Humans make mistakes. It’s normal to make mistakes because we spend so much time at our jobs.
But, mistakes are not something anyone wants to make. The worst mistakes can be fatal to your career.
This article will focus on three small but important mistakes that you may make every day at work and how to fix them.
1. Mistake: People management
#1 Mistake: Reacting. How to fix it
#3 Mistake: Thinking we must know everything. How to fix it
I have seen managers of all levels make these mistakes, no matter how small or large they are. It’s something I have done.
They are bad habits that can be easily fixed.
Susanne MadsenSusanne Madsen discusses the three most common mistakes managers make in her book The Power of Project Leadership.
I have taken her principles and expanded them to what I believe they mean for managers today. These habits are you able to recognize in your own practice?
Mistake #1: Prioritizing tasks over people
How can managing tasks be a management error? As a manager, that’s your job.
Management errors occur when you place too much emphasis on managing tasks and not enough on leading people.
People get work done. Teams deliver projects. Look beyond the tasks and see the bigger picture. If your team is stressed or bored, it’s not worth having the most detailed task list. Management should consume most of your time.
My experience shows that people who are skilled at managing tasks and projects are less adept at managing people. Maybe because they don’t like the task of managing people and projects. Maybe because they don’t believe it is as important.
People are important. This is even more so now. Unhappy employees leave. Or worse, they may stay and be disruptive and share their bad moods with everyone else.
How to fix it
Mentally allocating time in the day for leadership tasks such as:
Meeting people in person
Chatting with people over the phone
Clarifying your vision and objectives for your project (over and again).
This way of thinking requires that we get rid of the notion that leadership and management are two different things. They are both different, but they can’t be separated in real life. They only differ when you read or study about them.
I don’t switch between being a leader or a manager in my day-today work. Both. I do them all the time. It’s not something I choose to do, it’s part of my job.
#1: Reacting too quickly
I’m reactive. I respond to emails as they arrive. It can be very stressful. Although I would love to have more time to be more proactive, it is hard to organize enough to be proactive. I don’t have much time.
That attitude is wrong, I know.
We lose sight of what is important when we are too focused on what is urgent. Urgent tasks eat up brain power that could be used for other tasks, such as planning for next week’s project meeting or getting ahead.
You can be proactive. You can examine what could stop you from achieving your goals, and then deal with those risks. Then, you can support your team.
This is a requirement of strategic planning cycles. However, you may only do it once a year or when a new project must be prioritized in relation to the existing portfolio.
How to fix it
Now think about what you could do to prevent something from happening on one of your projects. It could be:
Revision of your plans and their updating
Put your risk management plans into practice
Get in touch with your stakeholders to let them know what’s happening
Preparing a communication plan
Organise a celebration for the team when the project is finished.
You can also use wi-fi to help you feel calm and collected inside.