Mistakes are nature's way of showing you that you're learning. As a manager, you will make mistakes, but you can avoid common managerial errors by knowing where the common pitfalls are. In this article, we will name 6 of the most common Leadership mistakes, and see what you can do to avoid them. If you can learn about these here, rather than through experience, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble!
1. Not setting clear goals and expectations
When your people don't have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can't be productive if they have no idea what they're working for, or what their work means. They also can't prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order or even not completed on time. As an effective leader, you cannot rely on your team members to set their own goals. Without clear direction, they will remain rudderless.
The best way to avoid this mistake: Establish goals so that team members will know where they are going. Meet with them regularly to gauge progress and ensure that everyone knows where they are in terms of meeting objectives.
2. Not providing feedback
Failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don't provide prompt feedback to your people, you're depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.
The only way your team members can understand that they need to correct a problem is if you alert them to its existence and provide constructive feedback once they complete the task.
The best way to avoid this mistake: Make a habit of providing feedback on a regular basis. Remember that feedback does not always have to be negative; it can also be positive. Make a point to let team members know when they are doing something right, as well as correct them when there's room for improvement.
3. Not Investing in Personal Leadership Development
Capacity Theory states that people are entrusted with that which they have the capacity to handle. If a leader can only lead ten people, they won’t be entrusted with fifty. Likewise, if they can only lead a $5 million project, they won’t be entrusted with a $100 million project. The only way for leaders to continually grow is for them to invest in their Leadership development.
If you grow your capacity, you’ll automatically be entrusted with more. If you allow the busyness of your schedule to hinder your growth in your leadership capacity, you’ll hinder your future potential. At a minimum, you ought to invest 3% of your salary/income in personal development, plus whatever you can get from your company/employer. In addition, make sure you have a mentor (or mentors)—even if you have to pay for them.
4. Failing to delegate
Some managers don't delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly. This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.
The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done.
The best way to avoid this mistake: Whenever you prepare to take on a new task or assignment, make a point to ask yourself whether one of your employees can do it instead. Leaders should be spending their time doing what they can best do, or more importantly, what ONLY they can do.
5. Not making time for your team
When you're a manager or leader, it's easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don't make yourself available to your team.
Your employees look to you as more than a manager. To some, you may be a trusted resource or a much-needed mentor. Others may view you as a coach, parent, or friend. No matter how each employee sees you, they all need your time.
The best way to avoid this mistake: Failing to make time for your employees is a common mistake, but it’s easy to rectify. Simply make yourself available whenever employees need you. Give them your total attention and practice active listening. When you help employees work through challenges, you can prevent frustration and dissatisfaction.
6. Not "Walking the Walk"
If you make personal telephone calls during work time, or speak negatively about your CEO, can you expect people on your team not to do this too? Probably not!
As a leader, you need to be a role model for your team. This means that if they need to stay late, you should also stay late to help them. Or, if your organization has a rule that no one eats at their desk, then set the example and head to the break room every day for lunch. The same goes for your attitude – if you're negative some of the time, you can't expect your people not to be negative.
Becoming a leader is challenging; becoming a great leader is even more so. The good news is that you can improve by learning from mistakes and seeking the training that will help them avoid mistakes in the future.
You can sharpen your skills and learn how to manage teams, communicate effectively, set goals, negotiate and delegate through this unique online business training - Total Leadership Course.
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