There are many different leadership models and styles one could follow, but most people tend to follow the examples from those they have worked under. Following someone else’s model instead of tailoring your leadership style to principles and practices you know will produce ultimate performance can create problems. There are many good examples out there to incorporate into your leadership style, and there are many common mistakes to avoid. Here is a list of seven common mistakes to avoid.
- People pleasing pleases no one! People want to get behind a leader who can make difficult decisions and put in place what will work. If you let things go knowing it isn’t the best idea or their best work because you want to be liked or avoid conflict you lower the standards of the company and its employees. Down the road, they will lose respect for you, question your decisions, and undermine your authority in the future.
- Correcting someone in front of others is never a good idea. Frustrations can run high when faced with deadlines or when work performance is not where you want it to be but pointing out the weakness or failings of another person in front of others is never acceptable. This tactic is not the way to force others to change their style or work harder, better, and faster, it does the opposite.
- Expecting others to be like you is probably the biggest mistake a leader/manager can make. Expectations lead to disappointments. It doesn’t matter how well you train someone to be like you; they aren’t you. When you expect people do everything you would, how you would, you are going to be very disappointed; it simply is not going to happen. You have to give people the freedom to be who they are and accepted for the contributions they make within the capacity they can.
- Managing the status quo without taking intelligent risks is a detriment to your company or business. Every manager/leader has a challenge not to feel overwhelmed and the thought of progressing more than you already have may be daunting, but it is necessary. Growth brings profit and the more the profit, the better the business. Consistently reassessing your strategic plan for more growth and productivity the stronger you become and better able to outlast the competition.
- Thinking the end result is more important than relationships is not productive. Leaders sometimes make the mistake of keeping their business relationships with employees strictly business. They never get to know their employees and vice versa. This is probably the number one reason for employee turnover in the workplace. People want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be a part of the story, and you can’t be a part of the story if you don’t know the characters. Building a relationship with your employees getting to know how they feel about something or what they are experiencing in life does two things. One, it helps you to understand what might be behind situations that may be affecting their work and correct it. Establishing a relationship allows you the opportunity to work through whatever crisis may arise on your end and theirs. Secondly, it makes them feel you care about them and their not just a body producing labor. In turn, they are more invested in you as a leader and what is important to you, therefore, creating more productivity and a happier work environment. Don’t underestimate the power of personal connection.
- Keeping leaders in positions they are not suited for is too often overlooked. Let’s face it it can be a real hassle having to replace someone. Having to create an ad and advertise it, interviewing people, dealing with transitional hiccups as you move through the process, etc., can be a real headache but, none of these reasons should prevent you from taking care of the situation. You are not doing the company or the person any good by keeping them there. People will always tell you they can do the job. They will often say they possess talents and gifts they don’t. It is your job to recognize what their gifts truly are and where they can be best utilized within the company and talk with them about their job performance. Sometimes people start out doing well in a particular area but then becomes stagnant and unproductive for one reason or another. Other times the department changes and they are no longer qualified to adapt with them. They struggle, you struggle, and the company struggles. You will not be doing anyone a service by keeping them. If you can’t find a better position for them in the company, then you must let them go. It is much easier to talk with someone about these difficult issues if you have a relationship with them, hence #5.
- Not having regular and productive staff meetings is a mistake. Staff meetings can be the epitome of an infrastructure if done well. It is important for the meetings to be productive and worthy of people’s time. These meetings are where you can build your relationships. People want to stay connected, they want to have a voice, and they want to know their voice is being heard. If you don’t share what is going on, what is expected for the week, what needs to be attended to, etc., people can grow resentment, hostility, and dissatisfaction in the workplace. These emotions can come out in unproductive ways in the future. Staff meetings are the place where everything can come together, where connections are made, and relationships built.