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.

Advertisements

Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

Leaders are often faced with recurring issues in their personal and in their professional lives.

On a daily basis, they fight to retain talent, to keep their businesses alive, to keep up with the market, to increase their return on investment, to deal with clients, to evolve and to encourage growth.

Problems arise when there is a discrepancy between reality and expectations, when leaders are unable to successfully reach their goals.

Their ability to anticipate and to solve problems will determine their success and will increase their chances for promotion.

Wondering how to acquire problem-solving skills?

Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is a cognitive skill that is useful in challenging, problematic and uncertain situations that require resolution.

Problem-solving is uncomfortable, takes time, requires practice and need constant monitoring. This intuitive skill is also sharpened by mistakes and failures.

Furthermore, problems encourage growth and change in us. That is why problem-solving requires facing inner demons.

It also helps us acquire innovative skills, people skills, communication skills, data gathering, conflict management and analytical skills.

How to actually solve problems?

Problem-solving gives leaders the opportunity to deal with change, to handle conflict, to delegate, to humbly ask for help.

Leaders who are unable to effectively solve problems lack knowledge in their respective fields, don’t establish practical methods, don’t commit to one solution, fail to implement their vision or to understand the problem all together.

STEP #1 Work on your character

You cannot control most of the situations that you will face in life. However, you can control how you react to them. It is therefore necessary to work on your character and to:

  1. Know yourself, trust your intuition and understand that your ideas are valuable.
  2. Be mindful that problems arise every day and that you cannot solve everything all at once.
  3. Write down all the rules and core values that guide you so you can remember them in time of need.
  4. Be open-minded, explore other fields than your own and to frequent people from other industries.
  5. Educate yourself on your business. Read books and articles on your field.
  6. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Challenge your assumptions before you restrict your opportunities
  7. Be patient but take action before it’s too late and before the opportunity expires.
  8. Pay attention to other people’s opinion but don’t worry too much about the naysayers.
  9. Admit if you have made a mistake. Great leaders are able to face issues without shifting blame and shifting values.
  10. Embrace change and avoid criticizing new ideas.
  11. Welcome failure. Don’t beat yourself up or don’t blame yourself for failure. Most successes or most innovations have broken through from failures.

STEP #2 Defining & Understanding the problem

Problems are synonymous with difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, obstacle or setback. Problems trigger fight or flight response when handling a problematic situations.

There is no need to immediately appear decisive or to impress people. You must first define and understand the problem:

  1. Get the information about the problem.
  2. Identify the complexity, the symptoms, effects and root causes of the problem.
  3. Take time to reflect on your situation and to observe.
  4. Talk to the people implicated in the situation.
  5. Look for patterns and for trends.
  6. Find analogies to your situation that can help spark ideas.
  7. Reverse the problem: find the opposite problem or envision a worse problem.

STEP #3 Solutioning

Anticipating problems is the best option. But, the key is to staying focused or finding a solution. You must be able to study all the possible solutions of the problem:

  1. Explore all ideas even if you think that they won’t work.
  2. Suggest solutions that would make the problem worse.
  3. Think about your past experiences when you have been put in sticky situations. It can be a conflict with your coworkers, It can be a discussion with your clients or situations with your family.
  4. Look at what is being done by experts and evaluate the opposite solution.
  5. Ask for help from people around you. You can use brainstorming, mind mapping or road mapping techniques.
  6. Remove yourself from the situation to clear your mind and gain a different perspective.
  7. Break down the situation into simpler components.
  8. Write down pros and cons of the solutions.
  9. Clarify the criteria that your solution must meet.
  10. Test the feasibility of the solution.
  11. Organize your thoughts and pick the solution that will maximize your return.

STEP #4 Making a decision

When you have evaluated all the solutions, it’s time to make a decision. One decision is better than none.

  1. Look up the “unwritten rules that you are about to break before making a decision.
  2. Weigh in the consequences of your decisions. Rapid decisions can have serious implications, especially if you are a leader. So, be aware of the economic, social, political challenges of your decisions.
  3. Luckily, the leader does not have to resolve every problem on their own. To make better decisions, involve your team in the decision-making process. However, the final decisions is up to you.
  4. Seek to solve the problem long-term.
  5. Take the necessary time to make the right decision. You don’t need to impress or to act fast, you need to act right.

STEP #5 Executing the decision

After finding the perfect solution and making your decision, start implementing it:

  1. Set goals and deadlines that align with your goals.
  2. Keep your goals in mind.
  3. Focus on the outcomes of the solution and visualize the best scenario.

STEP #6 Measuring your progress & Monitoring the problem

Unfortunately, problems don’t solve themselves and can grow as time passes by. If the roots of the problem still persist:

  1. Assess the impact of your current decision.
  2. Reward yourself if your solution is bringing positive results.
  3. If your plan doesn’t work, cut the losses and get back up.
  4. Ask for additional help. 
  5. Execute your plan B if you have one. Revisit the problem, start over the solving process otherwise.
  6. Take a break before moving on to the next problem.

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.