Common Leadership Mistakes

Two of the most common leadership mistakes made are on opposite ends of the leadership spectrum. What are they and which is easier to overcome? Read on.


Common Leadership Mistakes

While leaders can make mistakes on many different fronts, I think that two of the most common leadership mistakes rest on opposite ends of the leadership spectrum.

First, leaders often make the mistake of trying to move too quickly — before they are able to bring other followers along with them. They choose to act quickly — but irresponsibly, even rashly — before they have enough information to make a wise decision.

A second, serious and common leadership mistake made  — frankly, one I suffered from early in my career — is not being able or willing to act when it becomes necessary to do so. Often as leaders, we are afraid that we’ll create waves, or create more problems, or people will get angry and frustrated with us. So we fail, or refuse, to act.

If I could do one thing differently, go back 30-plus years in the early stages of my leadership and management career, I would change this particular point. Once I knew what needed to be done, I would act more quickly and purposefully instead of stalling, procrastinating, or putting off the inevitable. Here’s why: one sure thing I’ve learned as a leader — bad news does not get better with time.

One sure thing I’ve learned as a leader — bad news does not get better with time.

Situations that are difficult to accept, or a problem that is not going to be well-received, is not going to be any better next week than it is today. It’s not going to be better next month than it is this month. The reality is this: a leader’s failure to act does not solve anything, rather it usually creates another set of problems to be addressed. The problems we try to avoid grow, they fester, and they become even bigger issues in the long run.

Wisdom and good judgment can prevent a leader from acting too quickly. On the other hand, accountability requires a leader to take timely action.

In your experience, which is easier to overcome: acting too quickly or failing to act?

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Additional Resources

Phillip Van Hooser
Author: Phillip Van Hooser
Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE is committed to helping organizations transform their business outcomes by building engaged employee relationships. He is an award-winning keynote speaker and author on leadership, service and communication. His popular book, “Willie's Way: 6 Secrets for Wooing, Wowing and Winning Customers and Their Loyalty” recently hit #1 in Customer Relations on the Kindle store. Connect with Phil on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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