10 Things to Avoid as a Leader

Being a leader isn’t easy. The pressure to be successful and guide your team can be overwhelming. When that happens, buckling down could be doing more damage than good!

No matter how often we hear that people are born leaders, it’s not always the truth. Many individuals with the potential to become great leaders make mistakes that hinder their success and self-growth. Self-reflection and polishing your skills are necessary to becoming an all-star boss.

We don’t all have the same approach towards work – which is a good thing! – but we can agree that there are certain habits and ideologies with a negative impact. 

Note: When you’re reading this blog and reflecting, don’t be too harsh on yourself! Consider these common mistakes and strategize your game plan to being the rock-star leader you dream of being.

10 Mistakes to Avoid

We try our best, but sometimes a little nudge in the right direction is required. You may see yourself as a great leader but do you have a blind-spot to what’s holding you back? Here are some common mistakes to consider and adjust to best support your team and business success.

1. The Know-It-All

Leading does not mean being a dictator! As a leader, it’s not in the best interest of your company to dictate exactly how things are done. You also can’t expect perfectionism based on your own personal set of criteria. You have a diverse team of experts who bring their own knowledge and experience to the table. Rather than prescribing how things must be done and micro-managing, trust your team and listen to their suggestions.

Being the boss doesn’t mean you’re expected to know everything. That’s what teams are for! Take a deep breath, let others help you out and keep yourself from micro-managing.

2. The Pessimist

We’ve mentioned it before: optimism is a key factor for teams who appreciate and respect their leaders. Being pessimistic, overtly negative, or constantly nagging about work is a fast way to demoralize yourself and your team.

Your energy impacts your team’s motivation and performance. Be positive, look for silver linings, and be solution-oriented as you work with your team to overcome challenges.  

3. The Procrastinator

We’re all human and times, we lose our motivation to get work done. Be it from burnout or overwhelm, it’s important to regulate your behavior. Learn your triggers, understand your signs of burnout, and take steps to prevent getting in too deep. Know the signs and overcome productive procrastination.

If you’re avoidant or unwilling to tackle the job, not only will your own performance suffer, but you’ll bring the team down with you.

4. The Poor Communicator

An important role of the leader is delegating tasks, providing feedback, and holding discussions. Being too vague, indirect, or avoidant while communicating gives a poor impression of your leadership.  Likewise, word vomiting, talking in circles, or going off topic causes confusion for your team.

Strategize, know what you want to say, and practice how you’ll say it. Be concise and confident in your delivery, and take the time to answer questions clearly. 

5. The Authoritarian

You have a team of adults – treat them as such. Don’t make the mistake of expecting increased productivity or motivation by canceling breaks, keeping your team over time, or stopping them from taking time off. While you are responsible for ensuring your team completes quality work in a timely fashion, a strict, unsympathetic, and controlling approach will not motivate your team to go the extra mile.

6. The Emotional Decision Maker

Getting worked up over your job isn’t a crime – some call it passion! – but you can’t let your feelings cloud your judgment. At times, anger or frustration can override our logic, so it’s best not to make decisions in the heat of the moment. Take a walk, sleep on it, or run it past a trusted advisor.

Whether it’s a positive or negative emotion, don’t be reactive or let it dictate your next step. As a wise man once said, “Don’t promise when you are happy, don’t reply when you are angry, and don’t decide when you are sad”.

7.  The Ignorant Critic

Receiving praise for hard work and effort feels great, but the best way to grow and improve is to learn what’s holding us back. Be open to receiving constructive criticism and seek feedback from your team, peers, and mentors. Leaders aren’t the only ones who should raise concerns or provide feedback. Observe your actions after receiving feedback and make adjustments as needed.

Modeling the right behavior when receiving constructive criticism will help others follow your example of listening to suggestions and improving yourself.

8. The Mismatched Morals

People can rave about business ethics all they like, but personal values play a large role in how a person and a company perform. If leadership does not hold themself to a high standard, it can reflect poorly on everyone involved. 

Punctuality, honesty, and kindness are the basics. You should also display transparency, fairness, and loyalty, among other values, to be a role model. An unjust boss who condones slackers and cheaters will lose great workers who don’t want to work in such conditions.

9. The Self-Doubter

It’s a long road until we reach the end of our work life, and we’re bound to make mistakes throughout the journey. But that doesn’t take away your credibility. Don’t doubt your skills because of a previous wrong call.

Take ownership of mistakes and approach each mishap as a learning experience. Analyze what went wrong and determine how you can approach future decisions to prevent a repeat. Focus your energy on self-improvement rather than wasting it on self-doubt. There’s no shame in admitting an honest mistake, and it shouldn’t stop us from trying again.

10. The Work-a-Holic

Personal and professional life balance is non-negotiable. While each team member has a designated position and set list of tasks, that’s not always the case for the leader. You’ll find yourself juggling multiple tasks, overseeing numerous projects, and working overtime more often than you’d like.

To keep yourself from burning out or, worse, reaching a breaking point, you need to prioritize downtime to recharge. Spending time with friends and family, or rejuvenating solo, is another task on your to-do list because your life shouldn’t revolve solely around work! 

While you might find it silly to consider this a “mistake”, you’ll realize that many leaders forget to prioritize themselves when work gets challenging. So while you’re taking care of those around you, don’t forget to take care of yourself first. 

Have Something to Share?

Do you recognize some of these characteristics in yourself or your leader? It’s all part of the learning process. However, if you’re worried or looking for support, feel free to comment below. Let’s start the conversation on what good leaders do!

Hi I'm Nicole

Struggling in your work environment? Need to streamline your processes? Is your work-life balance unbalanced?

We’d love to help you overcome any work challenge you’re facing! Contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can help.

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