We All Make Mistakes
As leaders, the decisions we make shape and drive the entire organization. When it comes to leadership, it’s impossible to avoid making mistakes entirely. Everybody makes mistakes. That is a given, but a good leader learns from when they make mistakes to avoid making those same mistakes again. Sometimes a common mistake can go unnoticed unless someone points it out, thereby repeating the same mistakes. Below we break down four of the most significant leadership mistakes and common leadership pitfalls to avoid. By identifying these common leadership mistakes, hopefully, you can avoid making them as a leader in your organization.
1. Lacking Humility
Lacking humility is one of the most significant pitfalls of leadership. As a leader holding a position of power, you must not let it inflate your ego. A leader who lacks humility can seriously damage the relationship with their employees. It’s important to have humility as a leader and not be afraid to recognize your failures. By demonstrating humility, you can own your mistakes and recognize failures to learn and grow. Showing humility in this way demonstrates to your employees that failure and mistakes are natural and help them feel more open-minded and confident. Without the humility to recognize and own up to your mistakes, it is impossible to have a growth mindset and to improve both personally and professionally.
2. Avoiding Conflict
Another one of the big pitfalls in leadership is to avoid all conflict altogether. New leaders must quickly learn how to handle disputes, disagreements, and other issues. There is a fine line between inciting unnecessary conflict and avoiding all potential conflicts. Many leaders try to avoid confrontation at all costs. This starts becoming an issue when leaders let certain things that negatively affect the business slide without confronting them. Things like performance issues or negative personalities, when left unchecked, can fester and grow into significant problems down the line for a business. If a leader avoids conflict and lets these issues happen, this sets a precedent that undermines the importance and the urgency of correcting recurring mistakes. Instead of avoiding conflict, it’s best to confront issues soon after they occur; this way, the incidents are fresh and top of mind.
3. Becoming Self-Serving
If you are in a leadership position only looking for your personal glory, your company will suffer. Becoming entirely self-serving as a leader is one of the biggest leadership mistakes someone can make. Self-serving leaders tend to surround themselves with people who are conformists that will only tell you what they think you want to hear rather than speak up and tell the honest truth. This environment will create an echo chamber that only feeds the self-serving leader’s ego. To avoid becoming self-serving, people in leadership positions should seek out and surround themselves with people unafraid to speak up and tell the truth, especially when that truth might be hard to hear. Surrounding yourself with an honest team will keep you, as a leader, honest and help you, your business, and all of your employees continuously grow and become better.
4. Lack of Trust
Trust is one of the most important things when it comes to running a successful business. Having a lack of trust is one of the biggest leadership mistakes. Without trust, communication and processes can start to become affected. Distrust will cause inefficiencies that can compound over time and eventually become catastrophic for the organization. A level of trust between members of an organization will improve relationships, performance, and success. To build and maintain trust, members in the organization must openly communicate consistently and honestly with each other and demonstrate genuine care for each other’s welfare and interests. Once a healthy level of trust is established within an organization, leaders will be able to delegate certain things to others, as well as flex, adapt, and thrive in times of continuous change.
Own Your Mistakes
It is important to remember that, as humans, we all make mistakes. As a leader, understanding that you will make mistakes is an important first step. Making a mistake for the first time is just that; a mistake. However, when made repeatedly, the mistake becomes a choice that evolves into a much larger problem.
From my time spent as a business strategist, executive coach, and former Fortune 500 executive leader, I am all too familiar with the common pitfalls that leaders often fall into; lack of humility, avoiding conflict, becoming self-serving, and lack of trust. Once you know about these common mistakes, it is easier to identify them before you make those mistakes. If you find yourself constantly stuck making the same mistakes, or if you are curious about other mistakes leaders make, an executive business coach is an excellent resource for leaders to turn to. If you are interested in learning more, contact me today!