By Abhi Golhar, nationally syndicated radio host.
Great leadership does not come easily. You have to work at the craft of being a leader for many years before you become good at it. A lot of this process is trial and error, as you see what works and what does not. When you drop the ball in this important role, your entire business will be hurt. It's not a good feeling.
This list will explain five common mistakes that leaders make in their organizations. If you commit all of them to your memory, you will be able to avoid setting your business back for no good reason.
It's easy to ask other people to perform at a high level. On the other hand, you tend to be forgiving of the small mistakes that you make. You should be careful to never expect your employees or colleagues to deliver at a higher level than you are.
Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to work with top performers, you'll need to be an amazing leader. For most people, finding a healthy balance between good performance and some margin of error will be ideal.
Avoiding Difficult Conversations
One of the most important parts of your job as a leader is to have difficult conversations. You need to be ready to tell people the harsh truth in situations where it can't be avoided. For example, if a member of your staff is causing problems for everybody else, it's up to you to address the situation.
You may need to fire people, or you may just need to have difficult performance review conversations where you ask them to shape up. Either way, be prepared to say what needs to be said.
Talking Too Much, Listening Too Little
When you are the boss, you can talk as much as you want. Some people find this fact intoxicating. You should be careful with how much you speak. It's a lot more effective to focus on listening than to try and talk as much as you can.
People in your organization will share useful information with you when you create space to listen. Many important decisions at large companies started with ideas from seemingly random employees.
Not Seeing the Big Picture
Leaders need to have a long view of the world. If changes in the marketplace locally or globally are going to disrupt your business, you'd better see it well in advance. You can also capture tremendous upside if you can plan for opportunities two or three years in advance.
Your employees are likely to focus more on their short-term tasks. That leaves it to you to think big.
Contrary to the previous point, you'll need to be flexible in the face of change. Even the best plans can become useless when an unexpected new piece of information comes to light. If your newest product or service performs badly, you may need to change or eliminate it. These kinds of surprises can disrupt your whole business.
It's up to you to find solutions to the random problems that arise. Be as flexible as you can be while still using plans and routines when they are useful.
Don't Fear Mistakes
Now that you have read through the list, you know the five common leadership mistakes to avoid. You will be much more likely to perform well when you don't do any of those things.
Unfortunately, this is not a comprehensive list. There is no way to explain every single mistake you can make as a leader, and even if it could be done, it wouldn't help. In the end, you will have to learn some things the hard way.
You can allow small mistakes to happen if you are trying your best. By avoiding the five mistakes from this list, you'll have most of your problems covered.
Abhi Golhar, nationally syndicated radio host & entrepreneurial steam roller. Helping business owners advance & finish well.