Recently, I was reflecting on years and years of leadership experience with a variety of different teams I had the privilege to serve with, and I realized that over and over again, I made some of the same mistakes! Maybe I’m just a slow learner, but you would think that I would have seen the pattern and made the adjustment, yet here I am, and I continue to make some of the same mistakes.
One of the things that took me a long time to figure out was the fact that as “THE” leader, I didn’t have to be the one in front all of the time or in charge all of time.
As a young leader, my pride kept me in front of everyone else, but as I transitioned over the years, I really did learn that I actually got more joy from watching some of the leaders I was investing in succeed and have opportunities to lead instead of me doing it all of the time.
I learned this lesson early on when I was traveling to a limited access country to do some training. I took 2 of our staff with me, and I had prepared to do the training for a weekend conference with about 120 national leaders. At the airport, I was informed that I did not get the permission I applied for to publicly speak and train, so I was forbidden from leading the training. For about 2 minutes, I panicked, then I handed my notes to my 2 colleagues, and I watched them do an incredible job over the weekend as I was forced to the sidelines. In fact, if I was honest, they did a much better job then I could have done, and I was reminded again, “let them lead!”.
Why did I keep forgetting that simple lesson, and why did I keep making the same mistake over and over again, thinking that I was the one that needed to lead!
In an article from Inc. Magazine (Inc.com), The Leadership Guy writes an article talking about 9 “deadly” mistakes leaders make.
Here’s his list:
#1) Failing to Delegate – “The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate.”
#2) Not Setting Goals – “…Goals give employees direction and purpose…”
#3) Looking For Quick Fixes – “… In our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire to be fought, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop.”
#4) Communicating Poorly – Or Not At All – Leadership is communication!
#5) Failing To Learn – “What separates good employees from not-so-good employees is their ability to learn from mistakes.”
#6) Resisting Change – “If you think you can keep things from changing in your business, you are mistaken.”
#7) Not Making Time For Employees – “Above all, leadership is a people job.”
#8) Missing Chances To Make Work Fun – “…The best leaders make their organizations fun places to be.”
#9) Failing To Praise And Reward – “When you take the time to recognize employees’ achievements, the result is improved morale, performance, and loyalty.”
This list is a great place to start. Don’t make these common mistakes over and over again. Figure out how to lead through them and avoid them.
You might need some help to learn to lead through these things, but it will radically change how you lead and how others follow.
Don’t let PRIDE keep you from admitting your mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and making the changes needed to ensure success.
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