As a leader you are going to make mistakes. It’s one of those universal truths. It is impossible to get things right every time, especially when you are the one making the decisions. What decides your level of success as a manager is whether you learn from them or not. You can choose to blame someone or something else, or you can take accountability, hold your hands up admit it, and adjust your approach accordingly. So, what are some of the most common mistakes even the most experienced managers can make?
Delegating to your favourites
It’s natural that you will end up favouring some team members over others, its human nature. You may like the same sports team, be lunch buddies or they may just be a great performer. Whatever the reason you may favour one person in a team over another, it does not mean they are best suited to perform all tasks. That software developer may not be the best person to write a sales presentation when you have 3 other people in the team that have done sales before.
By overly relying on your favourites, you end up overworking your preferred staff, which can hurt their performance. This is going to upset team members who know they can perform the task better than the person you gave it to. Which will lead to poorer performance and increased employee attrition. You should always assign tasks based on who will be able to deliver the best results due to their capability, not based on who you like the most.
Being too busy to be a leader
Another common mistake is that you can get so busy with day to day tasks and ensuring they are completed that you forget to be the leader. A key part of being a leader is training, developing and rewarding your team. If you are just giving instructions and making sure tasks are completed, then you are not leading. A leader should know that it is their responsibility to make their team stronger, to coach and train them to be better than they were before. Likewise, one of the best parts of being a leader is rewarding team members for a job well done. If a team member works hard and learns a new skill, or delivers a great project reward them. Failure to do this leads to employees either leaving in search of new opportunities to develop themselves, or worse leaving because they feel their contribution is unappreciated.
Do your team know what is expected of them? Do they know how their work contributes to the overall success of the company? Countless HR research studies have shown that the most common answer to both questions is no. Most team members do something because their boss told them to do it. That’s it. There is no link to any higher purpose. A leader should be inspiring and motivating their team to deliver a vision. In order to do that, you need to explain the vision and get people to want to help make it a reality. Everything they do should be aligned to a purpose. But many leaders ask someone to do something, but never explain why its important.