Do you aspire to be a business leader?
Many professionals dream of climbing the career ladder and reaching a position where they can manage their own team. However, to become a successful leader, there are certain qualities you need and some which should be developed.
You should also monitor your behaviour and leadership traits, to ensure you don’t develop any bad leadership qualities over time.
There’s not just one leadership style though and so it’s important to understand yours.
Do you see yourself as a definitive leader for example, where you make difficult decisions quickly and confidently? Or are you a collaborative leader, who avoids telling others what to do and instead tries to help individuals find their own path?
If you know anything about managing other people and their ideas, you know that it’s a super tough gig. There are many tempting traps you can fall into when it comes to being in charge, but as long as you’re cognizant of them, they’re possible to avoid.
By being aware of the pitfalls, you will be more likely to recognise these bad habits and adjust your leadership style accordingly.
Not Listening to Others
When you’re a manager or leader, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don’t make yourself available to your team.
Even when you’re in charge, the ideas of others are highly valuable.
No two people see the same issue in the exact same way, so thinking that you always know best is extremely close-minded. You don’t always have to take the advice or ideas of others, but even just acknowledging other perspectives can help inform the decisions that are ultimately yours to make.
Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team.
Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!
Often we look at people as numbers, human capital. Employees aren’t chattel or beans to be counted, they are people and they are complex.
There is always a human cost to every action that leaders take.
Take the time to know your employees – their interests, birthdays, births/adoptions, pets, and other milestones that people care about.
Being a distant figurehead by sitting in your office behind a shut door is certainly a bad leadership mistake. The best leaders are not only visible in the office, but they engage with employees and get actively involved.
Your employees are microcosm of the business you’re trying to win. Truly see your people so you can best lead.
Some managers don’t delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly.
This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.
Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate tasks, you’re never going to have time to focus on the “broader-view” that most leaders and managers are responsible for.
If you don’t give employees some decision-making ability and autonomy, they may start looking for jobs elsewhere.
As a leader, you need to have the confidence and trust in your team to execute their tasks independently, whilst being there to offer guidance when required.
What’s more, you’ll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.
Failing to Recognize Individual Successes
The worst type of leader is the glory hound.
You know, they take all credit but none of the responsibility. Real leadership is 360 ownership of wins and losses.
As a leader, you’re only as good as the sum of your parts. Failure to recognize talent is a huge inhibitor, leaders who don’t fully see their people don’t generally see their talents because they are looking at them one dimensionally.
If someone does something great, they deserve to be recognized for it.
It’s also important to remember that taking credit for others’ successes is a major no-no, since it will immediately alienate them and put them on the defensive. You want your employees to feel like they’re part of a collaborative team rather than a power-hungry dictatorship.
Failing to Define Goals
The big picture is important, and as a leader it’s your job to define what that is.
It’s also your job to make sure that your company is on track towards achieving your those important goals you’ve set. It’s true that you don’t want to sweat the small stuff, but you can’t have a completely hands-off approach to what’s going on in the lower rungs of your organization.
When your people don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can’t be productive if they have no idea what they’re working for, or what their work means.
They also can’t prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.
Hire people who you trust to get the smaller jobs done and check in with them regularly — but there’s no need get involved in every single thing they do.
Being a good leader will set a good example for your employees to follow.
Your leadership will also shape employees’ attitude to work and will play a large part in your working relationships.
No leader wants to be regarded as a bad boss.
We all make mistakes, and there are some mistakes that leaders and managers make in particular. These include not listening, being too “hands-off,” not delegating effectively, and misunderstanding your role.
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.
Most leaders will make some of these five mistakes along the way, but those who learn and grow will be a step ahead in their career.
Real leaders lead, create opportunity, share the credit and make sure the team becomes better in the process.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.