Common Leadership Mistakes

by Oct 21, 2013

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”  – Oscar Wilde

We hear that learning from our mistakes gives us a better opportunity for the next time something occurs. However, not making the mistake in the first place is even better.

In this article, I will be providing the most common leadership mistakes and how you can avoid these errors. Reading about these mistakes now can better prepare you to avoid them in the future, ultimately saving yourself the trouble.

1. The Lack of Feedback

For example, Jane may be a great customer service representative, but she has a bad habit of answering the calls unprofessionally. Her boss is waiting for her performance review to address this issue. Unfortunately for Jane, until someone brings this problem to her attention, she will continue the way she talks.

Failing to provide feedback at the appropriate time is one of the most common leadership mistakes. By waiting until the last minute, you are depriving your employees to improve their performance.

2. Being Hands-Off

One of your team has completed an important project for a client. The problem is that the team misunderstood the task and completed the project in the wrong manner. Now, you are faced with an angry client that needs an explanation.

Many leaders try to avoid micromanaging. With that said, being laissez faire isn’t the best way to manage either. Find a good balance between these two styles to fit the needs of your company.

3. Too Friendly of a Leader

Everyone wants to be seen as friendly and approachable, which is good. Sometimes though, you will be required to make some tough decisions regarding people on your team. People will try to take advantage of your friendship in those situations.

This does not mean you cant be friendly towards your team. It just means to be friendly with moderation – the line between being a friend and being a boss should be set clear.

4. Undefined Goals

Not setting clear goals will prevent your team from being productive. Since they don’t know what the goals are, priorities might not be set properly completing tasks in the wrong order.

5. Not Delegating

Some managers cannot delegate work because they don’t think anyone but themselves can complete the given tasks. This often leads to too much workloads leading to stress and burning out.

You are the manager and your responsibilities are different from your previous position. Learn to trust your team and delegate tasks as you focus more on the broader picture.

Things to Remember

We are all prone to making mistakes, but these are the most common mistakes when it comes to managing your team. It’s true that mistakes can be a great learning opportunity, but avoiding these common mistakes can help your team become more productive and successful. You will be highly respected by your team.

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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