The Top 5 Leadership Mistakes You Might Be Making

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

The Top 5 Leadership Mistakes You Might Be Making

Here are the five most critical mistakes that derail promising careers.

1. You think you have to know everything.

Leaders often make the mistake of thinking, “I’m the leader, so I can’t ask questions. I’m paid to have the answers!” This instinct usually comes from a good place — we all want to be credible. But, you don’t earn credibility by pretending to be infallible.

Instead, building true credibility requires a strong dose of humility. It means admitting you don’t know if the central office is handling that project, but you’ll find out and follow up. It means owning your mistakes and apologizing when you’re wrong. Showing a bit of vulnerability might seem counterintuitive, but it often increases your credibility, and therefore, your effectiveness as a leader.

2. You don’t trust your team.

Micromanaging is a common symptom of this lack of trust: needing to approve everything, hesitating to delegate even the smallest task. Even though I know better, I still catch myself on occasion assigning projects to capable team members, then fighting the urge to look over their shoulder.

I have to remind myself of the many great things they’ve done on their own and let them do their jobs. Otherwise, micromanaging will destroy creativity, shut down initiative and disengage teams.

3. You let uncomfortable situations fester.

Ineffective leaders let uncomfortable situations, critical conversations or performance issues go unaddressed, because they don’t know how to address it without being unkind. When in reality, the kinder, more considerate thing to do — for the employee, team and the organization — is to address problems head-on.

4. You focus on short-term wins at the expense of long-term results.

Ineffective leaders get so focused on results that they lose sight of the people who produce those results. They often excuse less-than-ideal behavior by saying, “We have to hit the number at all costs.” And I want to respond, “Really, at all costs? Because you just destroyed the very thing that was going to hit the number next quarter.”

Great leaders, effective leaders achieve results in a way that allows them to get those results over and over again.

5. You’re stuck in old ways of working.

This is not a generational issue. People — older, younger, in-between — are working differently, with nontraditional hours, remote locations and virtual communication. Call it life balance or more of a holistic approach to careers, but people want flexibility. The worst leaders resist it; the best leaders leverage it.

In a study of a 20,000-person organization, a Stanford researcher found:

  • At-home workers were more likely to work their full shift than office workers.
  • Employees concentrated better at home.
  • Resignations dropped 50 percent among remote workers.
  • The company netted a $2,000 profit for each employee they allowed to work remotely.

The researcher, Professor Michael Bloom, said to Insights by Stanford Business, “For employees, they’re much more productive and happier. For managers, you don’t have to spend so much time recruiting and training people. For firms, you make far more profit.

For society, there’s a huge saving of reducing congestion, driving times and, ultimately, pollution … There’s not much to lose, and there’s a lot to gain.” I completely agree. You can get the greatest talent in the planet if you’re willing to break from tradition.

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