4 fouten die managers vaak maken

The 4 most commonly made mistakes by managers – and how to avoid them

Research & Papers
Effective Leadership

The 4 most commonly made mistakes by managers – and how to avoid them

An effective leader responds to the needs of a team

The manager you never see because he is too busy with his own work, the manager who is only focused on his own success and career; we’re all familiar with them. Managers often wind up making the same mistakes. That's not that surprising when you consider how they ended up in that position. The good news is that it is possible to change. We have investigated which mistakes most often occur and we have a solution.

Download the brochure

Overestimating one's abilities

There are far too few managers who actually succeed in their leadership role and there are several reasons for this. An important reason is that managers often overestimate their own abilities and think that they are good leaders, even if their own team thinks slightly differently.

Some people are actively looking for a leadership position. They have the ambition to lead and have above average confidence in their ability to lead. However, having a great desire and strongly believing in yourself does not make you a good leader. The ambition and drive that cause someone to apply for leadership roles can sometimes be a pitfall for actual leadership.

Read Also

HFMtalentindex/Assessio launches feedback tool for leaders

The risk is that the manager will focus on progress in his own career rather than the needs of the team. If we are to accept that many managers fail, we need to take a critical look at how we recruit managers, whether they are qualified for the position at all, and what support they receive in their leadership.


1. Focuses too much on own career and making own boss happy

How a leader's career develops depends largely on how that person handles their relationship with their own boss and with others higher up in the organisation. The ability to achieve good results, on the other hand, has more to do with how the leader interacts with his team. Those leaders who focus primarily on progressing in their own careers and who devote their time and dedication to making their own boss happy run the risk of getting a team that doesn't get the guidance or support it needs.

2. Focuses their attention on their own tasks and goals

Suspiciously few leaders feel that they have the time within reasonable working hours for everything that ends up on their desk. This can be anything from reporting, presentations and meetings, to recruiting and human resources. If the leader doesn't understand what creates the most value in the role, chances are this person will focus on the wrong things. There is rarely any doubt about what is important to the immediate manager, but what is important to the team? In order not to get lost in the wrong tasks, every manager should have a recurring dialogue with their manager about what creates value in the role. It includes what the manager should focus on for the team to succeed. When your priorities are clear, it is easier to say no to questions or tasks that don't add value to the position.

3. Displays the same behaviour that proved successful in the past

The best salesperson is promoted to sales manager, that one technician who knows everything moves on to become technical manager, it's as simple as that. Work hard enough and then you will get the next position. The problem is that these people accept their new role without question, but they are also rarely equipped for it. Instead, they continue to do what has brought them success in the past. The sales manager focuses on being the best, raking in the coolest customer accounts and closing the biggest deals, while the team comes second. The same problem often arises when managers get promoted. They continue to lead in the same way as before, despite the big difference between leading a team of specialists and leading a team of leaders.

4. Stays true to themselves, no matter how it affects others

There is no personality that in itself is better or worse than another, but in some situations, certain behaviours just work better than others. Some stand by that they are always straightforward or dominate the room with the "that's just how I am" excuse. As a leader, you must have strategic self-awareness and use the insights you have about yourself to adapt your actions to the situation.

What constitutes effective leadership?

These four mistakes prevent someone from leading effectively, but what exactly is effective leadership? The leader drives team performance and alignment with the established strategy and needed culture. Effective leadership is about building and maintaining a high-performing team. A leader cannot be considered effective if the team is not successful.

Give leaders feedback on their leadership

Do you or your leaders wind up making these common mistakes? Don't worry, the silver lining is that everyone can change. The solution is actually quite simple: give leaders feedback on their leadership. Feedback is one of the most powerful ways to influence how someone can change their behaviour. By talking about what behaviour is desirable, motivation for change arises. Although most people know how effective feedback is, it is still used very little. When feedback is used in order to develop, managers are often overlooked. To help leaders succeed and grow in their leadership, HFMtalentindex/Assessio has developed the Leadership Feedback tool.

This is Leadership Feedback

With this development tool, employees are their manager's coach. The tool does not evaluate how good or bad the manager is, but rather to what extent the leadership style matches the needs of the team. The employees answer twelve questions and it only takes five minutes to fill in the questionnaire. Based on the results, leaders can see whether they are overusing or underusing certain aspects of their leadership. To help the leader develop in the desired direction, the Leadership Feedback tool also provides tips on what the manager can do to become even more successful in leadership.

The four performance areas

In HFMtalentindex/Assessio's development tool for leaders, employees can provide their managers with regular feedback on the most critical aspects of leadership: how well the manager knows how to find the balance between being strategic and operational, and between steering and facilitating. It doesn't matter what level you lead or what type of organisation you work in, you have to deal with these four performance areas.

All managers should focus on developing and shaping the business for the future, as well as ensuring efficiency in day-to-day operations in the here and now. At the same time, the manager must be proactive, set requirements, clarify expectations and follow up. But the manager also bears the responsibility of making the employees succeed by engaging them, supporting them and creating commitment. What the balance should look like in your leadership can differ per assignment as well as over time. But the best feedback you can get if you lead with the right balance, comes from your own team.

It facilitates the dialogue with the team

The feedback that the leader receives from his employees through the tool quickly illustrates whether the manager is leading the team in an effective way and gives more insight compared to other tools.

With a 360 assessment, you often get different results and measuring points, but rarely get any concrete help to change something. Leadership Feedback provides both direction and substantive information through the development tips based on the feedback given. This information makes it much easier to advance the dialogue with your team.

In the tool, the manager can easily follow how leadership develops over time. At the same time, HR gets an overview of how effective managers are at different levels and they can see if someone needs extra support. It also pinpoints those managers who lead their teams effectively, but who otherwise do not receive or seek so much attention.


Cruquiusweg 111-F, 1019 AG Amsterdam, The Netherlands