Avoiding Leadership Mistakes
All leaders make mistakes, even the best leaders. However, great leaders don’t just learn from their mistakes, they take steps to make sure they don’t make the same errors again.
Here are some common mistakes that leaders make and some advice for how you can avoid these problems.
Not Delegating Well
Delegating is a very important part of managing. Some managers avoid delegating responsibilities because they feel that there isn’t anyone else who will handle things the same way they would. This happens most often as organizations grow and leaders find themselves struggling to delegate tasks they once handled themselves.
However, delegating properly is important. No one can do everything themselves and your team needs the right tasks to work effectively and stay engaged. When assigning tasks, think of the team you’re working with and hand out assignments according to skill and interest. Assigning tasks to those who will get the most out of them is an important leadership skill.
In some cases, delegating can mean handing certain tasks to contractors. For instance, in many cases it makes sense to hand tax, accounting, and financial advisory services to a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) rather than to try to take on these tasks in house. Contact us today to find out how we can help.
Remember that delegating doesn’t mean you can’t continue to take on certain responsibilities yourself, but it does mean you should think seriously about who the best person to handle the task may be before you give out assignments.
Communication is another critical leadership skill. Open and honest communication helps your team better understand their goals, recognize opportunities for improvement, feel apart of the team, and much more. It’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street. While it’s important that you clearly convey information to your team, you’ll also want to make sure you’re listening to their requests, ideas, and concerns.
Not Acting as a Role Model
If you want your team to come in early and stay late, but you don’t do the same, they may harbour negative feelings against you. This is just one example of how being a role model is important when you’re in a leadership position. Your team will follow your lead and act as you do, even if you tell them to act differently.
If you want your staff to avoid office gossip or to take proper breaks during the day, but you’re talking about people behind their backs and eating lunch at your desk, your team will likely model your behaviour. Think of how you want your team to act and make sure you’re modelling this behaviour yourself.
Not Making Time for the Team
It’s easy to get so busy with your own workload that you ignore emails from your team and keep your office door closed all day, every day. While your own tasks are certainly important, it’s also crucial that you make time to talk with your team. Try to set aside some time in your schedule where your door is open, giving you the chance to actively listen and discuss issues with your team. This won’t just help improve your communication, but it will also boost morale and engagement because everyone will feel recognized.
Not Defining Clear Goals
When people don’t have defined goals, they’re less productive. They may spend too much time trying to figure out what to do next, or they could complete tasks in a different manner than they’re expected to, meaning they’ll have to redo their work later.
Giving people clear goals and setting expectations is important leadership skill. It boosts productivity and engagement and keeps your team focused. Set SMART goals (ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) and make sure these goals are aligned with the objectives of the organization.