Leadership is the fundamental element in every endeavor. It comes with responsibility and you have to own it in good and bad situations. Here are the top 10 mistakes that leaders make:
1. Failure to Take Charge on Day 1. When you are assigned to a leadership position, whether it’s a promotion or from outside the organization, you must take charge. Hold a meeting with your direct reports and introduce yourself. Describe your leadership style. Explain how your monthly performance-counseling program will work. In addition, talk about a mentorship program.
2. Failure to Conduct Productive Meetings. Most people walk away from meetings wondering why they were there and why there was a meeting in the first place. You should prepare for a meeting by notifying attendees in advance. Be sure to announce the purpose of the meeting and let each attendee know what they are responsible for discussing. As a rule of thumb, meetings should never exceed one hour.
3. Failure to Realize Perception. Leaders have a tendency to believe they are perceived as “great” and everything is well within the team. It may not be. Awareness of how your team perceives you as a leader is the key to becoming a real “great” leader. Perceptions can be changed given the right tools and the right attitude.
4. Failure to Realize Strengths and Weaknesses Within a Team. Knowing the true strengths and weaknesses within a team allows a leader to place people in the right role. Knowing the intensity levels of the personality traits of each individual is a good first step.
5. Failure to Mentor. A great leader is never content with the level he or she is at. We want to move forward. Professional development is instrumental in developing your direct reports. A good leader includes development in monthly counseling. This is your opportunity to prepare them to take your place as you move to a higher level of leadership.
6. Failure to “Lead from the front,” Leading from the front is essential to every leader. It means setting the example, doing the right things, and taking responsibility for your actions. Leading from the front earns respect, not only from direct reports, but from those you report to as well.
7. Failure to Hold Accountability. Great leaders hold accountability. The pitfall is that leaders tend to hold their direct reports accountable, but then it stops there. Hold yourself accountable, hold your peers accountable, and make sure your peers hold you accountable.
8. Failure to Act in Fairness. Here is a difficult one. All of your team members may have a different idea of what fair is in every situation. When you have to make a call (and you will), on a situation take time to understand what happened. Get perspectives from your team members about the situation. Don’t act out of anger. Take your time. The most important thing to remember is that the final decision is yours. Do what is best for your organization first and what is best for your team second. Every team in your organization has the same vision and mission.
9. Failure to Make Good and Timely Decisions. The decision making process is one of the most important attributes of a leader. Their decisions have to be good and timely. Decisions are the measuring stick of a leader. You must know how to reach a decision before you make one. Start with a quick analysis. Involve your direct reports and peers. Let them have ownership in it. Next, create three courses of action and choose the best one.
10. Failure to Be Dependable. Great leaders are always on time, but that is just a start. Great leaders are always the first ones there and the last ones to leave. When ATC conducts a Team Training event, there is a lot of work to do before and after. I make it a point of being the first one at the site. After the event, when everything is recovered and put away, I watch every trainer depart, and then I check the perimeter. Leadership at the top can be lonely, but those moments alone are priceless. Before I depart, I whisper to myself “all clear”.
Written by Brian Jones, CEO, Adventure Training Concepts
Brian Jones is a decorated war veteran who served in the most elite forces of the U.S. Army for over 20 years. He has led and trained thousands of teams and leaders around the World. He is the founder of the ATC Leadership Development Program and continues to help executive level leaders reach their full potential every day. To learn more about Brian read his full bio at http://www.adventuretrainingconcepts.com/