Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Leadership Fails: Avoid These 10 Mistakes


Leadership fails, every great leader will have some during their time on top. Being the leader of the pack is not easy, it is stressful at times but can be rewarding if done right. A great leader is critical to a teams’ success; the way they choose to lead will have a huge impact on the entire organization. A strong leader can lead good employees to greatness but a bad leader can bring extraordinary employees down to sub-par.  I have personally worked for many horrible bosses but have also worked for a few amazing ones. I’ve been a leader, both in my own business and working for others, and have always avoided these leadership fails because after seeing them from the side of an employee, I learned how detrimental they can be to the team.

Lacking Vision
Leaders without vision will fail. Leaders who lack vision cannot inspire teams, motivate performance, or create sustainable value. Poor vision, tunnel vision, vision that is fickle, or a non-existent vision will cause leaders to fail. A leader’s job is to align the organization around a clear and achievable vision. This cannot occur when the blind lead the blind.

Resisting New Ideas
Poor leaders believe change is bad. They will often say, “that’s not the way things used to be done around here.” They cling to old ways and habits and often stand in the way of progress. They generally want to know how things will benefit them and don’t encourage regular feedback from coworkers.

Not “Walking the Talk”
This is one of the classic mistakes of leadership — not leading by example. Leaders who fail in this area expect results, but rarely take the time to help their fellow colleagues. They only delegate and never seem to come down from their high horse to roll up their sleeves and get things done. They generally defend their behavior by saying things like, “That’s not my job” or “I’ve done my time.”

My Way or The Highway
As a boss, there is a delicate balance between staying in command and allowing your employees to express their own creative ability. Although your employees may not always have the right solution, many times they will. When you are in charge you need to learn to guide your employees to discover the right decisions but let them make these decisions on their own. A leader who sets a tone of my way or the highway will create a toxic environment for employees. If employees stick around with this kind of leader they won’t be satisfied or happy in the long run.

Settling for Mediocre Performance
Poor leaders aim low and are complacent. They don’t respond well to high expectations, accept that their team members do the same and are not likely to rise to any occasion for that matter. They don’t challenge their team to realize their potential and their favorite word is “settle.”

Micro-managing
Many first time bosses will make this mistake, part of being a boss is to learn to let go of the responsibilities of your employees. This doesn’t mean you don’t hold your employees accountable, it means to judge their results, not their actions. There are many ways a beaver can build a dam, there is no correct way to build it. If the damn washes downstream the beaver has failed, if the dam remains in tact and provides a shelter for the beaver and it’s family the beaver is successful, regardless of how they went about building it. A good manager understands this and wants their employees to be productive on their own. They will focus on the results the employee produces, not how they go about producing them. Micro-managers do just the opposite, they focus on what the employee is doing daily, always tracking their activity. Micro-managers will keep all their employees on speed dial and expect their calls be answered every time they call.  

Passing the Buck
Everyone is human, we all screw up at one time or another, however as a manager, you need to accept when your employees downfall is because of your doing. The best of leaders will have their employees back, they will not only take the heat when they have created a problem but will also help redirect conflict which the employee may have mistakenly created on their own. There will be times where an employee makes a deliberate mistake and appropriate corrective action is required but in most cases it’s just a simple mistake, one which could have been made by anyone.

Too Reactive
Leaders need to be proactive, not just reactive. If you find yourself spending all of your time trying to put out fires, then you aren't using your time effectively. Proactive leaders have an influence on the future and form the right alliances to advance their causes. Of course you should make sure your group is getting all the answers and resources they need, but don't ignore the future.

Lack of Clarity
This is one the largest and most leadership potential-killing communication failures that you can make. If employees lack a clear goal for what the organization is striving to achieve, this can lead to many negative consequences and overall chaos. When employees are not clear about the organization’s goals or what their leaders want, they become frustrated and their motivation nose dives. After all, if they don’t know what they are working for, why work at all? Employees don’t like to feel directionless. A lack of clarity can lead to mixed messages that will frustrate you, your employees and your organization.

Failing to Develop Others
Because selfish, failing leaders view others as a threat to their position, they are very reluctant to develop top performers into company leaders. On top of their other nine flaws, it makes it almost impossible for anyone to want to work under these managers. This behavior decreases productivity and makes for poor team morale, increasing turnover in the long run.

It's true that making a mistake can be a learning opportunity. But, taking the time to learn how to recognize and avoid common mistakes can help you become productive and successful, and highly respected by your team.

The world’s greatest leaders know that success is fleeting and that no amount of success in the present can prevent a future failure. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it can’t happen to you, but the truth is, it’s much easier to fail than you think. An essential part of leadership development is understanding the warning signs that indicate potential problems; learn what they are and how to combat them to reduce the risk of a leadership failure.


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