It is no secret that managing a team can be difficult and rewarding. It can be difficult dealing with a variety of personalities – some hard working, others not so much. But no matter how long someone has been a manager – if they recently worked their way up through the company or if they are a seasoned leader – leaders are bound to make mistakes. Here are five common ones every leader can – and should – avoid:
- Being unwilling to change their current mindset. This seems to be the mistake leaders struggle with most. The characteristics that got them promoted – working hard, demonstrating technical or analytic ability – are not the skills that will help them succeed in their new position. Fixing problems and fire-fighting might be in their comfort zone and may seem like important work, but this type of work will not earn results. Instead, they’ll need a new mind-set that allows them to focus on actions that deliver business results with their team.
- Failing to communicate effectively. Managers who fail to communicate with their team members run the risk of not setting clear guidelines or expectations for a project. It is vital that managers give enough guidance so that each employee knows what he or she is accountable for without feeling micromanaged. All managers must work to strike the right balance of providing enough direction without dictating orders, which can harm employee engagement and retention.
- Failing to acknowledge mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Leaders must be accountable for their actions and own their mistakes. To be a good leader, they need to be able recognize there will be times when they will falter, and it’s okay if mistakes happen, so long as those stumbling blocks become learning blocks used to help build toward future accomplishments.
- Giving a lack of praise. The old approach of “no news is good news” does not work with the current workforce, especially with millennials. Managers must find ways to recognize the results their employees are getting on behalf of the company. Employee engagement is important no matter what type of industry the organization is in – and employees must feel their work is valued. Recognition does not always have to come in the form of a physical gift; even a hand-written card from a manager can mean a lot and have an impact on an employee’s attitude and performance.
- Refusing to ask for advice. There will be times when managers don’t have all the answers. Instead of tackling the problem on their own, it is best to seek input from others, especially from those being managed. This will develop relationships and improve the leader’s ability to navigate future challenges. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it shows that managers understand their team’s strengths and know when to draw on them.
As leaders, being able to make the transition from team contributors to key drivers in the development of talent within the company is crucial for success, thought it can prove challenging at times. Avoiding these and other common leadership mistakes are important to the overall value of the leader, their team and their organization.