Leading a team can be a challenge, especially if you’re a new leader without developed leadership skills, as in that case, you’re pretty much doomed to make some rookie mistakes. Leadership is definitely something that can be trained and there are many things you can do in order to make yourself a better leader. In this article, we’ll cover some of the common leadership pitfalls that are to be avoided at all costs.
Trying to micromanage everything
A good team lead, regardless of his ‘position’ or ‘title, needs to let the team members use their skills to perform their tasks the best way they can. A good leader judges by results, and not by actions that lead to those results. Different people might have different methods and processes to perform certain duties, and it is a big mistake to insist on your way with every single assignment. If you have the right set of employees, with right skills, give them freedom to do their jobs to the best of their knowledge. This does not exclude some guidance and assistance from the manager, by no means.
Trying to be a buddy with everyone
If you’re the kind of leader or manager that was promoted from within the team to the management position, then fitting into the role of a supervisor of ex colleagues can be quite challenging. On the other hand, trying to be a buddy with everyone, when you’re supposed to make decisions and instruct your staff members with directions on what needs to be done is a mistake. Face it: you’re now their boss or supervisor and not their buddy.
Trying to act like you’re above everyone
Conversely, there are leaders who make a common mistake and try to present themselves as being above everyone in the team. They may have a bigger office and a slightly more comfortable chair than others, but they’re still supposed to pitch in with ideas and work that will lead the company on the path of success. Any kind of arrogance will not be received well among staff members and may affect the overall workplace atmosphere. No matter how important your role in the company is, try to rein in your ego when talking to your employees.
Thinking you need to know everything
As a leader, you’re not expected to know everything. One might say, the more you know, the better for the overall supervision process. And it can be true because you can identify mistakes or possible issues in certain areas more easily. However, you certainly do not need to know the ins and outs of the whole business. That’s why you have team members, possessing different skills, who will contribute to the overall success. Consulting your staff members regarding areas you identify as their strengths can benefit the team. Another thing to stay away from is pretending that you DO know all. No one does, so you should avoid trying to present yourself as a “know-it-all” person.
Thinking that fear is the best motivator
Trying to instill fear within your team and thinking it will help you manage your team more efficiently is a huge mistake. Nourishing a positive work environment is proven to lead to better employee performance and productivity. Not to mention that a healthy work environment boosts employee morale and makes your key people engaged and loyal. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clearly define steps for certain actions, or for a lack of actions.
Thinking that you’re not being watched
Even though you’ve closed the door of your office, rest assured that you’re still being “watched”. Team members always look up to their leader. Every step and every word of a leader is being carefully monitored. This is why a good leader needs to radiate with confidence and self-steam. An exemplary leader also needs to practice work ethics in terms of not just being the first person to come to work and the last person to leave, but also in terms of getting down in the trenches and working alongside with employees when it’s a go time. Hiding in the office from the sights of employees won’t go unnoticed.
Failing to take charge when it’s time to take charge
You may have the best possible team on hand, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t lead your team. Taking charge when it’s time to do so is a must for a good team lead. Resolving internal conflicts among employees, negotiating specific deals with clients or simply representing your company on an important event are just some of the situations in which a good leader should take charge. If you’re an introvert, you may struggle with this part of the whole “deal”, but being a “face” of your company is an important step when trying to become a true leader.