Business Advice Blog

What are the Worst Mistakes You Can Make as a Leader?

company culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It takes a lot of smarts, experience, vision, intuition and skill to be an effective leader, CEO or business owner. But all leaders must be mindful that their ability to make mistakes—just like everyone else—doesn’t magically disappear when they reach the C-Suite.

What’s also true is that the ramifications of high-level mistakes can be significantly greater than those made by others. That’s because, as every business leader well knows, their actions and decisions affect potentially untold numbers of employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

So it’s important to recognize and guard against the types of mistakes leaders sometimes make:

Getting caught up in a job title. Being Chief Executive Officer often means seeing your name on a letterhead, getting an office in a prime location, etc. Yet such trappings “aren’t the qualities of a real leader,” notes business author Deep Patel. What leaders really care about “is the goal at hand, and empowering those around them to do great work.”

Attempting to handle (and control) everything themselves. Every successful business is comprised of many moving parts—far too many for a single individual to handle or control by themselves. Effective leaders distinguish between what’s genuinely important and what’s better left to others to address. They don’t “sweat the small stuff,” staying focused instead on the company’s vision and plan for strategic growth.

Not owning up to their own mistakes. Refusing to acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake might be the biggest mistake a leader can make. There’s simply too much at stake for a leader not to recognize when he or she has erred, and to evade accountability for a wrong decision.

When something goes wrong, you may find that “much of the time, it can be traced right back to the top,” writes serial entrepreneur Serhat Pala. Acknowledging such a mistake “is one of the best things a leader can do to lead by example and promote accountability in a company.”

Worrying that someone else might steal the spotlight. Successful leaders get a lot of attention, which can become addictive after a while. Sometimes they worry that someone else within the organization might, by virtue of completing an important project or embarking on a key initiative, steal the spotlight. They might even go so far as to hire individuals whom they sense are competent enough, but not likely to outshine them.

This misguided attitude can rob your company of the exceptional talent it needs in today’s marketplace. Strong leaders encourage imagination and initiative in their companies, and generally don’t concern themselves about who gets credit for a big achievement. In such happy circumstances, everyone benefits from success.

Placing blame on others when things go wrong. In the same respect, an insecure or ineffective leader will rush to judgment when something goes wrong. They engage in finger-pointing or, worse, getting rid of someone on the team as a way to deflect attention from themselves.

Effective leadership entails assuming overall responsibility for the business and emphasizing the capacity to learn from bad situations and prevent a reoccurrence in the future. Placing blame is fruitless and only serves to dampen morale and productivity throughout the organization.

With the right attitude, leaders can correct these mistakes or avoid them altogether.

By focusing instead on the personality traits that enhance leadership, a business owner or CEO can work together with his or her team and make great strides in future growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Manage Your Mobile Workforce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American workforce is changing the nature of “work” as we once knew it. The days when employees absolutely had to work at a desk, in an office, are long gone. While many businesses still insist on keeping their workforce on-site, more than 30 percent of Americans work remotely during some or most of the work-week.

It’s time for more companies to recognize that advances in technology have made it possible for employees to do their jobs—for the most part—anywhere in the world. These digital improvements are now at a point, notes Biz Tech, where “geography is—or, at least, can be—a nearly irrelevant factor in an employee’s work experience and productivity.”

This has also altered job-seekers’ expectations of flexibility in their employer’s approach as to how work gets done. Companies that fail to account for this shift in attitude may find it more difficult to recruit—and then adequately manage—their budding remote workforce.

Here are tips for managing your off-site, mobile team:

Understand what makes them tick. The most successful remote workers consider themselves self-starters. They have a clear idea of their job responsibilities, what’s expected of them, how they will get their tasks completed, and so on. They also expect to be given the most sophisticated tools and resources needed to meet their job responsibilities. Perhaps just as importantly, they want to feel good about the company they work for.

By getting to know these individuals and grasping their underlying motivations, “you’ll find that it is very easy to extract the best performance possible.”

Focus on communications. The most effective way to keep remote workers engaged is through focusing on consistent, high-quality communications.  Establish a schedule that works for all involved but emphasizes ongoing contact (once or twice a week for updates, twice a month for in-depth reports, etc.).

Digital portals enable both the worker and his or her manager to see at a glance where projects stand, approaching deadlines and other pertinent information. Leverage such technology to ensure that key responsibilities are being met, but also to determine if off-site hurdles are preventing completion of tasks.

Be available. Let your mobile workers understand that you’re available to talk to (by whatever medium) at a short notice. And when you do speak with these individuals, give them your full attention. Treating them as less-than-full members of the team can negatively impact their motivation and ultimate performance. With today’s technology, you can always have a genuine interaction with your off-site staff.

Offer incentives just as you would with your onsite team. Remote workers respond just as favorably to rewards and other incentives as your in-house employees. Whether it’s formal recognition for a job well done—which also alerts everyone in the company of the high value you place on your mobile team—or providing gift certificates or other rewards, your remote workers will greatly appreciate that you took the time and effort to recognize their contributions.

Provide opportunities for professional development. If you currently provide tuition or otherwise sponsor professional development courses for your onsite workforce, there’s no reason to deny these opportunities to remote workers. They’ll benefit just as much from the chance to hone their skills and broaden the range of their expertise—and your business will benefit, too. Offering such opportunities keeps these people engaged with your business and less likely to turn elsewhere for employment.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming an essential facet of today’s workforce. To get the most from them, it’s important to manage their work with sensitivity and respect, while also ensuring they have what they need to achieve maximum productivity. Your business will be more successful as a result.

To learn more about fully engaging your workforce, we invite you to register for this free TAB webinar, “Grooming Engaged, Entrepreneurial Employees.”