Seven Scary Leadership Missteps

Halloween is almost here and for leaders it is a perfect time to scare up some actions that can set back our leadership strategy. OK maybe not totally derail us but perhaps create some unnecessary stress or discomfort. Why bother bringing these missteps into our leadership orbit? As a leadership advocate, I genuinely believe leaders are always able to reverse their course of direction if they are committed to making a few changes. Coaching and training leaders for many years now, I honestly have witnessed extraordinary realignments. Halloween is a perfect time to face our leadership missteps straight on. Bring on the leadership ghosts and masks of Halloween’s past. We are about to expose them all and send them on their way.

Seven Scary Leadership Missteps:

1. We Want To Maintain The Status Quo Even If It Isn’t Working

Number one misstep is having a blind spot when it comes to seeing how well our leadership is going. We may think we are accomplishing our tasks fairly well but the truth is that we have missed deadlines and alienated colleagues. One leader I worked with didn’t realize how negative he sounded. He kept performing his job and interactions with clients in the same way and was actually frustrating everyone he worked with.

2. We Can’t Hear Feedback

Scary as it may seem, leaders sometimes have a difficult time understanding the feedback that is shared. We can only listen to feedback honestly if we:
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Want to keep evolving our leadership story.
  • Are committed to making changes.
  • Stop taking everything so personally.

3. We Think Our Mixed Messages Are Just Fine

Garbled communication is more common than we think. Many leaders believe they are sharing clear thoughts but actually they may be using words and non-verbal cues that don’t line up. They also may have challenges in using the best language for their internal or external customer audience. To share clear messages a leader's words must align with their body language and facial expressions.

4. We Don’t Need Specific Goals

Our goals lead the way and always point us down the right road we need to take. Without goals leaders can’t stay focused or know when they have truly accomplished what they set out to do. To design impactful goals we must make them:
  • SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
  • Consistent with our organizational and team vision.
  • Visible for us to see daily.
  • An Important guide to every action and decision.

5. We Think Time Prioritizing Is A Waste

If a leader doesn’t know what is most important to work on they will most likely derail their entire workload. I have seen this first hand in coaching overwhelmed leaders. Taking time to list out our projects and tasks and then deciding what are the priorities will save a leader undue stress. Being clear on what to tackle first and what doesn’t need to be on the list at all sets us up for clarity and success.

6. It’s Faster For Us To Perform The Task Than Ask Others

If developing future leaders is the most important job for a leader then there can be no confusion on the significance of delegating. If done well, a delegation is the way we help our team members grow. When leaders delegate they need to be:
  • Clear on the task.
  • Give the team member responsibility and ownership.
  • Open to offering all necessary resources and training.
  • Approachable in establishing a feedback mechanism.

7. Developing Relationships Isn’t Essential

Leaders depend on their colleagues and bosses to be their best. Without our team we often can’t produce our strongest deliverables. Getting to know the people in our workplace will not only help us be stronger performers but also add more meaningful relationships. Lead by asking someone to coffee or lunch. Celebrate birthdays. Build camaraderie. Related: 6 Reasons Why Knowing Your Work Style Matters