As a manager, our role is very crucial in any organization. Every decision or action that we do can make or break our organization. Which is why from time to time, it would be beneficial to do a little self-check whether our actions are still aligned to what we really should be doing. Here are some fatal mistakes that managers make, and check out whether you may need a little tweaking yourself.

(Click here to view items 1 to 7)

7. CONCENTRATING ON PROBLEMS INSTEAD OF CONCENTRATING ON OBJECTIVES – We have to concentrate on achieving success not the obstacles that are in the way and stopping us achieving that success. The opposite force of that is summed up in the word CREATIVITY – that is what we want! An explanation of Creativity is, “An Understanding of the forces impacting upon us and then using and utilizing those forces to help us achieve our goals.” We get into conflict with our environment and the forces around us because we have the “Right Answer.” We are conditioned to believe that there is always a right answer – from school and exams onward. In business there are numerous right answers. A French philosopher once said, “There is nothing more dangerous than an idea when you have only one.” We need to have great flexibility, and this generates creativity. So when you get found with a problem you do not ask yourself what is this going to do to me, you ask yourself HOW can I use this opportunity to achieve my goals.

8. MANAGERS WANT TO BE THEIR PEOPLES BUDDIES AND NOT THEIR BOSS – You cannot socialize with someone all evening and then expect to manage them in the office the next day, they will not allow it. You might win the popularity contest, but you will lose the Management and Business contest. You have to ask yourself, do you WANT to be a manager or do you want to be something LESS than a manager. When it comes to socializing the simple question to ask yourself is “Never do anything with an Employee that you would not do with your own client or Bank Manager.” When you go out with your people you must remember it is never totally social, if you have a Christmas Party; for them it is social – for you it is business.

9. FAILURE TO SET STANDARDS – Standards are provided for management. They must be understood, they are not a punishment, the are used to increase the level of pride in being affiliated to that organization. Standards help to separate people from the masses and give them PRIDE. The higher the standard the greater the pride in being affiliated to you. I suggest you set your peoples standards in performance and stress it will increase their pride.

10. FAILURE TO TRAIN PEOPLE – If someone does not do a job it is only for 3 reasons.

a) They do not know what the job is.
b) They do not know how to do it.
c) Someone or something has interfered with their belief and their desire and ability to do it. (usually it is the first two) Training takes care of this. So often we do not train – we tend to educate. There is a big difference between training and educating.

EDUCATION – is to provide knowledge. The purpose of training is to get ACTION. You must ask yourself what they will do after a training programme. Training is meant to develop skill.

SKILL – The ability to readily and easily utilize knowledge to be able to perform.

REMEMBER, “Those who can do – those who cannot teach!” In many cases we have people who teach who cannot perform THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED. You see, in sports you do not have a coach who cannot perform because he has to have been able to understand the sport, he is teaching by doing it. A teacher doesn’t. You see, as a teacher you can have knowledge without skills because actions develop skills.

A skill is something you use instinctively and naturally, and it is only when you have trained to the extent that you can expect high level performance. It is only then that people should be allowed to proceed to the next level up…. MANAGEMENT!!!!!

11. A TENDENCY TO CONDONE INCOMPETENCE – Mainly by ignoring it!!

If you see an employee whose behavior is deplorable or you do not like: – if you ignore it then that behavior will recur and you are therefore condoning it, and eventually that employee will repeat and repeat it until eventually the offence becomes too great that it will anger the manager to the extent that he will then attack the employee, and when you attack an individual then the communication lines between you will be cut.

Never confront an individual in anger. Always confront incompetence immediately if possible. Do it in private (however, do not make it a habit to the people in your office only to give them a talking to, because that becomes a signal of what is about to happen). Be specific, tell them the exact performance that was lacking, use data, documentation, be clear do not complicate it. Do not compliment and confront at the same time as it will add to confusion. Do not confront without planning a re-direction. When someone has been re-directed and then does something right, then compliment them. When someone does something that upsets you, tell the person what it is they have done that is wrong and that makes you feel upset; tell them how you feel and why you feel that way. Go over the points so that they understand the severity of the situation, and then get an agreement that it will be put right.

12. RECOGNISING ONLY TOP PRODUCERS – We forget that we have people at different levels of maturity, and because of that performance levels will be different too. Very often smaller producers will be paying more in terms of a price and emotional input, and I suggest that they deserve recognition too. Perhaps even more so if we want to help them progress and develop further. I suggest the backbone of the company is the medium, strong, steady performer, not the top performer. Someone who is there day in and day out giving you a certain amount of work and effort. Everyone deserves recognition for accomplishment.

13. TRYING TO MANIPULATE PEOPLE – We must not use threats or fear: “Produce or you lose your job.” That’s wrong. If you put people under enough pressure, they will respond but it is short lived. After 3 weeks they will not respond to threats or fear. Neither must we rely on incentives or rewards only because they stop titillating after a period of time and they also become a right, people then expect that, and when people come to expect it. Managers resort to fear management again.


Builders and manipulators think differently. Top quality people and performers have something that others haven’t. They have BELIEF! They believe in themselves. They believe in their organization, and they believe in what that company does – its products and services, and our job as managers is to do selling job, and not to sell a product but to sell BELIEF daily. You must become dedicated to becoming a belief builder.

Gerard O’Donovan, CEO, Noble Manhattan Coaching