What creates great leadership is something that is fluid. It changes with how our society evolves. While there are some characteristics that are timeless, such as kindness and charisma, there are many other new ways of being that emerge all of the time. Which is why it's easy to make mistakes. Knowing what kind of impact you're having takes active listening and getting regular feedback. Start with making sure you're not making these easy mistakes:

1. Micro-managing: While it's easy to say you're not a micro-manager, it's harder to actively not be one. This bad habit is all about control and lack of trust. In essence, you don't trust those around you to do a great job--so you're doing it for them. This not only removes any opportunity for your people to thrive, it also means you're not having a larger impact--because you're doing the work for your team. It's a bad strategy from so many angles. Just don't do it.

2. Not being inclusive in your thinking: This is a new mistake that is growing. With the importance of teams being more diverse and the need for inclusive behavior--it must start with the leaders. Your non-verbal cues are obvious. If you're not thinking inclusively (i.e., being open-minded in the face of differences) or you're not able to make diverse people feel safe being different, you need to start being more conscious of your thoughts and re-wiring them. This mistake is one that has to be fixed fast.

3. Failing to give your people autonomy: Without autonomy, your people can't create a workday that works with their biorhythms, and their performance will suffer. Some people are morning people, some are night people, and others need to work in silence. If your people don't have the freedom to work in a way that is right for them, they'll suffer and probably leave.

4. Not modeling self-awareness: Without self-awareness, you aren't aware of the impact you're having. Self-awareness is key for being alert to your blind spots, knowing what parts of yourself need development, etc. It's also important to model this for your team, so that they get to know themselves as well. Lack of self-awareness contributes to lack of confidence, low motivation (because you don't know what truly motivates you), and feeling overwhelmed. Knowing yourself is the starting point for true success.

5. Coming up with all the ideas: The leader of the past was always in charge. Leaders of today need to inspire great thinking from their people. Why? Because the market is way too competitive, and more ideas are needed today than ever. Which means that leaders need everyone to be at the top of their thinking game. If you're coming up with all the ideas, you're in essence not utilizing one of the best assets you have from your people--their perspective and thinking. Stop this now.

Published on: Jun 4, 2018