Being a leader would be so much easier, if there was somebody leading and showing the pitfalls you must avoid.
Leadership can be quite a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you have the opportunity to influence the action of a number of people. On the other hand, you’re also responsible for providing them the self-satisfaction that will convince them to carry on with their task.
Between the two objectives, leaders in most fields forget their own example-setting role. They presume they are a cut above the rest. And as expected, they fall into time-honoured traps. Here are some of the more common mistakes leaders make:
Burden your employees with your personal ambitions
You might have delusions of world domination, but as a leader, it is unfair for you to expect everyone in your team to share your ambitions. Most people just want to put in enough effort to justify their salaries and no more. To pressure them to consider executive objectives as their own and work a little extra to achieve it is highly selfish.
Criticising your team publicly
Whatever you may feel about their performance, a leader’s job is to maintain his team’s integrity above all. To be able to inspire trust, a leader must be seen defending his team’s cause in all public forums. The moment a leader reneges on this basic decency, the trust and loyalty starts to disintegrate. And a team can’t stay a team without loyalty and trust.
Making promises you can’t keep
One of the biggest markers of a leader’s credibility is his ability to deliver on promises made to his subordinates. If a leader fails to deliver on a promise, which seemed far-fetched to begin with, the odds that his team will ever be able to trust him again are fairly slim. In such a scenario, the leader loses the single biggest leverage they have over their employees; ensuring fair rewards.
Divide the credit, accept the blame
The team needs to know the leader is looking out for each of them. How considerate a leader is about his team’s concerns is apparent from how they choose to portion out credit for successes and how much responsibility they accept for the blunders. Leaders who are generous while assigning credit, will obviously get more solid backing when things go awry.
These are just a selection of mistakes leaders commit. There are many more ways to undermine the employees’ confidence and trust. After all, no one said leading was an easy job.