accountable, and developing an environment that encourages employees to speak freely without fear of repercussions.

Don’t become complacent as a manager. Always look for inefficiencies in your department, and collect feedback from your team. Actively looking for ways to improve your management will help you improve your skillset while also increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.

2. Learn to delegate and trust employees

By now you've probably heard, "Employees don't leave companies, they leave managers." While it may seem obvious, micromanaging is one reason for high turnover. Constant nagging can leave your employees feeling like you have no faith in their abilities. Great managers trust employees and hold them accountable.

While not always easy, delegating is one of the most important skills of successful leaders. Sometimes, all it takes is a little self-management, stepping back, and allowing your team to get the job done. It can take some practice, but you're sure to see a spike in productivity once they have the freedom to do what you hired them to do.

3. Avoid being sedentary in the office  

Working in an office used to mean sitting at your desk, in a cubicle from nine to five, getting up only during your designated lunch break to stretch your legs. Unfortunately, a lot of companies still hold tight to the traditional office setting and believe that an employee’s productivity increases with the amount of time spent at a desk. However, a sedentary office environment can actually decrease productivity and employee satisfaction.

The American Psychological Association estimates that exercise can boost your work productivity levels by 15%. While you may not be able to add a gym to your office, you can encourage your employees to use the stairs, take frequent stretch breaks, and set up creative spaces away from the cubical for your team to work.

Those willing to think outside the cubicle might be surprised to find that healthier employees contribute to healthier, more successful companies — not to mention the long-term benefits such as lower insurance costs.

4. Don’t overuse meetings

Conducting too many meetings is another common management mistake that hurts employee productivity. Meetings are a great way to address issues and set expectations with your team, but they can also interrupt the daily flow and waste a lot of time if not managed properly.

Great leaders use meetings sparingly. When a meeting is necessary, try creating an agenda that you share with everyone prior to the meeting. Make sure to follow the agenda, and keep the conversations centered on a specific topic. The more efficiently you run meetings, the more productive your team will be and the less likely you are to run into communication errors.

5. Have realistic expectations

One of the biggest roles of a manager is to hold their team accountable for goals and objectives. This can be difficult if expectations are not clear and realistic. Having impossible goals that your employees can’t achieve can be detrimental to employee and company morale. Great managers can assess resources and set challenging, realistic goals.

Remember, expectations do not need to be stagnant. In fact, you should always be looking at goals and milestones with your team and adjust them based on historical data. Take your time setting goals, and make sure they are based on realistic expectations.

6. Encourage work-life balance

We all seek a healthy balance between work and play, but it can be challenging to find in a world that doesn't have an on/off switch. Technology is a blessing, but it can also be a curse to those who work in a highly competitive office that prides itself on working around the clock. Even the most committed staff will find themselves quickly burned out when they have to sleep with a smartphone in one hand and a tablet in the other. Besides, research shows that more hours worked does not equal higher productivity, so why not encourage staff to play more during off-hours? Your employees will thank you, and your company will benefit in the long run.

7. Know how your employees like to be recognized

Most people want recognition for doing good work that contributes to the overall success of the company. While managers mean well, one common mistake is providing recognition to everyone in the exact same way. If you do your research, you will likely learn that some of your employees love public acknowledgment, while others may prefer a private thank you. Not knowing these preferences in advance may lead to someone feeling shorted, or embarrassed. It may seem like extra work, but getting to know your employees can lead to a better, more loyal staff who is willing to work that much harder when they know their contributions are appreciated.

Does it seem like your company could benefit from a few changes? Don't fret; you're not alone. Whether you suffer from one (or all) of these management mistakes, it's never too late to turn things around. With some time and a little effort, you'll soon find your employees are happier, more productive, and committed to supporting your company through thick and thin.

About the author
Derek Miller
Derek Miller is a content marketing consultant for CopyPress. CopyPress is a leading digital content production company, specializing in articles, infographics, interactives, and videos.
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