We are all human, and as leaders it is important to remember that you aren’t perfect.
You will make mistakes.
Being aware of some common traps may help you to become a better leader to serve your team and customers.
1. Ignoring feedback and other points of view.
Just being the leader doesn’t make you the smartest person in the room, or the most capable.
· Ask for ideas even when you don’t think they are needed. You aren’t going to have all the answers or all the information (and shouldn’t unless you are micromanaging!). Keep asking for feedback and alternate points of view to help develop healthy relationships, build trust, and get better outcomes.
2. Lack of communication.
Once you have communicated, communicate some more.
· Regardless of whether the news is positive or negative, keep your team members appropriately informed.
· Schedule regular meetings with your team. Avoid having meetings only when there are issues. Have a set schedule that balances tasks with team development.
· Foster a psychologically safe environment where your team members feel comfortable approaching you. Allow them to feel like you want to hear from them.
3. Not noticing the positive.
As humans we have a negative bias. It is an intentional act to look out for the positives and catch people doing something right.
· Provide individual recognition for a job well done. This can be as simple as a verbal thanks or a handwritten note.
· Use a group forum where appropriate to shout out the great stuff your team members are doing.
4. Forgetting you are replaceable.
You weren’t the first and you certainly won’t be the last person in your position! When leaders behave like they are the only person who can do certain tasks, can’t take leave and have to work late and on weekends, it can make team members feel like they aren’t as capable. Worse it can encourage them to not work to their potential as they know the leader will just step in and complete the work.
· Like all employees, you are replaceable. Take action to mitigate the risks of you leaving (imagine you win $500 million in the lottery!). This will also help to develop your team.
· Use a coaching approach with lots of open ended questions to demonstrate that your team members ideas and contributions matter .
· Don’t wear it like a badge of honour to not take leave or work late. It is ok to work late and on weekends every so often, but if this is your continual way of working you are creating a culture where hours matters more than actual outputs. Highly effective employees that can get their deliverables achieved in less time will either leave or burn out if they feel the expectation is to always work long hours.
5. Ignoring difficult conversations.
Leadership isn’t easy. The worst thing you can do is ignore the tough decisions and conversations. Conflict will just fester and erodes culture very quickly.
· Is an employee not performing? Avoid putting it off. Get right to it and remind the person of your expectations.
· An employee has requested something you don’t want / can’t give? (e.g. leave at a very busy time of year) Let them know why it is a problem and try and work together for an alternate solution.
Leadership requires ongoing development
Whether this is your first or fiftieth first leadership role, you’ll realise it’s always a work in progress. But avoiding these 5 leadership mistakes will give you a great basis to lead successfully.
Leadership is a core component of your workplace culture and we know that strong positive workplace cultures lead to high performance, growth, and long-lasting businesses. For example, according to the 2020 Best Places to Work Australia study, the best businesses with <100 employees averaged over 70% revenue growth and have remained in business for over 20 years!
Take our <5 minute scorecard to compare your workplace culture and receive a customised report on how you can build high performing teams.