Mistakes?! Everybody makes them but not everyone knows how to handle them. Mistakes are most often seen in a negative light but it shows you what you are made of, that you need to redirect your career, that you need to change procedures and your character.
Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and have a knack for:
- Discovering our authentic selves.
- Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
- Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
- Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
- Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves.
- Teaching us how to explore and experiment in life.
- Teaching us how to learn and change.
- Humbling us.
- Showing us who is our support system.
- Building our problem solving skills.
- Making us more resourceful.
- Displaying the consequences of our mistakes.
- Removing us from our comfort zones.
Wondering how to identify mistakes and how to correct them?
Mistakes don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when they come to light rather than going unnoticed. When mistakes are made, it makes sense for us to focus on what we have done right, on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. It is then detrimental to:
- Identify the cues of mistake making, of failure.
- Be self-aware.
- Take responsibility for the mistake that led to the problem.
- Encourage constructive criticism as much as feedback is given.
- Measure the consequences of the mistakes.
- Make immediate analysis and changes to fix the mistakes.
- Be smart and learn from the mistakes made. Be wise and learn from the mistakes of others.
- Create an environment that is safe to make mistakes and to recover from them.
There is a vast number of recurring mistakes and failures detected in corporate history.
MISTAKE #1: Fitting Into The Corporate Culture
The first mistake that leaders make is failing to see that they don’t fit in, that their values and morals don’t match the company’s culture.
To identify whether or not you will fit in and be an asset to your company:
- Check out the group that you have to work with.
- Pose the right questions about the company during the hiring process. You can even hang out in the company’s lobby or pip in the office to get a feel of the company.
Whether or not you wish to adapt to the culture is a personal choice. If you do:
- Observe other people who are successful within the organization and see if you can emulate their behavior.
- Learn to appreciate uniqueness and diversity.
- Learn to adapt to the situation at hand.
- Leave when there is too much discrepancy between your morals, values and the company’s culture.
MISTAKE #2: Focusing on the job and not on people
Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive. They don’t like to be interrupted, are their best when left alone, avoid conversations and small talks at all costs, are focused on tasks, are afraid of failing at their jobs.
Unfortunately, they fail at relationships. This can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your speech or your behavior.
Dealing with people has now become a sought after soft skill. To keep growing that skill:
- Relax and allow people to come to you.
- Control your verbal and non verbal cues.
- Recognize that people are part of life and that relationships can increase your success.
- Show that you care.
- Solve people’s problem.
- Take lunches and breaks away from your workplace in order to handle social interactions better.
- Give positive feedback, affirmations, encouragements especially to younger workers.
- Don’t play favorites with people.
MISTAKE #3: Sticking To Traditional Leadership Styles
Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, are no longer acceptable in society and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.
Some leaders, needing to feel superior and powerful, tend to withhold information to control their employees. Today, millennials expect validation, recognition, rewards, a more deconstructed workplace that is fun, relaxed, motivational yet productive and structured. They want to understand their role, the impact of their contributions at work, to be involved in the decision-making process, to learn continually and to own their work.
People are more comfortable in the democratic leadership style and are able to perform at their best.
- Allow your workers to give their input before you make a decision.
- Learn how to motivate and inspire your people.
- Be the solution to everybody’s problem.
- Empower others and help them to be successful.
- Don’t be arrogant, don’t bark orders or mistreat your coworkers.
- Listen to the needs of your coworkers.
MISTAKE #4: Shutting down dissenting voices, innovative and creative people
Pioneers and dissenting voices within the organization usually have a bad reputation. They are not welcomed in groups, go against the grain, are seen as not playing by the rules, are stifled, are the ones that end up being fired.
The thing is that pioneers are innovative, creative and can renew a company’s product and culture. They are natural catalysts, take risks and they need a room to breathe and to exercise their talents.
To include dissenting voices, innovative and creative people:
- Be more flexible with your policies and procedures.
- Learn to discern pioneers from troublemakers and contrarians. pioneers actually care about the organization and about their contributions to it.
- Allow pioneers to work on their own and own their results.
- Slowly increase their responsibility.
- Understand that everyone is not the same and deserve a different treatment.
MISTAKE #5: Controlling people and not delegating
Some leaders don’t know how to delegate, don’t want to delegate or just find it plain hard to do so. Indeed, it is a hard task because it requires that the leader:
- Has faith in the workers.
- believes that the work will be up to standards.
- is confident in their personal abilities and is not afraid of being upstaged.
- is comfortable depending on others.
Delegating is not easy. To learn how to delegate:
- Avoid micromanaging people but measure their advancement.
- Don’t withdraw a project or assignment that you have previously delegated.
- Include employees in the decision-making process.
- Demonstrate confidence in yourself and in the people you have chosen to delegate the tasks to.
- When delegating, select experts in their field, clarify their roles, give them the authority to do their jobs, allow them to fail and to grow.
- Create clear progress measurement tools and milestones.
MISTAKE #6: Not Seeing The Bigger Picture
Leaders fail when they are unable to see the bigger picture.
To stay fixated on the bigger picture:
- Write a personal mission statement and build a vision board.
- Get to know your company’s mission and vision statement.
- Take time to think about your vision.
- Prioritize and stick to the essentials.
- Feed your mind with positivity.
MISTAKE #7: Competing With Coworkers
Comparing ourselves to others and competing with them can weigh on work performance and self-esteem.
Competition in the workplace, without rules and regulations, to increase work performance, to put two employees against each other can easily derail an entire organization, create a toxic workplace, create a culture of fear.
To reduce competition in the workplace:
- Collaborate with your team members.
- Build relationships that go beyond the workplace.
- Compete against the standards that you have set for yourself.
- Acknowledge your personal success.
- Build new skills.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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