Congrats! You’re out of the cubicle and in your new office, complete with a nameplate and door. Along with a pay raise, you’ve taken on a leadership position, which means managing instead of being managed! It’s a big change, full of great challenges, potential, and pitfalls. Fortunately, many of these first-timer pitfalls are easy to avoid.
7 Common Leadership Mistakes
Our list of 7 common leadership mistakes new leaders make will put you ahead of the learning curve and give you a great start!
- Micromanaging. Being a leader means putting trust in other people to do their jobs on time and well. Sometimes, leaders end up micromanaging instead. Whatever the reason, micromanaging ends up doing more harm than good. The Harvard Business Review article “Signs That You’re a Micromanager” points out that micromanaging: disables your ability to get important things done, handicaps and demoralizes your team, and leads to dysfunctional operation when you’re not around.
- Inconsistent objectives. When you’re in a new position, there are so many projects to tackle and visions to create that it can be easy to change your objectives– from day to day or even minute to minute. This creates whiplash for your team, yanking them around in different directions and leading to discouragement, frustration, and disengagement.
- Not delegating. There are many reasons why leaders choose to tackle every task that comes their way rather than delegate– incompetent team members, a precise vision, or the need for specialized skills. However, unless you start delegating, you will burn yourself out and not accomplish the tasks that only you can do. In Harvard Business Review article “How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate,” Jenny Blake recommends delegating what she calls the 6 T’s: Tiny, Tedious, Time-Consuming, Teachable, Terrible At, and Time Sensitive.
- Avoiding confrontation. Often new leaders want their team members to like them and will avoid confrontation to achieve this end. This can easily turn you into a doormat. It’s important to find a balance between putting your foot down and building a good rapport with your team members.
- Confusing control with delegation. One mistake is making yourself the go-to person for every little question instead of building a team that can operate autonomously. New leaders often fall into this trap because they feel validated by people’s dependency on their knowledge and expertise. However, this will consume a huge portion of your time and burn you out in the end. Would you like to learn to delegate more effectively? Consider taking an online leadership training course. This can skyrocket your confidence and performance as a leader.
- Getting caught up in the perks. Perks can include setting your own hours, long lunch breaks, taking personal calls, etc. While this is fine and well, it can be tempting to focus on the perks and not take care of your team. Your team often needs your sign off to keep projects moving along to completion and you can be a huge bottleneck if the perks make you inaccessible and/or your work doesn’t get done.
- Mistreating others the way you were mistreated. History often repeats itself, not just on a grand scale, but also within the scope of ordinary life. And one repeating pattern often continued by new leaders is mistreating their team members the way their former bosses mistreated them. This often happens because we tend to copy the examples of our predecessors.
Taking on a leadership position is no small matter. Not only does your team depend on you, but so does the company. For further help on avoiding common leadership mistakes and taking the reins with success, consider training with a virtual coach. They can provide a set of unbiased eyes to capitalize your strengths, see your blindspots, and build up your weaknesses.