Are you making some of these 6 common leadership mistakes?
Sometimes we forget the most basic human skills once we reach the top. Keep in mind the following pointers to be sure you are avoiding the most common leadership mistakes.
Amazing, you’ve made it, you are now the boss. This means that you have to be able to lead and manage your teams in order to create benefits for your company. And this is, generally, one of the hardest leadership challenges in the workplace. Why? Because, very often, when we talk about producing benefits we tend to focus only on the more technical skills. But this is a big mistake. Human skills are essential to retain the intellectual capital of a company. Never forget that a happy employee is a productive employee. It’s easy to get distracted from this essential goal and fall into making some of the following common mistakes in leadership.
Low communication skills, being too ‘hands-off’, micromanaging and a lack of emotional intelligence. These are some of the big common mistakes in leadership. Avoid them with some alternatives:
- You don’t really know how to communicate properly. This applies both to the correct project management and the way you give and receive feedback.
Basically, you need your team to execute their tasks correctly and within the agreed deadlines. A great way to get everyone focused and on the same page, is to put it in black and white. Prepare a written document detailing all the steps to follow within a specific project. Make sure that all the members of your team have a copy and that they understand its goal. This simple technique helps you to have everything written down and accessible when it’s needed.
When it comes to providing feedback, be very careful, because the self-esteem of your employees is at stake. Negative feedback can destroy even the best worker since people rarely act positively from the ‘no’ point of view. The goal of all feedback should be to encourage improvement. The same happens when receiving feedback. If you, as a leader, don’t like to receive criticism or you stop interacting with your employees due to fear of conflict, you are missing an opportunity for mutual understanding and of constant improvement.
- You are being too hands-off. It’s very important that you take the necessary time to meet and interact with your team. So, avoid spending too many hours in your office. Instead:
Organize regular meetings and walk around the office from time to time, getting interested in the day to day of each member of your team. This technique is called “Managing by Walking Around” and entails a lot of observing, active listening and recognizing the merit of others. But be careful, you have to know how to do it properly, or else your employees may misperceive and think you are controlling them too much. In short, you should be able to show your team that you are approachable and that your doors are always open for what they need.
- You forget about others’ priorities. A good leader knows how to work with a big picture of what needs to be done.
Visualizing long-term goals will help you set short-term tasks. If your employees arrive at work every day without knowing what needs to be done, or if you keep changing their daily tasks because your priorities take preference (are poorly organized), you will see it reflected in a decrease of motivation and productivity of your team. So, take the time to sit down, think about your goals and set daily tasks oriented towards results. Moreover, if you change micromanaging with transparency by sharing information with your team about long-term plans, you will encourage the proactivity of your employees. A lot of the time, the workload doesn’t let us see beyond to the end goal. Wouldn’t you like it if your team was proactive and helped you with making decisions?
- You are micromanaging rather than delegating work efficiently. This is another big and very common error in leadership. A leader must know how and to whom tasks should be delegated to achieve excellent results. Are you going so far as revising outgoing emails? Because, if you consider that only you can do the job right, then why do you have a team?
If you’re concerned that your employees make mistakes, take the time to train them so they can do the job with the same expertise and results as if you’d done it yourself. Keep in mind you should always respect their methodologies and style, as long as they are not a detriment to the company. So, avoid micromanaging and trust that, if you have done your part of the job well and have communicated correctly what should be done, the results will always be positive.
- You are misunderstanding what real leadership is about. By now you should know that a good leader is not the one who commands, but the one who is capable of inspiring.
Act as an example and keep a humble attitude above all. Did you make a mistake? Don’t worry, it happens. Do you need help? Ask for it. A humble and close leader, contrary to what is usually believed, encourages the rest of the team to feel more involved and motivated.
- You are not developing your emotional intelligence. At work, this skill is invaluable, as it will help you recognize your role within the team and praise the fundamental work of others. In other words, it will help you avoid all the common mistakes in leadership that we have mentioned throughout the article. Here’s why:
By working on emotional intelligence, you will be able to work with serenity (as opposed to emotional ups and downs), motivation and gratitude. Seriously, at work (and in your life) try saying thank you more often and you’ll see the results.
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