Do you know how to tell if you made a leadership mistake? If you’re unsure, then you’re not alone: many leaders focus on the skills necessary to become someone in a leadership position, without necessarily scheduling the time needed to generate truly impactful solutions to challenges faced along their professional journey.

No matter what your beliefs are as to what skills make a great leader, it’s inevitable that leaders in high-ranking or C-Suite positions will make mistakes from time to time. I for one can say I certainly did in 2018.

One of my biggest mistakes was to make assumptions without clearly communicating with the individuals involved in certain professional activities, which ties into Mistake #4 below. Of course, this does not bode well for ideal outcomes, as these situations often call for course correction, a lot of apologies, and a financial hit with the time needed to overcome the disconnect between both parties.

With 89% of executives sharing that strengthening leaders is a top priority for organizational success, best-in-class leaders should be looking at ways to identify potential leadership mistakes and how to best overcome them.

As a leader, there is always the chance to expand your capabilities to become a more balanced leader. From reviewing bottom line results to discussing issues faced in the previous year with your team, there are a variety of ways leaders can reflect on their leadership mistakes and set professional goals for 2019.

As we move into the new year, I urge both new and existing business leaders to consider missteps made in 2018 and the methods to remedy these errors in order to create space for enhanced results and a more cohesive team experience.

Mistake #1: Focusing On Your Job Title

A job title can often feel like a part of an identity, especially for high-ranking professionals. However, it’s vital that leaders in the C-Suite and otherwise maintain the state of mind that they are a part of a team, not solely responsible for the success of the organization.

A big part of being a successful leader is leading by example, which also means accepting and recognizing points of weakness in your leadership style and investing in your growth. By realizing professional flaws, those with important or C-Suite-level job titles can find peace of mind knowing that they’re only human, prone to mistakes like everyone else.


Mistake #2: Confusing Control with Delegation

Learning to delegate both individual and team-based tasks effectively is one of the most important qualities a leader can develop. You can be the most effective problem solver, but without the ability to delegate tasks to overcome challenges, leaders can quickly feel as though they must micromanage every aspect of troublesome situations.

The problem of confusing control with delegation does not only occur in the midst of a company crisis. For many, the sense of being in control is the drive they need to get tasks done and move the organization forward. However, these tendencies not only demonstrate to team members a leader’s inability to trust colleagues, but that the employees’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas will not be taken into consideration.

To overcome the need to be “in control,” leaders can use constructive feedback to give employees autonomy while continuing to oversee ongoing projects and stay actively involved.

By learning how to provide effective feedback and host valuable discussions, you’ll be able to create a workplace culture of trust and provide a collaborative – rather than control-based – team experience. Additionally, leaders who practice active listening and collaboration can enhance workplace mental health for the entire team.

Looking for ways to implement what you’re reading here? Download East Tenth Group’s free ebook “Guide to Managing Self” part of our Balanced Leadership™ Framework and get started.

Mistake #3: Avoiding Professional Conflict

Although it may feel like the right decision at the time, holding onto negative emotions revolving around ongoing conflict can quickly take a toll on your mental wellbeing and the success of the team you manage.

Whether you tend to be an extrovert or an introvert, most people don’t like facing conflicts head-on. However, the ability to deal with conflict is a crucial aspect of well-rounded leadership. When left unattended, areas of potential conflict can create a rift in professional relationships, and in turn, the overall efficiency of a team.

The key to facing conflict? Good communication skills. By working on encouraging feedback, communicating clearly, setting expectations, and practicing active listening in the midst of problems, leaders can remove themselves from the fear of conflict and instead focus on overcoming issues through active discussion.


Mistake #4: Failing to Make Time for Hands-On Leadership

In my opinion, the biggest mistake a leader can make is not choosing to be an active part of the team that they’re managing. A team, and in turn, an organization, is only as strong as the capabilities of its leaders. If you are not making time to be an available resource for your team, results and productivity will inevitably become unreliable.

Whether you’re an organizational leader or a team manager, issues that surround the C-Suite can quickly take over your time in office, while your team is left to guide themselves, attempt to decipher your expectations, and delegate tasks at the employee level.

The solution to overcoming this leadership mistake will vary for leaders, depending on their unique leadership style. If you work best by sticking to a schedule, make time every day to implement facets of a high-touch leadership style, such as:

  • Practicing active listening
  • Providing constructive, timely, and appropriate feedback
  • Scheduling one-on-one chats with employees
  • Setting the example of utilizing mindful working habits

When you’re in a position of leadership, it’s vital that you maintain a healthy perspective of how your guidance impacts your team. Ideally, impactful leaders are able to set the expectation that when their door is open, they’re ready to listen, provide direction, and delegate tasks effectively.

In the modern workplace, there is a seemingly endless range of projects leaders should be focusing their attention on. By taking time to reflect on previous mistakes and consider the best routes to move forward, both leaders and managers can begin optimizing their capabilities and become the best-in-class leaders teams and organizations need to succeed.

If you’re a manager or C-Suite leader looking to level-up their capabilities and overcome shortcomings, our Balanced Leadership™ Framework can help you refine your skills and move forward with new leadership tactics designed to build successful teams and businesses.

Whether you’re looking to better lead a business or manage your team, the Balanced Leadership™ Framework can empower both emerging leaders and existing executives.

Are you ready to hone your skills and streamline your leadership techniques? If you are, I invite you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.


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