4 Most Common Leadership Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Sadly, as leaders, our mistakes have the power to hurt other people. The good news is that we have opportunities to learn and grow from our mistakes. So I thought it would be interesting to take a walk around the web to see what the buzz was on leadership mistakes and what can be done about them. Here are some of the top mistakes I found:

Hey, we’re all best buddies here.

“A leader is put into a position of responsibility at the head of a team or organization to provide guidance and direction to that organization. However, some leaders make the mistake of becoming too friendly with their team. While an amicable working relationship with a staff is better than a hostile one, over friendly leader/subordinate relationships can backfire in several ways.” – Leadership Training Tutorials

Not putting enough emphasis on cultural fit when hiring.

“Been there, done that. I made this mistake in my very first hiring decision. Candidate A had a Master’s degree and 10 years’ experience. However, a former manager warned me about a “little temper problem.” Candidate B had no degree and limited experience – but great relationship building skills and was seen as high potential. I hired A – and it was a disaster. B was later promoted to department manager. Lesson learned.” – Great Leadership by Dan

Your vision is to stay in business.

“Too often,  leaders are so involved with improving efficiencies in the day-to-day task work that they can’t find the time to create a strategic vision about where they need to take their team that is above and beyond “running-the-business”, says Wahl. “They don’t take the time to slow down and reflect, but rather get hooked on the adrenaline of running the business,” says Wahl. This goes back to the importance of developing talent and delegating so that the leader can do just that: lead.” – Entrepreneur.com

Phobia of change.

“The ability to change is essential in business. Changes are pertinent in technology, the way we deal with people, the way we do business, and in every other aspect of running and operating a company or team. Holding on to the old ways of doing things, just because they’ve always been done that way, is a sure way to lose business. If any aspect of the business can be improved then there has to be a change, even if this means getting rid of a low-performing worker or product range that is no longer profitable. As a manager or leader you have to treat your business like a garden. Continue to water, fertilize, and weed your garden and it will continue to yield a quality harvest year after year.” – The Smart Techie

If you are seeking change, you might want to take a look at What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. In the book, he pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals. What is it that happens to many leaders once they start moving up the ladder? They get hung up in their “importance” and lose sight of the path that got them where they are today. This can hold many leaders back from being great leaders — big time.

What’s worse is that Goldsmith identifies 20 bad habits that can really hold you back. The presentation below explains those habits and the seven steps you can take to change your behavior.


Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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