It’s a known cliché, but with great power really does come great responsibility. Leading and inspiring others can be very rewarding, but it also requires hard work and a focused mind. Humans are fallible and mistakes will happen, but it’s important to avoid the most common leadership pitfalls if you want to succeed.
It’s very important to stay humble after finding success. While it can be a nice ego boost, it’s important to always show modesty and let your employees see you as a fellow human. You are still going to make mistakes, so make sure you learn from your failures and let your team witness it. When employees see you fail and recover, they will feel a deeper connection with you and have more confidence in themselves.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s important to be confident in your newfound role. Remind yourself there’s a reason you’ve been assigned to a leadership position if you ever start feeling insecure and second-guessing yourself. Your gut instinct is a powerful resource, make sure you trust it. The good news is the more confidence you display, the more your team will support you and want to make you happy.
Happiness doesn’t happen all the time, however, and you cannot be a leader without having to deal with conflict. This can be one of the hardest changes for someone advancing to power. Just know that you will not be able to please everyone, so base your decisions on facts and fairness. The biggest mistake a leader can make is to hide from conflict. Issues dealing with performance and personalities will only grow worse over time, and employees will feel invalidated and stop seeking your advice if you ignore them. This will eventually create a toxic working environment. The sooner problems are addressed, the less likely they will escalate, and the healthiest work cultures have an open dialog between employees and managers.
Delegating is another challenge that new leaders have to face. Tasks you used to do can no longer be yours since higher priorities now exist. It’s important to let go of the old adage “if you want something done right, do it yourself” when managing people. Your team needs to feel like you can confidently entrust them with all your former tasks. Avoid micromanaging or redoing your employees’ work. That breaks the trust between you and them and just creates more work for you. It also stagnates your team’s overall progress.
Technology is a fact of life. It is therefore vitally important to stay on top of trends in the digital world. Stay current by reading in your spare time and researching your competitors. Artificial Intelligence is probably the latest threat to human workers, so it’s important to become an expert on how it will affect your business. Being proactive and honest with your team now could mean the difference between having a properly trained staff and an anxious office down the road.
Great talent is everywhere, but if you want to attract and keep a good team, you need to know what your company’s vision is and share that vision with all new hires. It’s also important to have accountability. People want to know what is expected of them and how well they’re doing. They desire feedback. Set up guidelines for routine performance evaluations, as well as a clear open door policy for any follow-up questions. A team needs to have motivated and skilled employees, as well as accurate metrics for success, in order to thrive under your leadership.