Whether you’re a brand new manager or have been managing for years, great management is an art as well as a science. Many otherwise excellent managers find themselves tripped up by pitfalls that can sink their ability to lead effectively. If you want to take your management abilities to the next level, watch out for these common mistakes.

Office Politics

No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to eliminate office politics altogether. But you can minimize the effects that they have on your team. Take yourself out of the political game by adopting a neutral posture, and make sure that you treat everyone equitably. Let your team know that everyone deserves respect, and that you won’t tolerate stepping on each other’s toes while trying to get ahead.

Misunderstanding Fairness

Treating everyone fairly does not mean treating them the same. Trying to plug your employees into a cookie-cutter idea of fairness is a recipe for disaster. Instead, get to know them as individuals. Figure out their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the way they view the workplace. Relate to each person as a unique human being, and you will quickly learn how to apply fairness without putting your employees in a single box.

Guessing

While it’s important to be confident, it’s equally important to know when to ask for help. If you don’t know the answer to something, or you’re unsure how best to proceed, reach out to others. Learn as much as you can about your production schedules, turn down projects that would strain your resources, and be honest about both what you know and what you don’t know. When you make a mistake, own it, apologize, and rectify it as soon as possible.

Micromanaging

A good manager monitors employee progress while also understanding how to stay out of the way. Provide clear direction, including your overall vision for each project, and schedule regular check-ins. Open the lines of communication and encourage team members to ask for help when needed. Then step back and let your employees handle it. They’ll come to you when they need you.

Being a great manager is challenging. It’s something you’ll need to actively work on every day. But watching out for these common pitfalls will set you on the road to becoming a better manager.

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