RECESSION LESSONS - Career Expert Identifies Most Common Management Mistakes Made in Difficult Economy

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Please contact Kristie Perrotte to receive a copy of The
    30 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make in an Uncertain Economy

    TORONTO, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Managing employees is never easy, but it poses a
particular challenge when teams are lean and the economy is uncertain. While
some of the obstacles businesses are grappling with may be new, the strategies
they can use to foster teamwork in a troubled economy are not, according to
specialized staffing service Robert Half International. The firm's
just-released guide, The 30 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make in an Uncertain
Economy, outlines prevalent pitfalls and how to avoid them.
    "With increased business pressures in an uncertain economy, supervisors
are often required to accomplish more with fewer resources," said Mike Gooley,
branch manager of Robert Half International's Toronto operations. "By learning
from the strategies managers have employed in past downturns -- both those
that worked well and those that did not -- companies will be better prepared
for when the economy eventually rebounds."
    Following are seven of the most prevalent mistakes managers make in a
downturn and how to avoid them, according to Robert Half:

    1.  Thinking your staff can't handle the truth. If you haven't before,
        now is the time to treat employees like business partners. Talking
        openly about the effect of the downturn on your firm can help staff
        members feel they have some measure of control. Discuss issues that
        arose during the last business slowdown. How did things turn around?
        What was learned from that experience?
    2.  Blaming those at the top. If you're a middle manager who has to
        deliver bad news, you may be inclined to tell employees that you
        would have done things differently, but the choice wasn't yours.
        While this may temporarily take the heat off of you, it sends the
        message that you are out of sync with the company's leaders, which
        may be disconcerting to staff. Instead, present changes and the
        reasons behind them, including how your firm will persevere.
    3.  Feeling people are lucky just to have a job. It may be true that many
        employees feel fortunate to have a stable position, but this doesn't
        mean managers can ignore staff members' desire for positive
        recognition and career support. Top performers, in particular,
        require extra attention; not only are their contributions especially
        critical now, but they are always attractive targets for competitors.
    4.  Not asking for employees' help in expanding client relationships. Ask
        staff members to think about things they can do to help achieve
        business goals without sacrificing productivity. You may be pleased
        to discover how resourceful they are. When appropriate, involve your
        team in efforts to generate new business. This can mean expanding
        relationships with existing clients as well as identifying and
        pursuing new prospects.
    5.  Making work "mission impossible." Hiring freezes and tighter budgets
        may mean that one person is doing the work of two or more people. If
        this is the case, help your employees identify which projects are
        mission-critical. Delegate remaining tasks, bringing in temporary
        professionals if necessary, or put these items on hold. This will
        help you avoid overwhelming your staff.
    6.  Shifting the focus from the front lines. Client service matters even
        more when times are tough. Are you doing everything possible to make
        sure your front-line professionals have the right attitude and send
        the right messages? If these employees come across as indifferent or
        inexperienced, you could lose both prospective and existing
    7.  Waiting to try new things. Even in uncertain times, playing it safe
        can backfire. If you have a promising new service offering or client
        niche you want to pursue, don't wait for a turnaround to act. By
        taking well-calculated risks, you can get a jump on competitors and
        possibly carve out an additional revenue stream.

    Robert Half International,, has more than 360 staffing
locations worldwide. Readers can learn more about The 30 Most Common Mistakes
Managers Make in an Uncertain Economy and request a free copy of the guide at

For further information:

For further information: Kristie Perrotte, (416) 350-2330,

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Robert Half International (Canada)

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