It’s sometimes hard for leaders to break out of old routines and embrace new ways to adjust their leadership lens. Often, they expend most of their energy handling daily crises without even noticing that they have been working in the same patterns for way too many years. After all, they see some accomplishments and hate to “rock the boat” and end up somewhere unknown or uncomfortable. One leader I work with thought the flow of their team was going just fine until a red flag was thrown down in front of them. In shock and feeling disbelief, they couldn’t understand how the work incident had occurred right around them.
“What just happened?” they wondered in surprise.
“Where have I been that this unraveled right in front of me, and I didn’t notice?”
Rather than beat themselves up, strong leaders know that when they are caught off guard it is always best to take stock and take a look at their part of the mess.
Here are five leadership missteps to ditch:
1. Keeping Their Eyes Closed
When was the last time you decided to see the truth of what was going on with your team and workplace colleagues? The projects are getting finished and meeting deadlines with good results. Team members are showing up, although there seems to be undercurrents of disagreement. Maybe you’re thinking that it really isn’t necessary to delve into what others are doing as long as the outside world is somewhat pleased.
2. Fear of Conflict
All the leaders out there who want to kick out conflict from their work or personal lives, think again. Not all conflict is bad. In fact, great things come out of conflict if only leaders would embrace it, rather than fear it. Some of the benefits include more impactful assignment outcomes and more meaningful connections with colleagues. The keys to successful conflict resolution are:
- Staying calm and respectful.
- Sticking to the facts, rather than attacking the people.
- Remaining open-minded to different perspectives.
3. Not Getting Help
Influential leaders have a deep understanding when they need to reach out for guidance. No leader is an island, and no leader stands alone. Creating a council of trusted advisors is paramount for a leader to navigate a long and successful career. It is a big misstep not to realize that learning important leadership skills is part of each leader’s journey. Reaching out to mentors, coaches and colleagues is a sign of strength.
4. Forgetting To Speak Up
Not getting blindsided involves leaders speaking out for what is right and important. Keeping their thoughts and ideas to themselves serves no purpose and often just complicates difficult workplace situations. Speaking up is a way for leaders to show bravery and confidence. Sharing effective communication means:
- Be clear in your messages by choosing words carefully.
- Use body language that is consistent with your message. Remember if you roll your eyes no one will even listen to the words.
- Be truthful about what you are sharing. No one wants to be gaslighted.
- Listen actively to what others are sharing with you.
5. Not Forming Meaningful Relationships
At the heart of a leader’s work world are the relationships they forge. The people they work with, either in-person or remotely, can be their biggest fans. Cultivate these relationships with authenticity and deep care. Get to know all sides of the people you connect with. When leaders take an interest in their team members, their team members feel seen.
What other leadership missteps have you ditched?