We all make mistakes in our leadership, but do you know what the most common mistake is? We reveal it, and explain how to improve your leadership style.
The biggest business leadership mistake
Taking over other people’s tasks and failing to delegate is one of the biggest mistakes business leaders make.
Attempting to do everything yourself displays a lack of trust in your team and overconfidence in your own abilities. It also disempowers employees, negates job satisfaction and makes employees unwilling to use their own skills and initiative. It’s the sign of a manager who has ultimately lost control, ironically by being too controlling.
Failure to delegate is the biggest cause of organisational bottlenecks which slows down work, and can be the cause of other serious knock-on effects elsewhere in the business. It’s short-term thinking which is unsustainable and can be a significant factor in poor levels of employee satisfaction and retention due to its demotivating effect.
Hidden costs such as the need to hire, replace and train new employees often result from this poor working method. Instead employees should be encouraged to take direct ownership of their work, with the manager providing back up and support as necessary. Setting clear objectives and ensuring that staff and employees are coached to fulfil their objectives, actually encourages the development of skills and confidence which creates a positive legacy and has a motivating effect.
Forward-thinking managers appreciate that maintaining quality levels and meeting objectives requires the support of the whole team. This can best be achieved by developing the skill set of individual team members, providing training and support as necessary and recognizing and rewarding achievement.
Improve leadership style and skills
Firstly, be sure of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve that success. Secondly, identify who is going to do what to make that success a reality. Give them a clear set of guidelines, and let them get on and do what you have requested. Lastly, make it clear that you’re responsible, and all you expect from your team is to call it as they see it, make progress, and keep you informed – but not to be frightened to fail, because you’ll take responsibility.
If people working for you know that they can fall but also that you will pick them up, dust them down and give them the confidence to start again, then they will follow you and trust you. If they truly believe that they can come to you with a problem and not be humiliated, then they will will be more supportive of your management.
Leadership starts with a little knowledge and self belief, but once you have experienced leading a team to great success you’ll have mastered a key management skill. It’s not hard, it just needs application and consistency.