The workplace is changing as rapidly as the technology that drives it.
Yet there are still a surprising number of stubborn beliefs about management that just won’t change, and frankly, just aren’t very true.
One reason these myths persist is people don’t understand what managers do (and, unfortunately, that includes a lot of managers).
Here are seven management myths that you might want to reconsider:
Myth #1) It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
It seems like you can’t go a day any more without bumping into someone complaining about some injustice at work.
And with good reason, since there tends to be a lot of that going around these days.
Among the more common “injustices” is this: “He only got there because of who he knows.”
It’s usually uttered by someone stalled on their own career path. But there are surely countless examples of when who you know will get you opportunities that may not otherwise have come your way.
What’s certain is who you know will never make you a great leader, or even a marginally competent supervisor.
So, in the short term it may be true that who you know helped get you that promotion. But over the long haul, these folks will rise to the level of their own incompetence, and for the betterment of those who might be affected, hopefully be rendered harmless.
Myth #2) That’s Why You Make The Big Bucks
Don’t you hate that one?
Unless of course, you do happen to make the big bucks, in which case, how do you justify taking the time out of your day to stop and read this blog post?
For the rest of us, well, managers are a notoriously underpaid bunch.
If you haven’t already checked, glassdoor.com keeps a running list of manager salaries, so you can go see where you stand (AFTER you are done reading this).
So, looking at the bigger picture, there are 21.7 million managers exempt from federal overtime rules in the U.S., according to the Dept. of Labor.
More than one-third of them make less than $50K annually.
Now, that’s a lot of underpaid managers NOT making the big bucks.
Myth #3) We Treat Everyone The Same Here
Now, there’s a managerial challenge that will keep you on your toes: Treating everyone the same.
First, why would you even want to? Maybe you want to treat them fairly. But do you really want to treat them the same?
The exact same?
How can you do that?
“That question typically comes from very caring managers who genuinely want to accommodate the individuals on their team, and who are wary of being taken advantage of and opening the floodgates for special privileges,” writes Susan Reilly Salgado on Inc.com.
“So the question of fairness is fundamental; and my advice often surprises them. The answer is no – you shouldn’t treat all employees the same.”
Instead, Salgado advises managers to value each employee for what they do and how well they do it.
Myth #4) Managers Don’t Seem To Do Much Of Anything
This is an absolute belief among more employees than most managers like – or care – to admit.
Too many employees believe this because they see their managers wandering around the workplace and talking to people, but never actually making a widget.
And so, from the employee’s perspective, it stands to reason the manager is just gabbing and idling the day away.
Obviously, what they don’t understand is that managers have very different jobs and work on very different tasks than the rank-and-file.
For instance, improving morale and engagement can be done in many different ways, and in many different places.
But it is almost always done through meeting and talking with people.
So, if you aspired to management because you believed they don’t do anything but walk around and gab, be careful, for you may pretty soon find yourself un-promoted.
Myth #5) It’s Easier To Just Do It Yourself
If you plan to manage that way, or you already have been managing that way, you are asking for trouble.
One of the biggest mistakes managers make is thinking that just because they can do something better and faster, then their job will be easier if they just do the work themselves, especially when they’re pressed for time on an important task.
That’s exactly when you want your people totally involved in a task and getting their hands dirty.
The sooner you let your people do the jobs they were hired for, and help train and develop them, the sooner they are able to do even more.
The result is increased productivity, a better team, and a better manager running that team!
Myth #6) The Manager Should Be The Smartest Person In The Room
It is good to be smart. But being savvy is oh so much better than being smart.
Yes, you have to be smart to be a good manager. You need all the knowledge and understanding you can muster.
But there is so much you have to know that you can’t know it all, you can only act like you do, which is a recipe for failure.
The savvy manager knows how to take advantage of the skills and talents of everyone on the team. Find people’s strengths and play to them. Give everyone more of what it is they are good at.
That may mean you have to walk around and talk with people about what they do, how they do it, and what they like about their jobs.
And that may mean people will think you don’t do much of anything except walk around and gab.
But don’t sweat that. It works itself out.
Myth #7) Work Hard And One Day You ‘Will Arrive’
Uh, no you won’t.
And the moment you think you have arrived, you’ve missed the point.
Good managers keep growing. They stay fresh, seeking new ideas though a natural sense of curiosity.
An organization that allows itself to become complacent will soon be overtaken by the competition.
The same is true for managers. The more successful you are, the more you will be tempted to think you have arrived.
That’s why the greatest enemy of your continued success is your current success.
Celebrate success, for sure. But keep going.