Tap to Read ➤

Top 10 Management Myths

Shweta Ajwani
In the words of Robert Heller, 'The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill'. Find out how much of what Heller said is a myth and how much of it is a fact. Also discover the thin line that separates a management myth from a management fact.
"Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them." - Paul Hawken
Management is defined as the efficient and effective utilization of resources available at hand to solve a problem, or achieve a particular set of defined goals. The steps that define the process of management are: planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.
Facts About Managers and Management

1. When a manager is hiring, the foremost quality anticipated is 'talent', followed by experience, determination, and competence.
2. While setting a goal, the expected output is defined, not the expected strategies.
3. When a manager motivates an employee, the strengths of the employee, and not the weaknesses, are brought into play.
4. The management promotes a certain employee by shifting him or her to the 'apt' position, not just to the 'next' position.

Now that the facts about management have been set straight, let us have a look at some myths about management.
The Formula for Success
Myth: There exists a definite management formula, which when applied, ensures successful functioning and rise of an endeavor.
Fact: There is no definite formula. Every organization involves unique parameters which need to be handled in a unique way.
The numero uno myth that revolves around management is that there exists a definite formula which defines exactly how organizations need to be managed. That is not true. The parameters involved in each equation differ, and the management tactics need to be improvised accordingly.
This ensures that each entity's potential is tapped to the maximum, which automatically aids in efficient management of individuals, as well as the entire team.
Follow 'The' Strategy
Myth: A specific set of steps or a predefined strategy needs to be followed to successfully manage an operation.
Fact: Improvisation is the need of the hour.
If a particular strategy worked out well for a single organization, it does not necessarily mean that the same strategy would straighten the problems of other organizations.
It needs to be understood that as long as there are different individuals involved, the methods of action will change accordingly. Also, management is a level-based activity and needs to be altered for each scenario, each dispute, each employee, and each issue among other levels.
Hitting Targets = Achieving Goals
Myth: If daily, weekly, monthly, and annual targets at the employee as well as the managerial level are being met, the company is achieving its ultimate goals and ambitions.
Fact: Hitting numbers might keep the organization abreast with its targets, but there is a possibility that the underlying goal might be missed in the race for numbers.
Measuring an organization's performance 'only' against the targets achieved is deficient management. The most significant way to measure the success rate of any organization is to keep track of whether the crucial and significant criterion of achieving underlying goals is being met.
If meeting targets drives the organization one step closer to its aim, then well and good. But, if it does nothing to enhance the bigger picture, the best way out would be to check the insufficiency of 'sufficient' numbers.
Equal Treatment for All
Myth: The only way in which the management manages its employees is by treating each employee equally.
Fact: 'Fair' treatment and not 'equal' treatment is the key.
'Fair' treatment, and not the 'same' treatment is the key here. It is obvious that excellent performers will be rewarded with incentives, and they deserve it. However, underachievers and below-average to average performers must be motivated to excel as well.
Then again, fairness should not overlap with favoritism. Favoritism at the workplace hampers effective management, which could give rise to unwanted moral and ethical issues.

Less Delegation = High Quality Output

Myth: Managers delegate sparingly to ensure perfection and flawless results.
Fact: They delegate aptly to achieve perfection.
An organization hires its employees to get work done. Although the management strives for perfection, it is impossible to achieve it single-handedly. The success of any mission, especially when a team is involved, depends hugely on teamwork.
Employees are hired because they are considered apt for a certain position and are expected to put in their best to achieve personal as well as the organization's goals. The management should trust the employees and delegate aptly, which taps each entity's potential and collectively aims at perfection and flawless results.
Autonomy = Empowerment
Myth: An employee works best when allowed to work autonomously and without the interference of the management.
Fact: An employee works best when he is allowed to work independently, yet guided efficiently.
The key is to be authoritative, yet subtle. Handing over the reins and controls entirely would jeopardize the functioning and, ultimately, the output levels of the organization. Employees must be allowed to work independently up to a certain level.
It is highly impractical to let them take on crucial projects without the guidance of the management and experts. Efficient management can be practiced by designing a blueprint of a team plan and letting the employees know of what is expected of them.
Also, continuous supply of feedback and performance measurements can be used to guide the employees, and still let them come up with efficient methods and solutions to achieve the set target.

Your Contacts > Your Knowledge

Myth: The only way in which you can reach your dream destination is not by the use and application of your knowledge and understanding, but by developing your contacts and building a bigger social network.
Fact: Without knowledge and potency about a particular operation, your contacts and social network will all go in vain.
An organization hires a particular person based on their potential and understanding of the subject in question. Resources as essential as time and money will not be wasted on someone who is not competent enough for a particular role, just because he or she was referred to by someone at a higher level in the organization.
The management trusts its organization by making someone a part of their project and it is their right to expect that the hired employee does complete justice by giving in their hundred percent. On the other hand, it is unfair and impractical to think that promotions are determined by not how hard someone has worked, but because how well they knew someone.

Tough Journey and Sweet Destination

Myth: The path traveled to get to the management level is difficult, but once you get there, life becomes easier.
Fact: Complex, difficult, and tough. Management is anything but easy.
Management sure looks like a pretty place to be at. Of course, it is a rewarding position, but the complexity and difficulty of holding that position is miscalculated and underestimated. Employees are expected to perform and excel at only certain levels and tasks. The management, on the other hand, is involved at every level, making their work that much harder, tougher, and complex.
The Leadership-Management Bridge
Myth: Leadership and management are two different things.
Fact: There exists a very thin line between managing a team and leading a team.
Although it is true that leadership and management are characterized by different skill sets, it is also a fact that effective management is not possible without the appropriate leadership skills. A good leader is one who leads a team effectively in times of crises or otherwise.
In other words, a leader 'manages' available resources to achieve set targets and goals. Conversely, a good manager 'leads' his team with appropriate guidance, direction, and counseling.
Management = 'Just' Planning
Myth: All that the management needs to do is plan strategies, methods of execution, targets, and goals.
Fact: Management exceeds beyond planning; it also means making sure that the plans are being executed as planned and expected results are being achieved.
The biggest misconception any employee, or for that matter, a manager, may have is that no work needs to be done once you enter the management. Management is tough and is accomplished collectively at different levels.
Based on the availability of resources, it is the management who decides the ideal targets and strategies that need to be followed to achieve set goals, which is not an easy task. It is the management who comes up with a 'Plan B', if something is to go wrong with the original plan.
Constant improvisation, on-the-spot remedies to problems, and efficient application of available resources to achieve maximum results are some of the pointers which tell us how management is a crucial job and not just child's play.
The points listed above are the top ten management myths that have been around since time immemorial. Other myths that also hold a strong place are:
1. The manager needs to be constantly available for his or her employees to maintain smooth functioning of the organization.

2. The manager needs to know everything and should be able to do everything that each of his or her employee is capable of.
3. Managers with MBAs are the best managers, and are the only ones that can be the best managers.

4. A tough manager who is confrontational and yells a lot is a great manager.

5. A manager needs to be, and should be, smarter and more intelligent than his or her team members and employees.

6. Being a manager means making more money than anyone else on the team.
7. Management is a science.

8. Incentives result in better performance, and ultimately, in better results.

9. The time on a manager's hands is just not enough for management.

10. The management's primary responsibility is not the people, but the project/product/organization/endeavor.
Management is not just a job - it is an art. Efficiency, potential, and zeal are of little value if not managed appropriately and artistically. G.S. Alag once said, "Anything plus management amounts to success". So, if there is nothing more desirable than success, then there is nothing more useful than management.