Common Leadership and Management Mistakes
we’re looking at 10 of the most common leadership and management errors, and highlighting 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. Lack of Feedback
Sarah is a talented sales representative, but she has a habit of answering the phone in an unprofessional manner. Her boss is aware of this, but he’s waiting for her performance review to tell her where she’s going wrong. Unfortunately, until she’s been alerted to the problem, she’ll continue putting off potential customers.
To avoid this mistake, learn how to provide regular feedback to your team.
2. 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.
Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first – without you being available when they need you, your people won’t know what to do, and they won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.
Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team. Develop your emotional intelligence that you can be more aware of your team and their needs, and have a regular time when “your door is always open”, so that your people know when they can get your help.
Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!
3. Being Too Friendly
Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get on with. However, you’ll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.
4. Failing to Define Goals
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.
Avoid this mistake by learning how to set SMART goals for your team.
5. 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.
So remember, your team is watching you all the time. If you want to shape their behavior, start with your own. They’ll follow suit.
6. Not Delegating
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.
Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate tasks, you’re never going to have time to focus on the “broader-view” that most leaders and managers are responsible for. What’s more, you’ll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.
7. Misunderstanding Your Role
However, it’s easy to forget that your job has changed, and that you now have to use a different set of skills to be effective. This leads to you not doing what you’ve been hired to do – leading and managing.
It’s true that making a mistake can be a learning opportunity. But, taking the time to learn how to recognize and avoid common mistakes can help you become productive and successful, and highly respected by your team.