Before you began leading, you were led by someone. That someone made some mistakes. You know it. I know it.
And if you look at your leadership, you know you’ve made some mistakes along the way as well.
Mistakes are a fact of life. We all make mistakes and we all learn to move on from those mistakes.
However, if we can be warned of common mistakes we might make in advance, it’s wise to look over them and prepare yourself in case these mistakes pop up in your life or leadership.
1. Leaders make the mistake of failing to prepare: Any good leader knows that leadership takes preparation. When we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail.
I’ve personally failed in preparing for a presentation. It wasn’t pretty and filled with lots of errors. The message wasn’t conveyed and I looked like a fool.
Avoid the mistake of failing to prepare. Realize it’s your responsibility to prepare for the situations you’ll face.
2. Leaders make the mistake of being over-confident: As you rise through the ranks of leadership, you begin to think rather highly of yourself. You see all you’ve done right and think you can take on the world.
Only you can’t. Your over-confidence reeks havoc and your influence as a leader begins to slip.
Don’t make the mistake of being over-confident. There are things you’re good at and then things you cannot do.
3. Leaders make the mistake of failing to heed wise counsel: No mane gets to where he is at by himself. Any great leader has gotten there through the help and wise counsel of others.
Check yourself before you make the leadership mistake of failing to heed wise counsel.
4. Leaders make the mistake of changing for change’s sake: The world is ever-changing and so we think our strategies must change along with the times. The problem is that there are timeless truths and strategies that don’t need to be changed.
Don’t become a victim of the mentality of change for change’s sake. Not everything needs to be broken and reinvented.
5. Leaders make the mistake of ignoring their families: This one may touch close to home as it’s probably the biggest mistake a leader can make. That’s the leadership mistake of ignoring your family.
Your team is important. Your business is important. Your network is important. But your family trumps all of that.
Never, ever make the mistake of ignoring your family due to business concerns.
6. Leaders make the mistake of perfection over progress: Perfection seems like it should be the end goal. We should reach perfection on a project and then release it.
My friends, Jeremy and Jason, over at Internet Business Mastery turns this philosophy upside down and touts the phrase progress over perfection. And I buy it.
If you hold out for perfection, you’ll never make progress. Go for production rather than perfection. You can then tweak it afterward.
7. Leaders make the mistake of thinking less of the people beneath him: There’s a good chance you started in a position other than leadership. You may have been a floor worker or a desk jockey or another seemingly trivial position.
As you know, I believe you don’t need a title to be a leader. You can lead from where you’re at.
However, there are leaders who make the mistake of believing their team members don’t have anything to offer. After all, they’re the boss and the ones they’re leading are there to serve him.
You know it’s not true. I know it’s not true. Yet there are so many leaders that make the mistake of believing this.
Be a leader who respects and treats everyone with respect and dignity. You have a position of power, use it to better those around you.
8. Leaders make the mistake of failing to change: Yeah, yeah… I know I mentioned leaders make the mistake of changing for change’s sake. That doesn’t mean leaders shouldn’t change when change is required.
Notice when a change needs to happen and then make it happen. Don’t make the mistake of holding out until it’s too late to make a change.
9. Leaders make the mistake of not remembering their prior successes: Moving day today, it’s easy to forget what’s come before us. We’ve experienced crazy success and we need to remember those days.
When you forget what you’ve done in the past, it’s easy for doubt and fear to creep in. You forget that you’ve been able to complete massive projects, lead teams to new heights, and be successful.
Don’t make the mistake of pushing past successes away. Remember them and use your past success to remind you you’ll succeed in the future.
10. Leaders make the mistake of over-commitment: It’s so easy to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. You feel it’s your responsibility to say yes.
I’ve got to disagree and say it’s a mistake to over-commit and never say no.
By always saying yes to everything, you’re actually quietly saying NO to other tasks you can’t complete or get to.
Don’t continue to make the mistake of over-committing. Learn to say no once in a while.
Thankfully, most of these common leadership mistakes aren’t fatal. You won’t become a bad leader if you make any of these mistakes once or twice.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes.
The key is to learn and grow from our mistakes. To see where we went wrong and move forward.
Don’t let the common leadership mistakes stop you from being the leader you were meant to be.