Common Leadership Mistakes That Can Sink Your Future (and your business)

BlogLeadership Development Posted: Monday 7th May 2018 by

Just last week, Mike Coupe, the ‘big boss’ of Sainsbury’s was caught on camera singing ‘We’re in the money’ while waiting to be interviewed about Sainsbury’s/Asda merger.

Some may say this was an unfortunate faux pas, and Mr Coupe could have selected a better song choice (or none at all). Others may see this as a boast about his undoubtedly soaring dividend, despite the fact that many thousands of employees and suppliers will be feeling very nervous about their future.

Allowing the protective veil around your public image to slip when you’re in Mr Coupe’s position can land you a spot on the nightly news, and some serious questions to answer from shareholders. But, as anyone in authority will testify, leadership, at times, can be like walking on egg-shells. You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.

Here are some of the most common leadership mistakes and how to avoid them.

Not believing in your business

Let’s face it if you don’t believe in your product, service or brand; no-one else is going to. In the case of L’Oreal brand ambassador, Dame Helen Mirren, going off-brand or publicly slating the business that pays you (in Dame Mirren’s case, probably quite handsomely), can be incredibly damaging.

Dame Mirren commented at an L’Oreal panel in the South of France that using the brand’s ‘age perfect’ moisturiser “probably does f— all.”

Being a leader means always believing in your business, even when times are tough and you really don’t want to. Your staff, suppliers, and stakeholders will look to the top for direction. If you’re not into it, perhaps its time to seek executive coaching to help rediscover your passion.

Not putting your people first

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own workload and forget to make time for yourself and your team. People are the lifeblood of a business, without them, the company would not be half as successful, if at all.

A great leader takes time for their team and is always aware of what they need. It’s no longer enough to just know everyone’s name. Block out time in your diary to hold one-on-ones, take impromptu ‘floor walks’ and schedule some group training sessions for the entire business, including yourself.

Spending time with your team will help you to see how the business runs without you and helps them to understand that you’re there when they need you.

Avoiding conflict

One of the most challenging leadership tricks to master is facing conflict head-on. Not in an aggressive, over-bearing or egotistical way, but in a way that will help you to run your company better.

Avoiding conflict is probably one of the most costly leadership mistakes. And, it can set a tone for the rest of your business that may not be as positive as you’d like.

Many people new to leadership will start off avoiding conlflcit. Things like not addressing an employee performance issue, or allowing a supplier to dictate unfair terms. By not facing these issues, you’re permitting yourself and your management team to sweep them under the rug. As a leader, take charge of anything that can could breed a culture of negativity in your business, before it gets out of control and too big to handle on your own.

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