28 Sep 5 Mistakes Even Savvy Leaders Make
Everyone makes mistakes.
You’ve likely heard this phrase over and over again (ever since you were a child).
While mistakes are human nature and certainly nothing to be ashamed about, what happens after mistakes are made determines the true effectiveness of a person’s leadership ability.
Some of the most successful business owners have made mistakes. It’s inevitable and unintentional. The difference between successful leaders and everyone else is what they do after the mistake is made.
Mistakes that go unaddressed will affect your credibility and trust with your employees. If they continue to see a lack of accountability for mistakes, they will become less engaged in their job and will want to disassociate from you. It may even mean turnover if continuing to occur.
But before we get into how to avoid mistakes, let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes made by even the savviest leaders and managers.
- One-Way Communication
The most common mistake is believing your communication is always effective. Oftentimes leaders will communicate one-way. While many leaders will clearly communicate outwardly their expectations, goals, and clarify roles, that doesn’t mean it’s effective. The missing link is not asking for feedback: where are you at, what are you feeling, how are you doing, how can I support you.
- Being Selective
Leaders can tend to make the mistake of only including those who think or work similarly to themselves. It’s easier to lead if everyone responds the same as you. While it can take more effort to include everyone who should be a part of a decision, it’s best to ensure compliance and understanding on a team level.
- Today vs. Tomorrow
Many leaders are great at managing day-to-day tactical conversations. While those conversations are great and may even be necessary, the mistake occurs when you assume that those conversations mean you’re both on the same page.
Leaders who excel aren’t only talking with their team about what’s in front of them now but also what the long game looks like. What are the goals they’re working on, how do we move towards working strategically, what are the overall goals, etc.
- Not Applying What You Know
There is a big disconnect between learning and application across the board. From reading books and articles to listening to podcasts and attending conferences, we are inundated with more information than ever before. But the mistake is identifying the solution and not taking the time to apply it.
Many times this mistake occurs because it was never taught. Managers may find themself in this new position without any insight or training into how to effectively manage or apply techniques.
- Not Being Vulnerable
There is self-preservation with leaders not wanting to acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers. It’s difficult to be vulnerable, but taking that step and allowing others to support you in finding it will give back tenfold for your team morale, trust, and loyalty. The challenge with this mistake is the sense that you’re losing authority or credibility, when in fact, that’s what you’re building.
Making mistakes is a part of how we learn. Can leaders avoid making the above mistakes? The short answer: Yes. It’s not easy, but it is simple. It means being aware of your team, having a positive mindset for team growth, making time for communication, and supporting the needs of your employees through dedicated one-on-one chats.
When mistakes happen (and they will), what you do after will impact your leadership and success in your position. Follow this prescribed list to ensure a positive way forward.
- Address the mistake
Accept the mistake that happened and apologize.
- Take ownership
Take responsibility for the mistake.
- Ask how to move forward
If this was with a specific individual or group, ask how you can all move forward to rebuild trust.
“Sometimes, when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” – Steve Jobs.
If you’re finding the above mistakes (or others) are occurring and are weighing you down, it’s time to connect with me for a free 15-minute diagnosis!