These Are The Top Mistakes Leaders Should Avoid At All Costs

Very often, people find themselves in a leadership position before they are prepared to take on the role. This can happen when an employee in a senior position leaves and needs to be replaced or when an employee decides to take initiative and asks for a leadership role. These situations can put a person outside their comfort zone, enabling them to grow.

While the qualities of a good leader include a handful of skills, there are a number of mistakes that a good leader should never make. Studies show that 75 percent of people consider their managers to be the worst part of their job. If managers avoid making the mistakes listed here, they’ll be well on their way to becoming a better leader and achieving more success.

Avoid Delegating Work

Confuse Control With Delegation
Marion Nitsch/Edge Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Marion Nitsch/Edge Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Someone in a leadership role is clearly in a position of authority. However, bad leaders can take their authority too far and demand control over every last detail of the team and their work. One of the ways they do this is by misunderstanding the relationship between control and delegation.

A poor leader will frequently refuse to delegate work to others because of a distrust of the team or a desire to keep information to themselves. In these scenarios, employees will struggle to make meaning of their jobs and they also don’t get to learn by working on new projects. A good leader is comfortable delegating work to others and celebrating the success of the entire team.

Take Credit For Wins And Blame Losses On Others

man at desk
Bryn Colton via Getty Images
Bryn Colton via Getty Images

When a project is successfully completed or the team is praised for their hard work, some managers may swoop in to take all the credit for it. However, when things don’t go according to plan, these same managers are usually the first ones to shift the blame to another team member.

A good leader will refrain from doing this. When the team is praised for their hard work, a good manager will take time to highlight each person’s contribution. Alternatively, when things go wrong, a competent leader will highlight what went wrong and explain how the matter will be rectified moving forward.

Think The Title Is More Important Than The Job Requirements

busy office
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images

You may hear a team leader say that you need to listen to them because they are “in charge.” This can do more harm than good because you lower your respect as a leader by saying this. Many managers focus more on the title on their door and a big bonus check more than the skills and duties that the position actually requires.

A true leader does not give such importance to their title but is more focused on the goal of the company. They want to lend a helping hand and inspire their subordinates to work hard and be successful. These are the qualities of a real leader.

Don’t Understand That Communication Is Essential To Success

two men speaking
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

One of the main reasons that leaders fail to inspire their employees is due to a lack of communication between the two parties. If you don’t know how your subordinates feel, it can be a challenge to lead them in the right direction. This also includes miscommunications between what is said online and in person, which could result in confusion.

When teams are given clear directions with good instructions, it leads to better communication, both internally and externally. Successful leaders will take the time to communicate the task at hand and be open to feedback and criticism.

Don’t Listen To Others

two women in an office
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Studies show that 40 percent of junior-level employees don’t bring up issues to upper management as they feel they won’t be heard. When employees feel this way it can lower the morale of the team as a whole and can affect everyone’s work. If managers don’t take their employees into consideration, it lowers trust and loyalty.

Good leaders will make sure their employees are heard regardless of their position in the company. They will also remain empathetic toward their concerns and make sure they follow through any issues brought to their attention. This will make employees feel more valued by the company.

Micromanage Employees

chefs
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

Some leaders think that their position gives them the authority to micromanage employees. They don’t take time to understand the skills of their employees or give them space to grow in their job.

This is largely disadvantageous in the long run because it lowers employee morale and skewers relationships within the team. Good leaders take the time to understand what each team member wants to accomplish and then work with them to achieve their goals. This motivates employees to work harder and contribute to the team’s success.

Don’t Give Importance To Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images

Emotional intelligence is one of the most important traits of a good leader but unfortunately, many bosses don’t give this too much thought. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and those of the people that surround them. When something goes wrong, they may say something on a whim without keeping their emotions in check.

A good leader should have control over their emotions and remain calm even when things go south. Saying the right thing at the right time is crucial to the success and morale of the team. A leader needs to create an atmosphere where employees are free to voice their concerns without fear.

Don’t Give Employees Feedback

office scene
Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images
Ina Fassbender/picture alliance via Getty Images

Bad leaders are usually slow to give their employees positive feedback and don’t know the art of giving their employees constructive criticism. Feedback is an essential part of an employee’s success and when not executed properly, it can affect the morale of the entire team.

A good leader is open and willing to give praise to employees that deserve it, and will take the time to give employees useful feedback. When providing constructive criticism, an effective leader lets employees know how their strengths can help improve their weaknesses. This can result in a more motivated and highly-performing team.

Create A Toxic Environment

toxic work environment
Pinterest/selfhelpprogram
Pinterest/selfhelpprogram

When a manager fails to properly communicate goals with their teams, it can lead to a toxic environment where stressed and anxious employes might even start to lie, gossip, and argue. This type of work situation can be disastrous to the morale and performance of the team.

A good leader will be honest and open about their feelings, which leads their employees to do the same. This will result in open communication which is essential to the success of a team. The manager needs to ensure that co-workers don’t bad-mouth each other.

Expect Everyone To Be Perfect

Walmart employees
Gilles Mingasson via Getty Images
Gilles Mingasson via Getty Images

Poor leaders hold their teams to impossible standards which can quickly kill employee morale. When employees are given unattainable goals, they lack confidence and are not motivated to work very hard to achieve those goals.

A good leader expects workers to make mistakes and learn and grow from them. No task is completely fool-proof, so when employees make mistakes, they shouldn’t be reprimanded. Instead, managers should help employees work through any mistakes and errors they make.

Avoid Uncomfortable Situations

team meeting
Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Many leaders don’t like to be put in uncomfortable situations but it is during these instances that managers and their employees can really grow. If leaders ignore these situations, it reduces the urgency of the unresolved task at hand.

A good leader knows that conflict is unavoidable and should be addressed immediately before it becomes a larger issue. When these matters intensify, it can affect the morale of the entire team. Therefore, the manager should tackle the problem head-on and make sure it doesn’t occur again in the future.

Don’t Have A Vision For The Future

a woman speaks during a meeting
Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images
Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

One of the main duties of a leader is to have a clear vision for the future of the organization and how it relates to their team. Managers who fail to do this will have a team with low morale as employees are unsure of how they are contributing to the greater good of the company.

A clear vision is crucial to success because it helps leaders set goals and have achievable expectations for the future. They can then create a roadmap for their team to help them reach their goals. Good leaders should find a way to connect day-to-day activities to the mission of the company. This will also increase employee motivation.

Lack Of Humility

Tim Cook
MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images
MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

Leaders sometimes use their position of authority as a tool for boosting their self-confidence. This egoistic attitude does more harm than good because employees will be hesitant to approach such a leader with any queries or ideas. Leaders need to be open and honest about their flaws and limitations.

Humility is an important trait in a leader because it helps them connect with their employees. Managers should show appreciation and provide constructive criticism when needed. But they should make sure to remain humble and know their own imperfections.

They Are Reactive, Not Proactive

CEO of Volkswagen
Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Reactive leaders are those that simply respond to an issue at hand and don’t take the time to think about the future or anticipate future needs. These leaders are not equipped to handle crises because they only know how to react to situations when they occur. This makes it impossible to prioritize what’s important.

A successful leader with direction has the ability to identify and mitigate problems before they happen. They will also have a backup plan for any errors or mistakes. Having this ‘future-thinking’ mentality will help a manager focus on what’s important in order to succeed in the future.

Don’t Take Advice Or Mentorship From Anyone

McDonald's employees
Neilson Barnard via Getty Images
Neilson Barnard via Getty Images

Poor leaders fail to recognize the value in mentorship. This could either be acting as a mentor to someone else or receiving mentoring from a co-worker. Weak leaders don’t believe in sharing knowledge and prefer to keep information to themselves.

A good manager understands the importance of a mentorship program and how essential a support system can be, especially in the workplace. Acting as a mentor will help leaders get a bird’s eye view of the day-to-day problems faced by their team. At the same time, asking for advice will help them develop and strategize the goals in the most effective way possible.

Treat People Like Robots

a group of co-workers
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images

One of the most important elements for a happy and healthy employee is work-life balance. Bad leaders fail to consider this and make their employees work as if they don’t have a life outside the place of business. This reduces employee morale and makes them feel undervalued by the company.

Successful leaders find ways to empower their employees and understand that a good work-life balance will be beneficial to everyone in the long-run. In these situations, employees are also involved in the decision-making process, making them feel more valued by the company. This results in a happier workforce.

Being Too Friendly

a group of people chatting
Photo by Georg Wendt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo by Georg Wendt/picture alliance via Getty Images

We all want to work with a manager who is easy to get along with and is very approachable. While this type of manager is nice to have it can also skew relationships in the long run. Some managers need to make tough decisions about the people in their team, for instance during an employee cutback.

While a manager should be approachable, they shouldn’t be too friendly, as an employee may take advantage of their relationship to affect the decision. This doesn’t mean that a manager can’t socialize with his team but there should be a healthy balance between being a friend and a manager.

Hurry The Recruitment Process

Recruitment Process
Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

When there is a large workload but not enough people to complete the job, a leader may be tempted to hire quickly and fill in the position as soon as possible. However, hurrying the recruitment process can be disastrous to the company if a manager chooses the wrong person for the job.

If the new hire does not possess the same knowledge as their peers, then a lot of time will be wasted training this person. This slows down the rest of the team as well. Other employees will also be stressed out as they will need to take on additional work for the new team member. It is important to evaluate each candidate thoroughly before making a decision.

Don’t Make Time For The Team

don't make time for the team
Antoine Antoniol via Getty Images
Antoine Antoniol via Getty Images

It no secret that a higher-level position also comes with more work. Some managers may be so caught up in their own work that it’s difficult for them to be available for their team members. Although a boss needs to meet deadlines, it is important that they remember that the team’s level of motivation can result in greater success in the long-term.

In order to make sure to be there for the team, a good leader will block out some time in their calendar for a 1:1 meeting so employees can discuss any ideas or ask questions. Actively listening to the team also increases social and emotional intelligence.

Hold Onto Anger And Resentment

 Anger And Resentment
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Bad leaders create an uncomfortable work environment for everyone when they hold on to anger and resentment for too long. When this happens, team members hide their feelings because they are too afraid to voice their opinions. However, good leaders see mistakes as learning opportunities.

When there are any unfavorable points of view raised in a meeting, for example, a good leader will take the time to listen to the employee and thoroughly discuss the issue. This leads to a healthier working relationship than if the manager held onto any anger or resentment the employee’s opinion might have caused.