14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

New leaders get into leadership positions by demonstrating greater skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence, better expertise than the teams they were in.

However, for new leaders, mistakes are common and quasi inevitable.

Mistakes show you what you are made of, what you need to succeed, what you need to redirect your career, what you are missing to improve your character.

Wondering what are the common mistakes to avoid as a new leader?

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.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

#1. New leaders ego-trip

Some new leaders want to bring attention to themselves, to demonstrate their self-importance and their superiority.

They usually overstep their boundaries, put down their “subordinates” and come off as arrogant. It is safe to say that:

  • They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Their ego is fragile. They surround themselves with yes men and people who strike their ego.
  • They are entitled to their position and don’t understand that the position requires work and humility.

#2. New leaders power-trip

Leaders who power-trip lack humility and self-discipline.

They use their new position to impose their authority, to remind their “subordinates” that they have power over them and to exact revenge on coworkers that they didn’t like.

Needless to say, power tripping can damage trust and workplace morale.

#3. New leaders don’t deal with their imposter syndrome

New leaders let their imposter syndrome sabotage their efforts.

Leaders with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they are due to their position, don’t believe that they have succeeded thanks to their gifts.

Some of them are insecure, tend to feel like frauds and are afraid of being unmasked.

Some are overzealous. They want to do things their way, be the catalysts of change, challenge the status quo almost immediately.

Some overwork, they show off their skills and try to prove themselves.

Others expect perfection and not excellence.

#4. New leaders don’t know who they are

New leaders are generally unaware of who they are, how they are seen, how they should contribute and of what they now represent.

That is because new leaders:

#5. New leaders don’t update their mindset

Becoming a leader is a long and never-ending process.

However, new leaders have to quickly update their mindset to keep up with their teams.

They have to change their focus from frontliner to strategist, to doing from ordering, to performing a task to planning meetings.

Firstly, they must make a pact with themselves to grow and to improve.

Secondly, they must constantly monitor their words, attitudes and actions.

#6. New leaders don’t understand the requirements of their position

Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. New to their roles, most leaders:

  • Don’t grasp that being a boss, being a manager and being a leader are different.
  • Think “position” automatically implies “authority”.
  • Don’t understand their job description.
  • Don’t fully understand or commit to their role.
  • Fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Get overwhelmed by their positions.
Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. New leaders stop learning

Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

New leaders face new responsibilities that they don’t have the skills for and :

  • Are too afraid to ask questions and to ask for help.
  • Take too long before initiating leadership training.
  • Have to learn new skills quickly, autonomously, and most importantly apply them.

#8. New leaders stick to traditional leadership styles

Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.

People are more comfortable and are able to perform at their best with a democratic leadership style.

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.

#9. New leaders don’t cater to their past and present relationships

Some leaders stop valuing people, start ignoring their teams and their past relationships. Instead, they tend to:

  • Disconnect from their teams. For instance, they don’t listen to their team and don’t measure their words.
  • Avoid conversations, small talk and nurturing new relationships.
  • Avoid collaboration and do everything themselves.
  • Focus on the results.

Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive.

Dismissing relationships can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your intentions, speech or behavior.

#10. New leaders run away from conflicts

New leaders aim to please at first. They sugarcoat, don’t address awkward dynamics, avoid conflicts, run away from difficult conversations, want to be liked and not respected.

They don’t speak up when they have to. For example, they don’t communicate expectations don’t correct employee mistakes when they have to, are no longer transparent because they are afraid of judgement and of losing their position.

In addition, they comply too often because they are not confident about their abilities.

Even if it is sometimes wise to avoid conflict, this strategy is not sustainable.

#11. New leaders shut down dissenting voices

New leaders must get comfortable with people who cause dissent even though the latter are natural catalysts, and easily take risks.

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.

#12. New leaders don’t delegate

At entry level, we want to control people, do everything ourselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

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 they:

  • Give instructions to their employees.
  • Have faith in the workers, be comfortable depending on others and believe that the work will be up to standards.
  • Have confidence in their personal abilities and do not be afraid of being upstaged.
  • Do not feel guilty that they are giving too much work to their employees because they were once in their place.

#13. New Leaders fail to navigate office politics

They don’t fully understand the politics at work and don’t take time to grasp it.

It is important that they:

  • Address internal conflicts and discontinue previous leadership issues.
  • Stay aware of the new power struggles. Indeed, they will be compared to previous leaders and compare themselves to previous leaders, have to deal with jealousy and insubordination at first, have to face judgement and backlash from their coworkers.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the previous leader, gossiping about their coworkers with the coworkers.
  • Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.

#14. New leaders don’t take accountability for their actions

They don’t take accountability for their own actions.

Instead, they tend to shift blame, find a scapegoat, are afraid of the words “I don’t know”.

Furthermore, they take credit and don’t shine light on their high performing employees.

Last Words Of Advice!

Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and for:

  • Humbling us and discovering our authentic selves.
  • Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
  • Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
  • Removing us from our comfort zones.
  • Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
  • Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves, how to explore and experiment in life, how to learn and change.
  • Making us more resourceful, more resilient, more self-disciplined and building our problem solving skills.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Becoming A Self-Disciplined Leader

Self-Disciplined LeaderAs a leader and as someone always searching for innovative ideas, I have to say that I have been struggling with staying focused on one topic at a time, controlling my train of thoughts and filtering negative emotions.

Although I come from a very disciplined home, my mind is sometimes undisciplined: tens of thousands of ideas flash through my mind in a second, which makes it difficult for my team to follow me.

 

By taking time out in the day solely for the thinking process, I have allowed myself to successfully manage my thoughts and become a self-disciplined leader.

Wondering how to acquire self-discipline or how self-discipline can successfully grow your career?

What is self-discipline?

Firstly, self-discipline is one of the most important component of leadership. Self-discipline develops in you set ways for your thoughts, actions and habits. Self-discipline means doing what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it.

In addition, it means that you accept your responsibilities and accomplish your goals because they are the best profitable option but not because you want to.

Self-discipline implies self-management or self-control, self-motivation, self-reliance, self-confidence and self-awareness and eventually, remains the basis for trust.

Secondly, self-discipline is an acquired skill, has several degrees to it and is not achieved overnight. It has to be practiced to become easier, to create routine and structure.

Lastly, early responsibilities in life, small tasks and assignments, given by parents or managers, allow people to gain discipline from a young age and shape their character.

Characteristics of self-disciplined leaders

Self-disciplined leaders are successful and ultimately become better at what they do. They are active, self-controlled, organized, are able to censor themselves and to build great relationships.

Leaders use self-discipline to sharpen their willpower and decisions making skills, to command respect from others and to lead by example, to achieve their goals regardless of their feelings, to gain profit and to look beyond hard work, to stick to their decisions, to evaluate themselves and place boundaries, to compartmentalize their emotions.

Furthermore, self-disciplined leaders have no fear of the future, are respected and dependable.

Self-disciplined leaders practice thoughts management, emotional intelligence, time management, character building, self-awareness and team building until they turn those soft skills into habits.

HABIT #1: MIND MANAGEMENT

Your thoughts, negative or positive, become your reality whether you want it or not. Self-disciplined leaders have peace of mind, no matter the situation.

For self-disciplined leaders, controlling your emotions is barely about becoming stoic, but about acknowledging your emotions, understanding them and keeping them in check before acting on them.

In order to control your thoughts:

  1. Nurture your mind with the right stimuli, with empowering thoughts and success stories. Remove distractions from your workspace. Block social media sites during working hours.
  2. Train your brain to handle different situations, and to prepare for both positive and negative outcomes.
  3. Meditate or turn to religion. Meditation brings a sense of contentment and allows you to accept and deal with your thoughts. In religion, controlling your thoughts is more about admitting God’s control over us and relinquishing our problems and emotions to Him. Which is why you need to keep your eyes on God and your focus on your purpose.
  4. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, let go of grudges and regrets,  and keep moving forward.

HABIT #2: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Self disciplined leaders don’t allow their choices and decisions to be dictated by their impulses or feelings.
Instead, they:

  • enhance their logical and emotional skills to be able to make sound decisions,
  • control their facial expressions,
  • resist and reject negative feelings,
  • handle stressful situations, conflicts and toxic individuals in a healthy manner,
  • adopt positive attitudes and behaviors.

To discipline your emotions:

  1. Control your thoughts and don’t leave them on autopilot. Pay close attention to your habits, especially in negative situations. Identify which behaviors you consider undisciplined and those that reflect your values ans goals.
  2. Change your self talk.
  3. Meditate on a daily basis, a least 10 minutes a day, to quiet the mind, gain serenity and suppress regrets.
  4. Cultivate gratitude. This will help you transform negative circumstances into positives.
  5. Change your sources of data that you intake and abstain from vain entertainment.
  6. Change or increase your social circle to individuals who possess the qualities and skills that you wish to acquire.
  7. Manage your health by taking care of the essentials. Your mind and body are interconnected and the health of the one impacts the other.
    • Sleep healthy hours and develop a steady night routine. Set an alarm at the same time everyday, put your phone in an unreachable area, don’t hit the snooze button.
    • Acquire a healthy diet.
    • Exercise regularly instead of procrastinating and drown your negative thoughts with dopamine.

HABIT #3: SELF-AWARENESS:

Self-discipline allows leader to monitor their behavior in various situations and to assess their strengths and weaknesses, to find their purpose.

Without being aware of your strengths, you are unable to lead effectively. Trying to emulate another leader’s style, strengths destroys your natural talent, your uniqueness, your personality and your therefore your chances for success.

Furthermore, most leaders are blind to their own strengths and weaknesses. Some lead thinking that they possess a particular set of strengths and others lead blind to their own weaknesses.

Get to know yourself at a deeper level, increase your confidence, become more self-aware and quiet your ego:

  1. Renew your thought pattern, invest in your personal growth and don’t allow setbacks to mentally set you back.
  2. Reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure.
  3. Look for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences.
  4. Read books and gain knowledge.
  5. Hire a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
  6. Take well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross-reference them.
  7. Asking the people closest to you.
  8. Surround yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups.
  9. Seek the truth about yourself and be unafraid of failure or the said truth.

HABIT #4: TIME MANAGEMENT

Successful individuals manage their time effectively to ensure that they accomplish their goals, allocate and maximize their time.

In the workplace, missing deadlines irritates and disrupts everyone on the team and makes you appear non accountable. So, to manage your time effectively:

  1. Define an achievable specific goal and apply timelines to it to create overviews of the milestones you wish to achieve. If you don’t have deadlines, create some for yourself.
  2. Make time to achieve your personal goals, follow-up on schedule and meet deadlines. Do not procrastinate, find excuses to postpone your work or allow anyone to distract you and squander your time. Instead, stay busy and focused, and put in the hours required to accomplish your goals.
  3. Prioritize your personal goals and accomplish the most important ones before hand.
  4. Implement a routine and stay focused on the prize.
  5. Make time to be proactive. With an increase in leadership responsibilities, people start pulling the leader in different directions, and the leader ends up doing more of what people desire than what is necessary to be done. Carve out an hour in the day or choose a day in the week to isolate or insulate yourself and execute your tasks that matter.
  6. Make time for yourself. Carve out another hour in your day to recharge your batteries to be more productive and efficient as a leader for your team. You may have to arrive earlier to work.
  7. Respect other people time.

HABIT #5: CHARACTER BUILDING:

Not all hardworking and talented beings are disciplined. Therefore, not all hardworking and talented beings are successful.
On one hand, self-discipline helps in creating routine and structure, holding yourself and others to a high standard ( integrity and respect), remaining accountable for your actions on your job, executing your job in detail and delivering on time. Self-discipline also increases maturity and builds stamina and resistance to walk down the leader’s path. That means that you can take a licking and keep on ticking.

On the other hand, self-discipline makes you resilient. You are empowered to stick to your decision, are able to get up when you are knocked down and to keep going when you hear “no”. Building character is a gradual process:

  1. Be consistent with your values (integrity)
  2. Tenacity is also key. Don’t be discouraged or perturbed by obstacles, by failures, by the illusion that your goals are unreachable. Instead, resist the urges of giving in or giving up.
  3. Read, listen, watch motivational elements. For faithful people, turning to your belief system is a great way to stay on track.
  4. Draw lessons from your mistakes.
  5. Monitor what you say. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.

HABIT #6: RELATIONSHIP & TEAM BUILDING

Being disciplined allows leaders to command respect from others, to work well with their team members, to handle interactions with employees or customers judiciously.

In order to minimize supervisors intervention:

  1. Define your responsibilities or tasks, avoid stepping on anybody’s toes, delegate tasks appropriately,
  2. Play by the rules, treat your team members as adults and with respect,
  3. Look out for the best interests of the company and your team members,
  4. Coach your team, promote self-discipline amongst them, encourage innovative ideas without even if they fail,
  5. Share your performance expectations with your employees and help them direct their focus towards achieving their goals
  6. Address unacceptable behaviors immediately without punishing or humiliating the perpetrators,
  7. Model yourself as the best leader, avoid taking your job for granting or taking credit for team success or outstanding performance, and stay humble and .

HABIT #7: EXECUTION, MOTIVATION & STRUCTURE

Self-discipline brings predictability, consistency and order to the leader. Self-discipline captures the meaning of the word expectancy and provides the leader with latitude for risk assessment and management. To create structure and improve task execution:

  1. If you are somehow already disciplined in executing task, share your timeline and your attention to detail with others and help them pick up the slack without micro managing.
  2. Clearly, your order brings a sense of control to the team. However, don’t impose your discipline to anyone else.
  3. Focus on starting tasks rather than completing them.
  4. Follow through on your ideas and finish what you have started. Also, track your progress: record the starting time and the end time of your tasks.
  5. Execute your plan in silence, and respect yourself enough to put your money where your mouth is and to come through on your promises.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Becoming A Self-Disciplined Leader