Top Management Myths

There are many people who don't understand what managers do. Unfortunately, that includes some managers. Listed below are the top ten myths that non-managers and some managers believe incorrectly about management.

You have to yell a lot

Two women talking in office
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Smart managers don't yell a lot. Yes, sometimes it is necessary, but those times are few and far between. As a manager, if you find you are doing a lot of yelling you should investigate why. Is it because people aren't doing what you tell them to do? If so, make sure the instructions you are giving are clear to them. It doesn't matter if they are clear to you; they have to be clear to the person you want to do the task.

Many times speaking softly can cause the other person to have to listen more closely. That stops them from talking and changes the tone of the conversation. More

Managers don't do anything

Many employees think their managers don't do anything because they never see the manager doing anything but wandering around and talking to people. They don't recognize that managers work just as hard, if not harder, than their employees. They just work on different tasks.

When you see a manager "standing around talking" he or she may be getting clarification of goals and objectives. They may be discussing ways to improve cooperation with another department. Or they may be working to build up an employee's morale. Much of what managers do doesn't look like work, but it is just as difficult to do well as any task being done by their employees.

And any managers who became managers because they believe that being a manager means they don't have to do anything will find themselves demoted or fired pretty quickly.

It's all about meeting goals and hitting targets

Metrics and KPI are the numbers businesses use to measure progress toward goals. The important thing to remember is that the goals are what is important, not the measurements. If you "hit your numbers" every time, you may still not achieve your goals. Don't get lost in the counting. Instead, keep your eye on the target. If you're meeting your numbers, but not getting to your goals, take a look at what's wrong with the numbers. More

You can't be fair if you want to keep your top people

Fair doesn't mean equal. You have to treat all your employees fairly, but that doesn't mean you treat them the same. Top performers will get the most rewards. They have earned them. Where fairness comes in is in how you treat all the employees. If you have a policy that everyone has to be at their desk at 8AM sharp and you look away when a top performer comes in at 8:30, but you reprimand someone else who comes in at 8:10. That's not fair. And that kind of favoritism will quickly undermine your effectiveness as a manager. More

Managers are just planners

Yes, good managers do a lot of planning. It's one of the four key elements of Management 101. But it's not all they do. After the plan is in place, managers have to track progress against the plan and take corrective action if there is a deviation. More

Managers make more money

In many cases this is true, but the trend is changing. Many companies are realizing that management is a different skill, but not necessarily a better one. Technical employees, especially in technology companies, are frequently paid more than their managers. This most often occurs with senior technologists and more junior, front-line managers, but can occur almost anywhere in the hierarchy.

It's hard to become a manager, but easy when you get there

See #2 above. The people who believe that it's easy after you become a manager don't understand the difficulty and complexity of management.

On the other hand, it is not that hard to become a manager, especially if you start as a project manager. More

You have to be available to your team 24/7 to be a good manager

Yes, as a manager you will probably work longer hours than anyone else on your team, but that doesn't mean you have to be available all the time. You need to take a break from time to time to recharge your batteries just like everyone else. Whether it's taking time to go out for lunch sometimes instead of always eating at your desk or getting away for a well-deserved vacation you have to make time for yourself. If you don't, you will burn out and be no good to anyone.

That's okay. It's easier if I do it myself

Perhaps the biggest mistake managers make is thinking that just because they can do something better and faster than anyone on their team that their job will be easier if they just do the work themselves when it's important. The opposite is true. Your boss didn't get to be a boss without learning to delegate, so he or she will notice that you aren't delegating. Secondly, when you do delegate (and make sure you are delegating and not dumping your work on someone else) you train and develop your team and they become capable of doing more. This increases the productivity of your team and it makes the team members happier.

You have to be the smartest person on the team

Yes, you have to be smart to be a good manager. There is so much you have to know and do that it can seem overwhelming. But that doesn't mean that you are the smartest person on the team or even that you have to be. A good manager takes advantage of the skills and talents of everyone on the team, even while working to develop other skills. If someone on your team is a better artist than you, let them work on the presentation materials. If an employee is a better listener, assign them to that cross-functional team. It's the same with a smarter employee. Use their talents. Don't worry about it and try to beat them. Use your talents to the fullest and those of your employees regardless of what they are.