5 Habits That are holding you back

from being a great manager

Management is a challenging job. You are responsible for growing your people, solving customer teams, and delivering business value. You unblock your team members to be their productive best, provide help and support along the team, and build a cohesive team. There is so much at stake.

What if your habits are holding the team back, instead of pushing them forward? What if your habits are getting in the way of achieving success?

I have put together a list of 5 habits that are holding you back from creating a productive, successful team and becoming a great Manager. These habits may seem harmless and trivial but please know that in reality, they are bringing you and your team down.


1. Not investing in the growth of your people

Managers often get too wrapped up in project work and ignore their people. In order to grow your team first, you need to understand the individual strengths of every single person on your team. Once you are aware of their skills, do your best to align work accordingly that lets them use their strengths. Don’t ignore their weaknesses either. Partner with them to find help to handle their gaps.

2. Not involving your team in decision making

When you first became a Manager, did you think you are need to make all decisions for your team? Don’t worry you are not alone. Many Managers to this day believe that. It’s one thing to feel responsible for your team, it’s quite another extreme to make all decisions yourself. Get your team involved. Provide good context around the reasoning, timeline, stakeholders, pros and cons and work together to arrive at a decision. Your team will respect you for getting them involved. You will also get their buy-in when committing to timelines.

3. Saying yes to every request coming to your team

Have you ever worked with a professional who said yes to every request? Did you really trust this person to deliver? Nobody has infinite capacity. Certainly not your team. Don’t become a Yes-Man/Woman. You cannot make everyone happy. So don’t play this game. Be very clear about your company goals, customer needs, business priorities, and your team charter.
When you decide to take on new work due to higher priority, figure out what else needs to go. Letting your people burn out is not an option.
When you run into situations when a new piece of work is absolutely needed but there is no bandwidth or it does not align with your team’s charter, find ways to get it done outside of your team. There is no need to feel territorial.

4. Overprotecting and not challenging your people enough

When you start to manage a team, you start feeling protective of your people. That’s normal. However, I want you to remember that your team members are not your children. They are your peers and colleagues, capable of good work, and deserve your respect. They need your support when blocked and help when stuck. They need you to find opportunities for their growth. When you shield them too much, you stunt their growth. Don’t let them cruise. They will get bored after a while and leave. Stretch them a little. See if a little tug allows for more growth. You will be surprised by how well they do when you offer them growth opportunities.

5. Not painting a clear vision

In multiple surveys, employees have said they need work to be meaningful. You can help them by sharing company goals and business value of the work they are doing. When they are assigned work on a project, discuss why they are a good fit for this work. How does this work provide them opportunities to use their strengths and achieve their personal goals? When a project is completed, discuss success metrics, customer feedback, and ways to refine the product. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and allows for closing the loop.