8 Things Managers Do That Hinder Their Teams

Jul 20, 2015
6 Min Read

Manager often spend countless hours trying to figure out ways to get their teams to be more efficient and productive. But perhaps it’s time they find the answer to the team’s productivity problems by looking in the mirror.

You’re the kind of leader who stays late or works weekends to ensure your department is as productive as possible. Your work ethic, you believe, is an inspiration to your subordinates.

Well, maybe.

It could be that you think you’re doing all you can to help your team be as productive as possible, but the brutal truth is that your team thinks you actually impede their productivity.

Here are some of the things you do as a manager that drag on your team and makes them less productive:

  1.  You bring personal drama to work.  In a study of 199 leaders and their family lives, it was found that conflict at home influenced a leader’s well-being at work, often leading to burnout. That, in turn, led to similar feelings among employees. “Our results underscore that  [a leader’s] family life matters at work, influencing not only their own well-being but also how they motivate and support their followers,” researchers say.
  2. You don’t listen. An Accenture survey of 3,600 professionals from 30 countries found that two-thirds believe that listening has become significantly more difficult in today’s digital workplace. Part of the problem is that a leader may be too accessible. Specifically, 62% of women and 54% of men say that technology is overextending leaders by making them too available to others.
  3.  You ruminate too much. With the flood of data these days, it’s easy to ask for one more report or analysis before you make a decision. But in looking at 360-degree feedback from more than 50,000 leaders, it was found that one of the most significant paths to poor decisions was ruminating to the point that an opportunity was missed. Sometimes indecision is worse than making the wrong decision because it paralyzes the team.
  4.  You multitask.  A University of Utah study finds that multitasking slows you down, even when doing something like driving a car. So, if you’re a leader who is multitasking, you’re actually slowing down your team because it’s taking you longer to send emails, return phone calls or give directions.
  5. You give poor feedback.  A study of nearly 23,000 leaders shows that those who had engagement scores from subordinates averaging 25% also ranked in the bottom 10% in their ability to give honest feedback to direct reports. A team that receives vague, inconsistent and unfair feedback will be less productive because they’re more disengaged. At the same time, a boss who goes overboard and offers a “great job!” for even the smallest achievements can undermine the ambition of the team to stretch their skills and achieve greater results.
  6. You micromanage.  Workers who are micromanaged perform at a lower level, research shows. “It’s a natural tendency, even among seasoned managers, to think close examination of a direct report’s work will improve it,” says Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay. “But tread this path too often, and any gains realized from process improvements will be offset by the deleterious effects of disengagement. “
  7. You never say “I don’t know.” Leaders may feel pressure to always have all the answers – or believe they always do. But not listening to others on a team can slow down processes and bring about less innovation. If you’re only listening to your own voice, you become stagnant in your thinking, and lead your team to believe they shouldn’t even try to provide a better – or a different – answer.
  8. You want to be friends. It’s a hard truth, but one all managers need to accept:  You can’t be besties with your team. If you try and be buddies, you’re never going to be able to make difficult decisions that may include disciplining a team member. You can be friendly, of course, but it’s much more important that your fairness and integrity keep the team moving forward – not bogged down by your need to be pals with everyone.

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