Being a leader is challenging enough without having to deal with the potential negative fallout associated with the 10 common leadership mistakes listed below. Take a moment and ask yourself if you might fall prey to one or more of these mistakes. If so, identify some action steps that will help you avoid these potential pitfalls in the future.
1. Making yourself scarce
Workers appreciate a visible leader – someone who takes a personal interest in the work that’s being done by making it a priority to get to know those who are doing it. Make sure you always have an open door policy that is more than just talk or a print you hang on the wall.
2. Allowing the vision to fade
Good leaders are able to keep the vision of the organization fresh and focused. The consistent presence of a well-defined vision provides motivation, enthusiasm and purpose for those responsible for carrying it out. Live your vision, don’t just talk about it.
3. Creating a moving target
Change happens, but leaders who constantly modify or change key objectives fail to maintain their team’s trust, respect and confidence. The best advice is to make wise decisions and stick to them, only adjusting when absolutely necessary.
4. Correcting without affirming
Correction is most effective when preceded by affirmation. Employees who know that their positive qualities and accomplishments are appreciated are more open to corrective feedback when it’s needed.
5. Assigning responsibility without authority
When giving someone the responsibility to produce specific results, make sure they also have the freedom and authority to make the decisions that will get the job done. If you are stuck micromanaging them, you’ll waste your time and theirs.
6. Demonstrating “Do as I say, not as I do.”
When it comes to achieving results, there is no substitute for setting a good example. Double standards have no place in leadership.
7. Putting square pegs in round holes
The time it takes to properly assess an employee’s strengths, knowledge and skills is time well-invested because it helps to reduce costly turnover and improve productivity and performance. Frankly, you’ll end up spending more time having to hire new people if you don’t hire the right person for the job from the beginning.
8. Failing to control anger
A leader who cannot bridle his anger is a leader who is feared rather than respected. And, while you may get some results out of fear, you ultimately will have to rebuild confidence at a later time. Angry outbursts may also cause you to lose good employees, thus wasting resources in the process.
9. Focusing on “me” rather than “we”
The most effective leaders are those who are passionate about the achievement of the whole team, not just of their own accomplishments. To go a step further, Author Jim Collins suggests that effective leaders look to others when accomplishments are completed and to themselves when things fail.
10. Placing results ahead of people
Great leaders know that the best way to get the most favorable results is to make sure they favor the people responsible for them. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business.
Avoid these pitfalls as you lead, and you will build a stronger, more productive team.
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.
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