12 Mar 6 Common Leadership Mistakes and Leadership Qualities to Resolve Them
Being a leader is challenging. The expectations to constantly over-perform are daunting. Regardless of training or of personal leadership qualities, there are some mistakes each leader tends to do in the course of their life.
For those of you in leadership roles, we have compiled a list of common mistakes and the leadership qualities you need to resolve them:
1. Not communicating the vision to employees
For a leader, the need for a well-formulated vision is nothing out of the ordinary. Simon Sinek has emphasized enough the importance of starting with the why – crafting the vision first.
But having a compelling vision and communicating it once to your employees is not enough. The constant, periodic communication of the vision to employees is just as essential. Employees need a constant reminder, clarification of what the vision means in carrying out their daily tasks. As vital as this reminder is, leaders tend to forget about it.
If you are a great communicator or storyteller, use your leadership qualities to your advantage to embed the vision into your messages and stories to inspire and motivate people. Bring it to life by linking it to daily discussions, for example when giving feedback about people performance.
2. Pretending to be someone else
Have you ever heard of ‘imposter syndrome’? Leaders sometimes think they do not deserve their position, worried that their skills and knowledge are not good enough to lead.
Insecure leaders will cope in different way to escape the daily feeling of insecurity and anxiety. Most of them will resort to pretending to be someone else, according to what they think the expectations of colleagues and subordinates would be. In the long-run, this act confuses peers and teams alike, unsure of what their leader is really like. How can you fully trust a leader that displays contradicting behaviours?
The solution is simple. Be honest. You have great leadership qualities – but you are likely to have some other leadership qualities to which you fall short. It is completely fine to admit that you are not perfect and leverage what you are good at. And for the things you are not good at – do not be afraid to ask for help.
3. Failing to adjust to changes
Early success easily tricks you into thinking that if it worked once, it will work forever. But managers forget that “what’s got you here won’t necessarily get you there”.
The persuasiveness which boosted sales early in your career might be completely useless as the environment and the role change. Trying to push harder will make only things worse.
Learn to be flexible, like those who have a chameleon leadership quality. Know your strengths and when to use them best – when to push. But at the same time, understand your weak spots and surround yourself of people that can complement you – that can tell you when pushing is enough.
4. Neglecting your weaknesses
Leaders have weaknesses too.
Let’s examine a situation where you are confronted with your weaknesses. You are assigned a project you cannot tackle effectively. If you insist on handling these responsibilities despite your lack of expertise, then you are putting the quality of the final outcome at risk. Alternatively, you have a more favourable option – to ask for help from your employees, who are more skilled in those tasks.
A great leader is self-aware of which leadership quality they possess and which they don’t. They adapt their style based on their strengths, and they ensure their teams know when they can ask for help – and when on the other hand they are asked for help. A great leader is nothing without a great team. As a leader, learn to ask for help from your team. It is not a weakness in itself, but one of the most admirable leadership qualities.
5. Poor delegating of employees
Effective delegation is one of the most crucial leadership qualities. Easier said than done – here some tips in case you find yourself in one of the following situations:
- Zero delegation. The leader makes all the decisions (and actions) and employees do not have a chance to contribute. If so, leverage harmony and inclusion as leadership qualities: you are a leader as long as you have a great team. And a great team wants to actively contribute to its success.
- Unclear direction. The leader communicates the objectives in a vague and abstract way, but the employees do not understand what they need to do in practice. If so, leverage your organisational skills and bring forward your “arranger” leadership qualities. Communicate to your team not only the vision (the why), but also the final outcome (what), the timeline (when), the process and next steps (how), and give clarity about the roles and resources (who).
- No monitoring: The leader is not realistic about the skills of the employees, being too optimistic about what employees can do. Later, the leader may notice that the project is not progressing as expected, with severe risks or delays. If so, bring forward your “timekeeper” and “focus” leadership qualities: ensure that everybody and all tasks are on track, your staff if focused and engaged, and risks are communicated and mitigated early.
6. Disregarding the needs of stakeholders
Leaders prefer not to address matters outside their business matters, often afraid to step into uncharted territories. However, identifying and managing external stakeholders having interest or impact in the organisation is essential, even if those interests diverge from yours.
But never underestimate the external factors on your business. Enhance your strategist leadership quality – be aware of your environment, connect the dots and pre-empt any risks or issues that you see at the horizon. Ask your team also to tune in – to learn about the environment, competitors, and anything else that could favour or oppose the success of your team.
What are your strengths & leadership qualities?
As a leader, being aware of your strengths and leadership qualities is essential for tackling organizational challenges. Take the free HIGH5 strength test here to find out how to leverage your leadership qualities on the way of becoming a great leader.