You strive to be an effective leader. You are told you are to be perfect and be a role model for all around you. Then WHY do you make these mistakes?
Leadership is an art form. Even though some people are “born” leaders, it is an attribute that can be learned. To be a truly effective leader, sometimes it is more important to know what not to do than what to do. Clean up these common challenge areas, and you will be stepping into true leadership position.
Successful Leaders do not make the following mistakes:
1. Get “Power Hungry”
Do you know a “leader” who abuse their position and their power. Someone whom says and does crazy things that you know they do just because they can?
This behavior eats away at their authority and their personal connection with their team and organization. Over time people will come to resent this behavior and do whatever they can to tear this person down instead of working to build them up.
When you’re one of these types, learn to eliminate your “EGO” or at least check it at the door. Build teams, NOT dictatorships.
2. Can’t or Won’t Delegate Responsibility
Have you seen people in position to create amazing things and yet get stuck because they must do everything themselves. I used to be that person and it held me back for decades.
And even when they do let go they do it in a demotivating way. ”I empower you. But you must check with me before you do anything substantial.” In this way, they never really give up the power and thus handcuff their people in the process. Do this consistently, and your team will be as de-motivated as they come.
Have faith and confidence in your people. Allow them to do their job and even make mistakes. That’s how they will learn and empower the whole company.
3. Lack of Industry/Product Knowledge
Nothing is scarier than when a person in authority (maybe a sales rep or technical person) is speaking with a customer and they don’t know what they are talking about!
What happens when that person is a leader of a whole team or division? Poor results, or worse total collapse of the company all the way around.
Be an expert in your field and spend whatever time is necessary to master your products, services and industry that you’re involved in.
4. Unwilling to Lead By Example
“Do as I say – not as I do.” That statement is not good enough and never was! To be a great leader, you must be willing to get your hands dirty and show your people how it’s done.
I stepped up my game when I became a dad, and realized my children were watching me for subtle clues as to how they are to behave. It takes the idea of role model to a whole new level. Say what you are going to do. And do what you say. That’s what true leaders do.
5. Unwilling to Adapt to Change
Sorry folks. Change is inevitable. It will always be there and it will always happen. More importantly, it is the societies, companies, and individuals that learn to empress change, and change regularly that survive. The rest will perish.
You must be willing to accept that things will always change, and you must be willing to make the best of it. When you can do that, and do it with integrity and a positive frame of mind, you are on your way to becoming a top-notch leader.
6. Won’t Accept Others’ Ideas
The next step of learning to accept help is to accept ideas as well. You must be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It is through this collaboration that innovation and breakthroughs happen.
When you are stuck on it being “your way or the highway”, you are doomed to failure. The willingness to hear, accept, and use others ideas entirely or integrate their ideas into your own, is one of the guiding principles of true leaders.
Start listening to the ones around you with an OPEN MIND, and success is sure to follow.
7. Blaming Others
The blame game. Finding fault. Pointing fingers at others. This is an entire subject all it’s own.
When you desire to be a great leader you must learn to be the living breathing personification of “The buck stops here!” You must take 100% personal responsibility for all you do.
To be a true leader is to be fallible; to be imperfect. “Sorry, I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.” is one of the most empowering phases you can learn as a true leader. People hear this so seldom they will not only take note, they may even be moved to do even more for you because of your honesty, integrity, and obvious exhibition of leadership qualities.
8. Selfish, Anti-Team behavior
The power of the organization is the power of its team. You are as weak as your weakest link… not your strongest. To be a true leader show understanding of these principles by watching out for ALL your team members. Always have their back. Always look out for their best interest.
They will notice and in turn, watch yours. When this happens throughout a team (because the leader showed the way), the strength and power of the team is unstoppable.
9. Share the Credit
All to often you hear people in authority act as if they are the sole reason something was invented, thought of, or done a certain way. This is never the case. Success always comes from a collaborative effort and as a true leader it is your job to make sure the credit is shared to that end.
To be the ultimate leader, don’t simply share the credit… give all the credit. When you do, your strengthen the organization and build you all to new heights.
10. Surround yourself with the best
Tom Osborne, the tremendously successful former head coach of the University of Nebraska football team, once said that his key to success was surrounding himself with good people and allowing them to do their job.
To be an awesome leader and to achieve ultimate success as such, you must surround yourself with the best. People who are better than you even.
Now for too many this is a challenge because it means letting go of your ego, letting go of your need to get all the credit, letting go of your desire to be right. It means living and breathing as a leader daily.
You must have the confidence in the people around you to let them do their job, let them have the power to make mistakes, and the power to correct them, and know when to step in and when to step out. Know they are the best and that is why they follow you.
Live these lessons and watch your organization grow. Live these lessons and be proud of the leader you have become.