Top 7 Fears Holding Managers Back

fears holding managers back

Are you only good at your job or also good at managing people? If you are a top performer but lack managerial skills then there may be some fears holding you back. Find out what they are if you want to be indispensable at work.

Everybody is under more pressure today. Most managers are under even more pressure.

Plus, your manager probably moved into a supervisory position because they are very good at something, but not necessarily because they are especially good at managing people. If your manager is like most, they received very little in the way of effective management training.

Meanwhile, the pendulum of management thinking, books, and training has also swung in the wrong direction, toward hands-off management. Popular books have naively insisted that employees do their best work when they are free to manage themselves.

According to this “false empowerment” approach, employees should “own” their work and be free to make their own decisions. Managers are merely facilitators; they should not tell employees how to do their jobs, but rather let them come up with their own methods. Make employees feel good inside and results will take care of themselves.

Read What Is Your Attachment Style At Work? QUIZ

But let’s face it. You know very well that somebody is in charge and that you will be held accountable. You do not have the “power” to do things your own way, you are not free to ignore tasks you don’t like, you are not free to do as you please. You can only make your own decisions within defined guidelines and parameters that are determined by others according to the strict logic of the enterprise at hand.

The fears we don’t face become our limits
Top 7 Fears Holding Managers Back

When your manager gives you responsibility without sufficient direction and support, that is not empowering you. That is downright negligent. Unfortunately, most managers have bought this false-empowerment philosophy and don’t take a stronger hand when it comes to managing—they don’t even perform the basic tasks of managing. Most managers undermanage.

Here Are The Top Seven Fears That Cause Managers To Undermanage:

Fear #1: They are afraid of micromanaging.

Fear #2: They are afraid of being unfair by not treating all employees the same.

Fear #3: They are afraid of being perceived as a “jerk” and want to be liked.

Fear #4: They are afraid of having difficult confrontations with employees.

Fear #5: They are afraid to break organizational rules and procedures and feel constrained by bureaucratic red tape.

Fear #6: They are afraid they are not natural leaders so have little hope of being a good manager; or worse, they think they are a natural leader so they don’t have to practice the basics of management.

Fear #7: They feel like they don’t have enough time to spend managing you.

These seven fears keep too many managers from providing their direct reports with the guidance, direction, and support they need. That’s probably true for your manager too.

In order to help your manager give you the guidance, direction, and support you need, start by focusing on Fear #7. No matter how busy your boss may be, your boss does not have time not to meet with you on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong. You should be very careful about wasting even one minute of your boss’s time, or anybody’s time for that matter. Your bosses have their own tasks, responsibilities, and projects besides their management obligations to you and their other direct reports. Your boss is busy. You are busy. Nobody has a minute to waste.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Fears.
Top 7 Fears Holding Managers Back

Read How To Unleash Your Inner Yoda: The 8 Step Plan To Lead Your Team Through Uncertainty

That’s exactly why neither you nor your boss has time to not meet one-on-one on a regular basis to talk about your work. When your boss doesn’t spend time one-on-one with you, expectations often remain unclear, misunderstandings occur, you don’t get the resources you need, you don’t receive regular feedback to guide you, and even if you succeed against all odds, you probably won’t get the credit you deserve.

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Bruce Tulgan

Bruce Tulgan, JD, is the author of It’s Okay to Be the Boss and the CEO of RainmakerThinking, a management research, consulting and training firm he founded in 1993. All of his work is based on 27 years of intensive workplace interviews and has been featured in thousands of news stories around the world. His new book is The Art of Being Indispensable at Work (Harvard Business Review Press.)View Author posts