Leadership Fails – Avoid These 8 Mistakes


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Leadership fails, every great leader will have some during their time on top. Being the leader of the pack is not easy, it is stressful at times but can be rewarding if done right. A great leader is critical to a teams’ success; the way they choose to lead will have a huge impact on the entire organization. A strong leader can lead good employees to greatness but a bad leader can bring extraordinary employees down to sub-par.  I have personally worked for many horrible bosses but have also worked for a few amazing ones. I’ve been a leader, both in my own business and working for others, and have always avoided these leadership fails because after seeing them from the side of an employee, I learned how detrimental they can be to the team.



Leadership Fails – Avoid These 8 Mistakes


My Way Or The Highway.

As a boss, there is a delicate balance between staying in command and allowing your employees to express their own creative ability. Although your employees may not always have the right solution, many times they will. When you are in charge you need to learn to guide your employees to discover the right decisions but let them make these decisions on their own. A leader who sets a tone of my way or the highway will create a toxic environment for employees. If employees stick around with this kind of leader they won’t be satisfied or happy in the long run.




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 Many first time bosses will make this mistake, part of being a boss is to learn to let go of the responsibilities of your employees.
This doesn’t mean you don’t hold your employees accountable, it means to judge their results, not their actions. There are many ways a beaver can build a dam, there is no correct way to build it. If the damn washes downstream the beaver has failed, if the dam remains in tact and provides a shelter for the beaver and it’s family the beaver is successful, regardless of how they went about building it. A good manager understands this and wants their employees to be productive on their own. They will focus on the results the employee produces, not how they go about producing them. Micro-managers do just the opposite, they focus on what the employee is doing daily, always tracking their activity. Micro-managers will keep all their employees on speed dial and expect their calls be answered every time they call.  


Using Fear To Motivate

I wrote an entire article on the ways people are motivated, which describes all the ways people get motivated, however there is one that will not work when it comes to being the boss. Fear motivation is often used by managers but if they realized the damage this does to their team, they would think twice before using fear to motivate in the future. I once had a boss call me and start off the conversation with, “If you want to work here in the future…” , that was the day I decided I didn’t want to work for him anymore; he may never realize how destructive his choice of words were. Only use fear motivation as a last resort.  There of course is a time and a place when using fear to motivate your employees is necessary but know that the motivation will not last long, and if used too often it will not work to begin with.


Demanding Respect

Excellent leaders will be respected by everyone because they are great, they will not demand the respect of others just because they are the boss. Leaders who demand respect will often feel they got what they wished for, as a smart employee would never openly disrespect their boss directly to their face. However, it is what happens when the boss walks away that is important. A boss who commits this leadership fail, will often be talked about poorly by employees when they are not around, and the employees will never truly respect them. If you are in a management role and demand the respect of others, your employees will pick up on this ego and it will create a negative environment that you may not be aware of until it’s too late.


Acting Like You Care When You Don’t

Of course it’s a good idea to get to know your employees’ personal life, but if the only time you show that you care about their life outside of work is Monday morning when you ask them, “How was your weekend?” it’s time to step your game up. Great leaders will know about their employees personal life, they will remember the names of employees family members and get to know them too. Happy employees who like their boss will allow them into their life, often inviting their family to stop by and interact with their fearless leader. Managers who fail in this department will only receive the phony surface details, and their employees will be uncomfortable sharing personal details about their life with them.


Creating Chaos

Part of your responsibility as a leader is to delegate responsibilities to others, however when you are passing off a task, make sure you provide adequate details, the task objective and allow sufficient time to complete the task. Leadership fails in this category will leave your employees frustrated. By not providing enough detail or time to complete a task, your employees are set up to fall short in accomplishing their objective. I once had a boss that was known for dropping a job on someones desk with little or no time left before it was due. Everyone dreaded when he walked into their office, don’t be that guy. If you hand off responsibilities in the right way, your employees will be glad to help, they will want to knock the job out of the park and will come back to you proud when they have completed the task.


Passing The Buck

Everyone is human, we all screw up at one time or another, however as a manager, you need to accept when your employees downfall is because of your doing. The best of leaders will have their employees back, they will not only take the heat when they have created a problem but will also help redirect conflict which the employee may have mistakenly created on their own. There will be times where an employee makes a deliberate mistake and appropriate corrective action is required but in most cases it’s just a simple mistake, one which could have been made by anyone.


Acting Like You Are Above Your Employees

Everyone knows that you are in charge and you have important things to do, however if are unwilling to get your hands dirty when the time comes, you will quickly lose the respect of those who work for you. In my most successful business venture, I learned that it was beneficial to never assign a task to one of my employees which I had not already done myself. This strategy worked to my advantage in a couple of ways: 1) I knew what it took to complete the task, so I could never be given a list of unreal excuses and 2) my employees knew that I once did what they were doing, so I was not too good for it or above them. Great bosses will take the time to talk to everyone within the company, and they will not hesitate to jump in and give a hand when duty calls.


Are you a manager who is currently making some of these leadership fails? It may be time to rethink your approach before you damage your team and your reputation. If you are wondering what the greatest leaders do see How Great Leaders Motivate Employees to be Champions

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