Leaders are human. They make mistakes, but by being aware of the most common pitfalls, problems can be reduced. I’d like to say I’ve compiled this list from observation, but it’s lessons I’ve learned from my own leadership mistakes and missteps. You can either eventually figure it out through trial and error (like I did), or you could learn from my leadership mistakes. Here’s my top ten:

10. Poor delegation

This includes not delegating (no one can do it as good as me!), delegating without follow up, delegating impossible tasks, and delegating to those who are unprepared for the task.

9. Lack of transparency

Your business shouldn’t be a secret to your employees. How can your team support the organization if they don’t know what’s going on? Good or bad, share it.

8. Little or no follow up

Assigning tasks and activities without follow up is a recipe for failure. Help your team by following up on the projects you give them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

7. Participating in gossip

If you want to destroy your team, gossip about employees to other employees — they’ll soon figure out you gossip about them, as well. When you listen to toxic hearsay about others, you become part of the problem. Don’t make yourself available to partake in slander by listening to it.

6. Putting you first

Leadership is service. Very few will follow anyone who raise themselves above others. Putting yourself first makes you last among those you lead.

5. Little or no personal involvement

The less you’re involved in day-to-day operations, the more difficult it becomes to advise and direct your team. The more you rely on others for information, the greater the chance of information being incorrect.

4. Do as I say, not as I do

Don’t misunderstand this. It doesn’t mean you have to complete every task your team takes on. It means you approach every task you take on in the same manner you expect from them.

3. Avoiding confrontation at all costs

More good employees are lost because no one tells them what needs to be changed. If you want to help your team, tell them what they need to hear.

2. Lie, cheat, and steal

There is little room for white lies, half-truths, and withholding information. A leader’s unethical choices in any part of life reflect on them as a leader.

And the Number One Answer Is — Drum Roll, Please …

1. Bullying

If your primary tools for motivating others are fear and threats — you’re a bully. It will eventually blow up in your face when you’re unable to retain key personnel who will not stand for your abuse.

Like I said at the beginning of this list, I’ve unfortunately learned through trial and error, and I’m not done learning. Anyone in a leadership position has the choice to learn the hard way or to learn from others. If you were to mentor a young leader, what leadership mistakes would you advise them to avoid?

How Can I help You?

I’d love to meet you and your team virtually. I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.