5 Worst Mistakes Leaders Make
As I’ve worked with many dozens of groups over the years I’ve seen certain mistakes over and over again – running their group – and their potential success into a ditch. Here are the top five mistakes I’ve seen that block groups from achieving their true potential so you can be sure to avoid them.
1. Taking high-end cooperation for granted. It’s natural to assume others see things the way we do, especially when we’re dealing with professional adults. We figure everyone should know how to “behave” and get along. But of course it’s not that simple. Differences in backgrounds and personalities mean different assumptions and expectations. Those need to be worked through in order to get the power of your group.
2. Ignoring struggles, hoping they’ll go away. Believe me, they only get worse. Unresolved conflict turns into more assumptions (“Here she goes again!”) and resentment (“I can’t stand it when she does that. Doesn’t she know how obnoxious she is?!”) Loss of trust blocks further communication and cooperation. Then as people avoid each other or retreat behind email, the possibility of your group steadily fades.
3. Letting good people leave because the environment is toxic. I am still surprised by how willing people are to let the success of their mission fall by the wayside because they are afraid to deal with what’s causing strife in their group. Talented people always have options and won’t tolerate mediocrity or frustration for long. Not learning how to resolve problems and how to be more collaborative means that you will lose your most creative people.
4. Thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Many leaders feel pressure to have all the answers. Rising to a leadership position means people depend on you. After all, isn’t it your skills and experience that got you to a leadership role? But no one knows everything or has all the answers. Being a life-long learner exhibits strength, courage and leadership! You are modeling openness to new ideas and commitment to creating greater success.
5. Not dedicating time to attend to the group relationships. Your group is a network of relationships that need tending like a garden. You need to weed out things that aren’t working – old ways that limit your results; and you need to feed and water what you want to keep or it will die. This is why I constantly talk about the need for structure to support the relationships you depend on for your results. With good habits – developing your people and collaboration becomes part of how you do what you do.
If any of these are happening in your group, take action now to change the situation and stop wasting the talents in your group. It won’t get better on its own. But with some attention, you can be surprised by how extraordinary your group can be.