8 Common Leadership Mistakes

By Sammi Caramela, B2B Staff Writer

Being a leader comes with a host of responsibilities, including handling workplace issues and setting a good example. You’re often held to high expectations as the person in charge, and managing an entire team of people can be intimidating. However, no one is perfect. Here are eight common mistakes that many leaders are making.

Lacking humility

Holding a position of power may be good for your ego, but it’s important that you and your employees know you’re not above your shortcomings. Leaders must not be afraid to recognize their own failures. Struggling with our mistakes helps us grow and makes us stronger. When employees recognize that failure is natural, even for leaders, they’ll feel more open-minded and confident.

Thinking emotionally

It’s easy to let your feelings cloud your judgement. But in business, using emotions as the justification for a decision can be detrimental. When you’re making decisions based on emotion the team may understand the logic backing your choices.  Therefore, they cannot trust your decisions. It leads to confusion, uncertainty of future roadmap plans or the validity of the decisions over time, slowly chiseling away at the effectiveness of the leader.

Avoiding conflict

One of the most difficult adjustments a new leader has to make is learning how to handle disagreements or issues. You want to be fair and balanced while avoiding potential conflict, but, sometimes, that’s difficult. Many issues blamed for incompetence or poor performance are actually a result of misunderstood expectations. Create an environment that encourages continuous feedback, and be exact with dates and expected outcomes.

Taking on unnecessary work

Leaders are typically hired or promoted to their positions because they know what needs to be done and how to do it. This may be accompanied by the mentality of “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” which can be a dangerous attitude to have when managing a team.

According to Nancy Mellard, executive vice president and general counsel of CBIZ Women’s Advantage by getting into this habit, a talented team member may bring a project to only 75 percent completion, assuming the leader will finish the rest. As a result, performance moves in the wrong direction while the leader takes on more responsibility for the team’s overall project demands.

“As leaders, we must push our teams to go beyond the satisfactory,” she added. “It’s different than delegating – it’s challenging your team to take it upon themselves to perform better each time and working alongside them to facilitate the process.”

Not having faith in your abilities

You’ve been assigned to a leadership position because someone else trusts your judgment. Consistently second-guessing yourself rubs off on others, and before you know it, that trust is gone. Don’t be afraid to obey your gut instinct.

Being reactive instead of proactive to automation

Adjusting to tech developments is inevitable in the business world. You have no choice but to confront these changes and determine how it will affect your company. By being proactive and honest with your team, you will alleviate stress and anxiety caused by these transitions.

Failing to define innovation

Innovation is different for every company and each person in it. As a leader, you need to define what it looks like to your organization and what obstacles might impede it. It’s important to trust your employees with these processes. If you’re too involved, you might discourage their creativity.

Lacking vision

Without vision, a company will have difficulty progressing. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to set expectations and goals for your organization in addition to holding each member accountable for reaching them. A lack of vision will result in unfocused projects, improper resources planning and inaccurate metrics for success. If you want to attract and retain talent, you must create a culture with a clear vision.