Not everyone is a natural-born leader, but each and every leader has the potential to become a better one. While the new world of work continues to develop, it’s clear that honing leadership skills is more important than ever. It can be tricky, but we’re here to help.
There are some basic mistakes that a lot of leaders make, but the good news is you can avoid them!
Here are eight of the most common mistakes that leaders make in the workplace.
1. Don’t Find Their Focus
When you become the leader of a team or of an organization, your job stops being about completing tasks and starts being about supporting people.
Being a leader means you need to figure out how to guide others to complete tasks. This can be an abrupt switch if you’re used to getting things done and executing tasks, but it’s a necessary shift.
2. Don’t Trust Their Teams
In the same spirit of the point above, leaders need to trust their teams to succeed. If you’re constantly poking holes in the work of your direct reports and not actually letting them accomplish anything, you’re going to destroy employee engagement.
One way to handle this more effectively is to make sure you hire the right people. If you have top talent in your organization, you can trust them to thrive.
3. Don’t Work On EQ
One of the best ways to develop as a leader is to work on developing your emotional intelligence. Having a developed EQ helps you communicate effectively, develop your intuition in a leadership role, and network more effectively.
Leaders need EQ to avoid burnout, and they need it to create and nurture teams they’re proud of. “63% of Millennials feel a lack of leadership development in their workplaces, which is a huge problem when you consider the human capital crisis,” we’ve shared before. Executives need to correct this issue.
4. Don’t Emphasize a Growth Mindset
When you reach the point in your career where you are an executive, you might feel your personal and professional development stall out. After all, you made it to the top, didn’t you?
This is a popular approach to take, but it’s also the wrong mindset if you want to thrive. The best leaders are constantly cultivating a growth mindset. This allows them to learn from their mistakes, to stay ahead of the competition in their industry and to ensure their teams are best supported.
5. Don’t Utilize Mentorship
If you’re not actively seeking out mentorship opportunities, you’re missing out on a huge avenue of growth as a leader. Finding a mentor means you have someone you can use as a soundboard, a reference point, and even as a partner as circumstances allow.
Better yet, you can use your position as leader to become a mentor for someone else! Use your experience and learn from your mentee as well. (This is where that growth mindset comes back into play!)
6. Stop Focusing On Communication
Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you can abandon good communication skills. When you’re in large, you’re going to have people working harder to understand and listen to you. This increased support in communication can tempt you to stop actively trying to understand others as thoroughly as you might have in the past. This is a huge mistake!
Make sure your team has a shared language and vocabulary to understand each other, and study up on your direct reports’ communication and behavioral styles. Meeting every person you meet halfway will make every part of work that much easier.
7. Not Living Out Values
Executives are highly visible in an organization, and the way you conduct yourself matters. Forbes shared that “92% of CEOs feel their organization is empathetic, but only 50% of their employees say their CEO is empathetic.” That’s a devastating statistic! What’s happening in those workplaces to create such a divide?
It’s like a lack of value-driven leadership. If your executive team is projecting out one company culture, but acting on a different system of values and behavior, how can you expect your team to rise to the occasion? Leaders need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
8. Don’t Create Boundaries
Leaders set expectations in the workplace. They also set tone and the cadence of communication. If you’re a workaholic who sends out emails late at night and expects a response, you’re in the wrong. Not only are you putting yourself at a higher risk of burning out, you’re putting undue pressure on your direct reports.
Lead by example and unplug in your off hours! Take breaks, encourage your team to prioritize work/life balance, and make sure they have the resources to do that.
Move Forward as a Better Leader
These mistakes are common for a reason! They are easy pitfalls to succumb to. However, that doesn’t mean you have to follow the paths you have in the past. Increasing your awareness of your decisions with the right tools will help you become a better leader.
Are you interested in working with TTI SI? Our tools can help transform your organization. Get the information you need to move forward here.