10 Mistakes Leaders Make

By Halelly Azulay

Leading well is tough work, and there are some behaviors good leaders avoid. Here are 10 mistakes some leaders make:

They don’t communicate properly. They hoard information (“information is power”), or they share it on a need-to-know-only basis. They only talk to people during official meetings. They ignore emotions and try to keep all their conversations business only. When talking with employees, they get right to business and don’t spend time to connect as humans.

They listen wrong. They ignore people altogether when they’re speaking to them, or they pretend to listen or listen in a distracted way. They have their doors closed a lot. They jump to conclusions about people’s intentions or meaning. And they allow interruptions during conversations with employees.

They don’t build trust. They don’t think about trust in a proactive, conscious way and treat trust as an afterthought at best. They don’t intentionally practice trust-building behaviors, nor do they actively avoid trust-hindering or trust-eroding ones. They don’t foster trust-building behaviors among and between team members.

They don’t manage performance actively. They spend most of their time and energy on poor performers. They don’t hold people accountable. They only discuss performance during milestone meetings (annual review, quarterly review, and the like), and don’t give timely performance feedback.

They don’t delegate well. They don’t delegate at all or delegate work in an unprincipled or non-strategic way that is not well-suited to people’s current or desired skillset. They delegate work that is too narrow or doesn’t allow the satisfaction of seeing the full cycle and closure. They micromanage or macro-manage.

They don’t make it safe to make mistakes. They don’t tolerate failure and criticize or punish mistakes. Or, they try to save people from mistakes and don’t allow them to learn and experience consequences. They don’t provide a safety net for failure.

They don’t give (enough or appropriate) praise and recognition. They withhold praise or don’t give praise sincerely, or timely, or specifically, and don’t reward good performance or celebrate success. They assume what motivates their people and don’t ask or tailor their recognition and rewards to individual preferences or styles. They don’t promote their good people’s success and instead try to keep them a secret. They don’t share credit.

They don’t develop their people. They don’t discuss development goals beyond the once-a-year review. They don’t take time to teach new skills or share knowledge or look for non-training ways to develop their employees. They use the “throw people off the cliff” approach to development. And they don’t create opportunities for cross-training among teams.

They allow their meetings to suck. They have meetings that aren’t necessary and don’t have agendas or specified roles. Their meetings are too long, and they don’t invite the right people. They don’t ensure that meetings achieve their objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible.

They don’t manage themselves effectively. They come across as fake, inauthentic, or insincere; they never show their true selves. They try to pretend they’re perfect and don’t show vulnerability or admit mistakes. They don’t have high self-awareness. They use the “do as I say not as I do” method. They’re too busy or have their doors closed a lot.

Listeners of my podcast, The TalentGrow Show, can access a free guide that will give specific ways to overcome these mistakes. Check it out at talentgrow.com/podcast and download your copy too.

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