Six Critical Mistakes Leaders Make

By Robin Lines

In Leadership Coaching, we talk about what great leaders do. However, we must also consider what great leaders do not do. Several common mistakes can demotivate your team, reduce respect, and at worst, negatively impact your bottom line.

Poor Delegating

If you have seen the American version of The Office, you might remember the episode where Charles Miner takes over from Michael Scott. As his first act, he makes Stanley Hudson the ‘Productivity Czar’ and puts Kevin Malone on phones. We the audience know these are terrible roles for both of these people. However, these are the mistakes that inattentive or over-confident leaders will make.

Get to know your people. Be sure to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses properly. Do not make the mistake of believing that anybody can handle a particular task. You want the right people in the right seats.

Poor Communication

We can again return to Charles Miner. In one episode, he asks Jim Halpert for a ‘rundown’ of his clients, yet fails to make it clear what information he wants. It is easy to believe that your people know what is expected of them, but that may not be the case.

In a broader sense, when we deal with inter-department communications, a failure for upper-management to adequately communicate something to one department can result in miscommunications making their way throughout the organisation. This can impact everything from customer service to quality control to morale.

Make sure you communicate clearly and effectively. Leave your door open for clarifications.

Ignoring the Day-to-Day

It is tempted to get wrapped up in the ‘big picture’ stuff. Planning for the long-term is wise, but you cannot ignore the short-term. Your day-to-day methods will have a tremendous impact on whether you can either achieve long-term goals. Shortcomings or inefficiencies in your daily processes can delay, or even halt, the big picture, long-term achievements.

Too Much Micromanaging

We see this a lot. Some leaders are far too hands-on. Their people feel strangled by constant, overbearing attention. Your innovative and creative people need room to breathe. Nobody can think outside of the box if they are constantly being shoved back into one.

You hired your people for a reason. Let them shine.

Being Too Hands-Off

On the reverse side, we have the leaders that are too hands-off. They fail to introduce accountability measures properly or do not deal with time-sinks. They allow their people too much leeway and create the wrong atmosphere in the office.

You want your people to feel relaxed, appreciated and respected. By all means, allow your people some time to work on different projects, to exercise their creative muscles and to examine various methods for doing things. Do not let people muck around at the organisation’s expense.

Forgetting to Motivate and Reward

Everybody likes to feel appreciated. Even a ‘thank you’ can serve as a fantastic motivator. A more significant motivator for an employee feels like there is a path forward. Make sure that you offer your people the chance to advance. Do not ignore training opportunities, and always look at how you can better utilise an individual’s talents.

Leaders who are as forthcoming with praise as they are with criticism are viewed as even-handed. They command greater respect, and it is much easier to get people to keep doing something well when they know they are doing well.

Want to be a Better Leader?

Robin Lines Associates offers fully bespoke and comprehensive leadership training programmes for any size business. With other thirty years’ experience, we can help your people become confident, exceptional leaders who pass on skills throughout your organisation.

Robin Lines

Robin Lines

Professional Services Consultant

I'm a highly experienced, versatile and dynamic training facilitator and business coach, dedicated to assisting leaders in helping their people achieve their potential and realise goals. I also deliver a range of Consultative Selling and Key Account Management programmes, equipping salespeople with the skills, tools and methodologies to help them win and outsell their competition.


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