Debunking 3 Management Myths


I’m not sure when, how or why management became a dirty word, but I think it’s time to debunk all the myths. Here are the top three:


Myth # 1 People don’t need to be managed

Everyone wants the self-reliant, autonomous employee, but few understand the role of management in helping employees get there.

People are so afraid of micro-managing, that they opt for letting people sink or swim instead.

Ironically, when that doesn’t work and they reach a boiling point they end of micromanaging with a vengeance.

Sadly the impact is a cohort of managers who are horrible at setting people up for success.


Myth #2  The right people don’t need to be managed

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly recommend identifying competencies required for a position and the various roles involved with the position. Then using those competencies to guide the interview process, but no human does everything perfectly in every situation.

All people have opportunities for development.


Myth # 3 I only hire competent people.

While leadership plays an important role, management behaviors and activities are especially important when it comes to competence building.

Competence isn’t something you have or don’t. Competence is goal, task or behavior specific. A person can be competent at one task and lack competence in another. Even someone who’s tenured in a role, isn’t competent at every goal, task and behavior needed in the role.


When are management behaviors and activities critical?

When someone is new to a position, goal, task or behavior they need a lot of direction. Directive behaviors shape and control what gets done and how, in other words – managing. Here are a few questions you can ask to determine if these behaviors would be helpful:

  1. Has the person ever done this goal, task or behavior successfully before?

Have they; not could they. This is the difference between competence and potential; two very different things.

  1. Can the person explain it to me right now?

Someone who is competent at a goal, task or behavior, knows it so well they can explain it someone else without looking at notes or needing to do research.

  1. Has the person done this goal, task or behavior successfully in our organization?

Cultural differences and brand promises influence how things get done. What may have been considered successful in one organization doesn’t necessarily translate to successful in another organization. Remember the effectiveness equation: Activity X effectiveness = impact. To be considered competent at a goal, task or behavior they need to do it and do it effectively with the intended impact.

The key to managing successfully is knowing when, which and how. It’s about being flexible and adapting your approach based on what the person needs for the goal, task or behavior.

Schedule a discovery session with StartHuman to learn more about management essentials and situational leadership for your organization.