Everyone makes mistakes. But when a leader makes them, the repercussions can be greater than that of a team member. Mistakes can make a leader ineffective and lose respect.
Here are nine mistakes leaders need to avoid making:
1. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Micromanagers may think they are exceptionally efficient and productive, but the opposite is the case.
A leader who tries to do everything themselves or who constantly monitors their team is not actually leading.
What is the end result for the leader?
- Their team does not feel trusted
- They are wasting time on tasks that could and should be delegated to other people
- They make themselves exhausted
- People being micromanaged become frustrated and resent being monitored
Understand that your role is to guide people, not to do everything or constantly watch over them.
People need to feel that you have confidence in their abilities.
2. Being too Much of a Friend
A good working relationship benefits everyone on your team. But if you place too much emphasis on being a friend, and not enough on being a boss, you run the risk of your team seeing you as a “soft touch”.
Indeed, you may come to feel uncomfortable about reprimanding them or giving any criticism of their work. Your job is to be the leader of a team, and you need to be able to demonstrate firmness when necessary.
Some managers feel awkward when they are promoted above people who used to be at the same level.
But if you can’t fully accept your new status with a professional attitude, you’re implying that you don’t deserve it, and your team will pick up on that.
3. Failing to Listen
A politician who fails to listen to what voters want is likely to find themselves removed from office at the next election.
In business, a leader who ignores what people working for them has to say will create resentment, and one who confines himself to barking orders at team members won’t be a popular one.
Staff want to feel valued and be able to address any concerns or ideas to you.
A good leader should:
- Remember that communication should go both ways
- Listen to your team’s ideas
- Create a workplace where people feel you are approachable
- Provide feedback with constructive criticism
4. Believing You Are Irreplaceable
In most cases, leaders have reached their position because they have unique qualities.
However, this can make them become overconfident. They then assume that their position is untouchable.
This arrogance can prove to be their downfall. No leader is irreplaceable, as many businessmen have found when they are maneuvered out of the very company that they built up.
5. Evading Confrontation
While you don’t want to be antagonistic towards your staff, some managers go to the opposite extreme and will do anything to avoid confrontation.
They prefer not to handle the unpleasant side of leadership or believe that it will create a negative outlook. This means that conflict remains unresolved, and staff are able to get away with poor behavior.
A manager must be prepared to make unpopular but fair decisions in the interests of the company. They should not be reluctant to carry out the duties of a boss for fear of upsetting people.
6. Not Adapting
Every company has to move with the times, or risk losing business to more adaptable competitors. But some leaders make the mistake of presuming that what has worked in the past will continue to work.
This leads to stagnation and a culture where staff feel unable to progress.
7. Failing to Praise and Credit Your Team
We’ve all encountered the boss who takes credit for our work. But even if you don’t do this, you should never fail to give due credit for work or ideas to the person responsible. It will boost morale and encourage your staff to see that there is a benefit to working diligently.
If you don’t praise your staff for their successes, they will lose motivation to keep working for the company. Staff may end up seeing a more rewarding career elsewhere.
8. Assuming You Know it All
A good leader listens to their team members. They understand that their team is part of the company’s success, and that people at every level have something to contribute.
Assuming that your ideas are always superior is a sign of arrogance and dismisses the contribution and innovation that others can bring.
9. Cutting Corners
While a timescale may be important when pursuing a project, a leader should not be tempted to cut out necessary steps in order to save time.
Attention to detail is important, and if a poor impression is given of the company, the buck stops with the person in charge.
How Can Leaders Avoid Making Mistakes?
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