Being a leader is difficult. You have competing demands that come from different sectors. The leader is often the one responsible for making an operation run efficiently, drawing cooperative effort from employees with very different skills and personalities. This is especially difficult to do if your business grows from a one-person operation into a larger business. Here are some common leadership mistakes that you should try to avoid.
Disconnecting from Low-Level Employees
With all the tasks that fall onto the leader’s desk, it can be difficult to stay connected with other employees. Strong leaders periodically tour their offices just to keep their finger on the pulse of the organization. The physical act of walking through the workspace helps people see that you are paying attention. It also has the practical benefit of discouraging distraction and wasted time. While some people are self-starters, others may function better with the knowledge that they are being seen.
Keeping Your Vision a Secret
People respect a strong leader, especially if that leader has a vision for the organization. However, it is all too easy to keep that vision to yourself. You may have an action plan or some other process that you’ve developed. It’s helpful for your employees to know that there is a larger reason behind the various memos you issue or projects you assign. In addition, if you share the plan, you may also get input from employees who can look at it from a different perspective. This will not only expand your vision but also give others a sense of ownership.
Ignoring Small Problems
Problems in the workplace are best addressed early. It may seem like a problem is too small to deal with right now. Unfortunately, small problems have a habit of growing into bigger ones. Address small conflicts or inefficiencies before they take up too much time. This will help create a productive environment.
Forgetting to Delegate
Leaders often forget that one of the greatest assets they have is the people they work with. You may have gotten into a leadership position because of your ability to handle tasks on your own, but now is the time to delegate. You are surrounded by people who have different skills and gifts. Connect with your staff. Learn their abilities. Let them use their strengths for the good of the business.
While making mistakes along the way is inevitable, you can learn from them and grow as a leader. It is your job to shape the vision of your company, set goals and help employees reach them. A skilled leader who is always seeking to improve will keep their business moving forward.
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