Yes, even leaders make mistakes; and that’s ok. It’s important to make errors in life — that’s how you learn, grow and improve.
However, as a leader, you must take the time to evaluate the mistakes you’re making regularly and how they can impact your employees and organization.
These are the top 5 leadership mistakes:
- Assuming everyone thinks the same way you do
- Forgetting the employees are human
- Being inaccessible
- Managing but not leading
- Not bonding with your employees
This Is The Only You There Will Ever Be
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with leaders who are extremely frustrated with an employee who just “‘don’t get it”. This is a common mistake — I’m sure you’ve experienced this quite often.
We, as humans, tend to get wrapped up in our own methods and assume everyone else is just like us. This isn’t the case at all — everyone learns at their own pace, in their own way, and perceives things in a world of their own.
Step outside of yourself and see things from someone else’s perspective. If you’re only viewing life through your lens, you’ll never allow your employees to flourish.
If you continue to assume that everyone thinks the way you do — you will fail as a leader.
We’re Only Human
Another huge leadership mistake, especially in C-Level, is forgetting people are only human.
This, of course, pertains to your employees. Your employees have emotions. Your employees have feelings. Your employees have personal lives, they have traumas and unique needs that may sometimes affect their daily life inside and outside of work.
In a perfect world, people would be able to separate their personal lives from work lives. It isn’t an ideal world, and as a leader, you have to be willing to understand your employees on a personal level and respect the fact that they will have good and bad days. Sometimes their personal lives will bleed over into their work.
Being an understanding leader makes your employees feel safe enough to open up to you about what they may be going through. When they do, it gives you a greater opportunity to mentor and lead them in a direction that benefits them and your organization.
Make Yourself Available
The higher up a leader goes in an organization, the further removed they can become — which is a major issue. As a leader, you have to constantly make an effort to ensure your employees know you’re accessible when they need you.
If you’re unreachable, you automatically lose the ability to lead. People need a captain that isn’t just driving the ship forward, but is always hands-on — leading by example. When you’re unavailable, your employees will naturally gravitate to the individual closest to them — the person who’s available.
Because of this, you need to ensure your right hand or second in command is 100% on board with your values and vision for the company so they can properly lead in your absence.
Are You Managing Instead of Leading?
Managers manage tasks, but leaders empower.
If you’re focused on reviewing tasks and micromanaging, you aren’t leading. You aren’t mentoring, coaching, or helping to develop the next leaders in your company.
A good leader focuses on developing the next tier of leadership within the organization. A great leader understands that a big part of their job is “training their replacements”.
If you’re only managing tasks, that’s all you’ll be doing. On the flip side, if you spend time leading people, properly delegating, empowering, coaching, and mentoring, you’ll ride a wave of success for your company for a very long time.
The Power of Bonding
You don’t have to go out for happy hour or host dinner parties, but a small effort to bond with someone goes a long way.
Employees need a leader to look up to, someone who inspires them everyday. They also need a human leader. They need to know that they aren’t robots, and neither are you.
Bonding with your employees is a simple way to make a connection that will last forever. Asking someone about their weekend and truly listening or watching a tv show you know your staff is interested in so you can engage in conversation are two very uncomplicated ways to connect.
Share some of your personal stories with your staff and watch how quickly the culture and environment in the office start to change.
Lead to Inspire
As you probably already know, I’m a huge proponent of personal growth. I think if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. Acknowledging mistakes and actively working to improve are signs of true leadership.
To inspire those around you, you must ensure that you respect the differences between yourself and those who work for you. Respect your employees personally and show them you care about their lives and not just the impact on the organization. Keep yourself available and accessible to your employees by ensuring they know how to reach you.
Keep your focus on developing future leaders and provide mentoring opportunities for those who aspire to lead one day. Connect with your employees on a personal level. Not every conversation has to be work-related in the office.
Learn From the Best to Become the Best
Some of the most effective leaders are those who know how to lead by example and inspire their employees to be better. The best leaders are humble and always looking to learn from those around them. They share their knowledge and experience with others, and they work hard to create an environment where everyone can succeed.
Most importantly, the greatest leaders are remembered not for their management style, but for the positive impact they had on the culture of those who followed them. By creating a positive and supportive culture, you can encourage your employees to be their best selves and inspire them to achieve amazing things, and avoid these top leadership mistakes.
Last modified: August 23, 2022
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