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What’s the biggest management myth you’ve come across?

11 entrepreneurs share myths of management.

5 min read


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Q. What’s the biggest management myth you’ve come across as a business leader?

1. Star employees should always be promoted

Of course, you need to keep star employees engaged (whether through more money or challenges), but many make the mistake of automatically promoting them to managerial positions or even to an entirely new job. This is known as the “Peter Principle.” Star performers are promoted until their skills are obsolete. Avoid it by strategically promoting employees around their skill sets. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

2. Prestige equals better performance

I have noticed that people who fit well in our culture are not always the best applicants on paper. Don’t just scan resumes (especially if you’re a small business) based on the pedigree/prestige or for brand companies. Focus on these questions instead: “Can this person learn?” “Is he excited?” “Is he willing to do what it takes to get the job done?” — Daisy Jing, Banish

3. The best candidates come through employee referrals

Yes, we’ve landed some great folks through referrals. But we’ve also found the perfect candidates for some of our roles by strategically scouting them ourselves. We think about what a perfect candidate’s resume might look like for a certain role, and then search for them. This helps us avoid creating roles we may not necessarily need just because we like the referrals we’ve been handed. — Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

4. You can’t take time off

Some managers think that if they leave, the business will fall apart. I find that in order for your business to truly thrive, you have to leave it in the hands of your employees from time to time. Encouraging everyone to step up and become a leader ensures the company performs at its best. I’ve seen people really rise to the occasion, especially when encouraged and supported to do so. — Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.

5. Everyone desires career advancement

People have all sorts of motivations, and increasing levels of career responsibility may not be one of them. For example, some people like a job because it’s stable and they know what’s expected. They are content with the status quo and could do without new work-related challenges. Today, I accept these employees for who they are and don’t try to force-fit them into a leadership situation. — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

6. There is not enough time in the day

“There’s not enough time!” I hear this often. Honestly, if you care about the future of the company, you will find the time to manage your employees to increase productivity. It’s so critical to be involved in management aspects. When you can’t do it, there should already be a system in place that allows others in the company to manage aspects you simply can’t handle. — Volkan Okay Yazici, Stonexchange

7. There can only be one boss

I am a co-founder in my business. There are only two of us, so no one can break the tie. When it comes time to make a hard decision, we listen first, then each bring a different perspective to develop a more informed answer. Everyone is invested, so even when we do make a mistake, we’re still right by our teamwork culture. — Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

8. You need to be a pioneer in every aspect of your business

It’s just not possible or even true. A lot of the time, you end up reinventing the wheel. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset of wanting to be the most innovative and unique business leader possible, but it’s important to realize that some aspects of a business should follow tried and true, time-tested practices. — Chris Savage, Wistia

9. Employees are interchangeable

Companies like to think employees are interchangeable. The role matters, not the person filling it. This approach makes sense, but it’s not completely accurate. You might be able to replace an employee, but there will unpredictable effects on the team dynamic, the mix of ideas, motivation and productivity, and on other “soft” factors that are quite difficult to predict and plan for. — Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

10. You get what you pay for

In business, getting what you pay for is often the exception, rather than the rule. For every valuable team member you hire at their asking price, you’re going to garner an employee who’s only worth half of their wage. For every valuable partnership you establish, you’ll find a partner who isn’t worth the investment. It’s easy to assume that if you pay the premium, you get results. This is not the case. — Blair Thomas, First American Merchant

11. It’s all about hard work

Hard work is overrated. Performance is most important. Too often hard work is promoted at the expense of working smarter. Don’t get me wrong – hard work is assumed, but if you want to be successful you need to get over the myth that hard work is enough. It’s critical that you develop the ability to analyze if you are getting closer or further from your goal and change your approach accordingly. — Kristopher Jones,