If you’ve climbed the career ladder all the way to a management position, then you’ll know that you now have plenty of new challenges to face. Being a good leader isn’t easy and there are a number of common traps that you’re in danger of falling into.
If you want to be a successful leader, avoid these mistakes.
1. Not listening to the opinions of others
Good managers accept that they don’t always know best and value the ideas of their team. Everyone sees things in different ways and we all have our strengths, so make the most of what your people have to offer and don’t try to dictate everything yourself.
You should always try to take time to listen to others and show that you value their opinion. You may not always agree, or act on their idea but you should acknowledge them and create a working atmosphere where people feel confident expressing their opinions. Ultimately, you’ll be making the decisions but a few ideas along the way may help you to make better decisions.
2. Being unapproachable
Good leaders make their team feel like they can talk to them about any issues they are having. Your people should feel comfortable asking you for advice and being honest with you if they are struggling. While they shouldn’t be bothering you with every tiny problem, they should know that your door is always open.
3. Not being open to change
It’s all too easy to get comfortable with the systems and procedures you have in place, but there is always room for improvement and change is inevitable. If you want to increase efficiency and productivity in your team changes will have to be made, especially with so much new technology emerging all the time. Don’t be a dinosaur!
4. Neglecting the details
As a leader, you’ll be driving your team to achieve key goals and to see the bigger picture. However, while you may have set some big goals, it’s important to remember that these goals will only be achieved by an accumulation of small projects and successes.
Ensure that you don’t lose sight of the smaller day-to-day tasks and procedures that are taking place. If you have a good understanding of what is happening at every level in your organisation you will be able to better spot when things aren’t working as well as they should be.
5. Not recognising individual successes
Praise and recognition give the people in your team a big motivation boost. Keep your eye on what’s happening and if someone achieves something great, recognise them for it. A simple ‘good job on that project’ will make them feel good and if you can offer an additional bonus or perk this will only motivate them to give their all going forward.
6. Being a micromanager
If you try to control and dictate every little thing that is happening, your team will become frustrated and feel that you don’t trust them to do their jobs. While you should check in with your team and be aware of what is happening, you don’t need to obsess over details and get involved in everything.
7. Not communicating honestly with your team
If there are important things happening in your company then you shouldn’t keep your team in the dark. There are plenty of ways to keep people in the loop (meetings, emails, conference calls, etc.) so keep your communication channels as open as possible. From time to time there will be sensitive topics that you may not want to broadcast but aim to be as open and honest as you can be.
8. Being too personal or impersonal
Stay professional and don’t overshare with your team. It’s great for them to know a little bit about your life, what you’re interested in and your family, but they don’t need to hear about the big argument you had with your partner at the weekend. It’s important to strike a balance between connecting with your colleagues and being approachable whilst maintaining their respect.
9. Not admitting when you’re wrong
We all make mistakes from time to time or make a bad decision and there’s nothing worse than a leader who can’t admit their mistakes. You will earn a lot more respect by acknowledging your errors and moving forward than if you try to shift the blame or deny any fault.
10. Being afraid to let people go
Firing someone is never a pleasant task, but if there is a negative under-performer in your team it will be better for everyone if you bite the bullet and let them go. It is likely to be a difficult conversation, but remember they are taking the place of someone who could be adding a lot of value to your team.
If you go down all the right channels and make an effort to help your employee improve but they still aren’t getting anywhere, it’s time for them to move on.
Bringing it all together
Being a leader has plenty of challenges, but if you can avoid the common mistakes above you’ll be in a much better position to lead your team to success!