Ever wonder what mistakes you made as a leader, why your followers do not have faith in you, and what was lacking in your approach. Think no further. Being a leader is no easy job. Here are 6 common mistakes in leadership.
1.Carrying a blind spot: Self-awareness is different from self-confidence. Being self-aware has more to do with being critical about oneself and evaluating ourselves just as we evaluate others. In fact, it may even involve evaluating ourselves before judging others.
When some feedback is given, instead of using it to enhance self-awareness, some leaders start witch-hunting the person who gave that feedback. Improve the readiness to feedback and personal change; if it is not there, leaders will end up with a bigger blind portion inside oneself.
2.Undermining own team members: To say that the team is not capable of performing is nothing to be proud of. Some team leaders engage in ‘casual’ conversations about their team members’ mistakes or poor performance with their peer leaders. Do we undermine our own team members?
The glory of a leader comes from the way his/her team develops based on the coaching from the leader – not from the leader’s individual brilliance. Focus on lifting ordinary people into delivering extraordinary performance; be positive towards the team.
3.Poor focus on sustaining credibility: A leader’s credibility is essential to earn the acceptance from team members. Past achievements would have helped the leader to be where he or she is; however, if credibility is not renewed, it cannot be sustained. When a leader lacks credibility, such leadership will be imposed onto the team and not necessarily accepted by the team!
Leaders are under constant scrutiny by the team members; what you do, what you don’t do, what you learn, what you don’t learn, how you carry yourself and what example you are setting is being closely watched by many eyes. Realize it and sustain the leadership behaviors that will help renew your credibility!
4.Delegating & catching them doing wrong: Delegation is not about being hands-off, allowing the team to make mistakes and then catching them doing things wrong. It is also not about assigning them a task and prescribing every step of how to do it.
It has more to do with allowing them to perform and at the same time keeping the dialogue on to utilize every ‘teachable moment’, helping them correct themselves instead of getting frustrated with their mistakes. Throw a challenge and help them grow tall. Use delegation as a tool to coach and nurture your team!
5.Blowing hot; blowing cold: Sometime leaders say, “I am having a bad day; don’t disturb me”; “I am going through high pressure; I may miss out on something”. Another day they may be at their best. And they expect others to understand their mood swings. When the same thing happens with team members, are these leaders empathetic? May not be.
Emotions play a huge role in leadership. Managing one’s own emotions and understanding others’ emotions is crucial. Be more patient in understanding others; realize how your team members may be dealing with your mood swings. Being impulsive, shooting of words, showing temper speaks of poor emotional balance. It may disengage the team from you!
6.Not keeping strategic openness: When you are making statements or suggestions, keep an option for discussion. Even when you feel strongly, if you make a statement that sounds like it is FINAL, it closes the chance of any dialogue.
A better option would be to state what you have in mind and keep a habit of asking at the end “What do you think?”, “Can we do this?”, “Will it work?”. It gets you better buy-in. Try it!
Being aware of these common mistakes in leadership can help you go a long way in being a good and effective leader.
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– Dr. Raj