Avoid these pitfalls if you want to shine as a leader.
No matter how good your intentions and no matter how much breadth of experience you possess as an entrepreneur, company owner, executive, or manager, if you’re the boss, then you’re going to make mistakes. It’s a normal part of life--both on and off the job.
There are two basic kinds of mistakes.
However, there are two different kinds of mistakes. Some mistakes are one-time-only events; you quickly recognize the mistake, learn from it, and never make it again. For example, say you have Company X build your new website, and they fail to deliver after months of half-promises, missed deadlines, and wasted money. You pull the plug and promise never to deal with the company ever again. Because you work quickly to correct the mistake, you’re actually being a good leader.
The other kind of mistake is far more dangerous to the health of your company. It’s when you don’t recognize the mistake. such chronic mistakes become ingrained into your own personal management style, and they cause problems for your employees, your company, and ultimately for your customers and your bottom line. They also make you a "bad" boss--never a good thing. According to research into bad bosses (yes--there are bad-boss researchers!), bad bosses cost the U.S. economy $360 billion a year in lost productivity, and 65 percent of employees say they would take a new boss over a pay raise.
Watch out for these 7 common bad-boss mistakes.
Here's a list of some of the most common chronic mistakes that bosses make. Take a close look at each item and think about your own behavior--and of the behavior of your coworkers and employees. Is anyone making the same mistake over and over? Are you?
1: Failing to communicate. Information is the power that enables your employees to do their jobs quickly and correctly. The more complete and accurate the information that employees get from you, and the more quickly they get it, the better they'll perform and the better they'll be at serving your customers.
2: Going for the quick fix over the lasting solution. Quick fixes are satisfying, but they don't last. Pause and take the time to get to the root of the problem and then develop lasting strategies that solve it. Doing anything less isn’t really solving the problem--it’s just kicking the can down the road.
3: Failing to delegate. No manager can do everything him- or herself, and you shouldn’t try. Doing everything by yourself is not the most effective use of your time and talent, and it’s a waste of your employees’ potential. By delegating work to employees, you multiply the amount of work you can do many times over and you make your business much more effective.
4: Not setting goals with employees. Don’t leave your employees in the dark. It’s up to you as a boss to develop realistic, attainable goals with your employees that guide them in their efforts to achieve your organization’s vision.
5. Resisting change instead of leading change. Resisting change a tremendous waste of time and energy in these days of an ever-shifting global business environment. And resisting change gives your competitors the advantage. Learn to anticipate and lead change in your industry, and leverage it to your advantage.
6. Not recognizing employees' achievements.You can do many things to recognize your employees that take little time to accomplish, are easy to implement, and cost little or no money--a quick personal or written thanks, for example, will make someone's day.
7: Taking it all too seriously. Make sure that your work environment is a place that your employees want to come to every morning. Maintain a sense of humor and foster a workplace that's pleasant, and even fun, for everyone.
Do you recognize any of these mistakes in your own management style? Commit to correct them and you'll become a more effective boss. Just make sure you follow through on your commitment.
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PETER ECONOMY is the best-selling author of Managing For Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 60 other books. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years. @bizzwriter