If you are a regular reader of online magazines such as Entrepreneur and Inc.com, you are not a stranger to articles about a multitude of leaders failing, often repeatedly, before succeeding. Business magnates such as Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, and many others are examples of those who managed to overcome their failures; however, there are a lot more of those who never do. Being a leader isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. Read our 10 main reasons for why leaders fail to find out whether you and your company are in trouble.
1. Having Unclear Goals and Vision
In order for a company to function properly and succeed, it needs to work towards accomplishing specific and realistic goals. Then the leader and his team know what exactly they are aiming for, it is possible to determine what actions need to be taken in order to reach the goal.
On the contrary, when there are no definite goals or a specific vision to reach for, everything that a company does becomes disorganized and progress becomes difficult or impossible to measure. A leader is responsible for setting these goals and vision and guiding the team towards accomplishing them.
2. Not Leading by Example
There is a difference between a boss and a leader. The former gives orders, treats people as disposable assets, and focuses on getting things done, while the latter gives directions, views their employees as equals, and cares about motivating and empowering their employees.
An effective way of motivating employees is leading by example. That can be done by, for instance, knowing how to do tasks themselves or at least have an understanding of how they need to be done, working alongside the team, and personally displaying the qualities and skills that are expected to form the team. That will ensure that the team isn’t simply following the orders, but the leader and will be intrinsically motivated to do the highest quality work.
3. Not Delegating Efficiently
While there are leaders who tend to only give orders to the team without doing much of anything themselves, there are also those who fall into the other extreme – not delegating enough or not doing it efficiently. The ability to delegate is extremely important if the company is willing to scale and expand.
The leader of the company can only take on but so much work and if they are unable or unwilling to delegate they are impeding the company from being able to grow and take on more work. Inefficient distribution of tasks can also lead to workers either not having enough work or having too much of it, neither one of which is beneficial for any business.
4. Not Learning and Changing
The only constant that exists is that everything constantly changes. In order for a company to excel and become successful, continuous education, training, and adapting is paramount. By not being open to change and innovation, the leader risks making the company old-fashioned and can fail to deliver the best possible services to the customer.
Startups are being created daily and competition never ceases. If a leader fails to continuously evolve, the company’s customers may eventually choose to switch to a different business that is providing more modern services and more effective results.
5. Trying to Please Everyone
There are plenty leaders who try to be nice and politically correct with everyone, especially in the early stages of business when everything is very uncertain and unstable. The truth is – that not everyone will like you. That’s an absolutely normal and natural part of being human. By focusing excessively on trying to please everyone, leaders risk burning too much time and effort on unnecessary engagements, may lose focus, and act in disagreement with the company vision and values.
Instead, it’s more productive and effective to focus all efforts on those who hold the same values and viewpoints and actually support the company and what it’s doing. This will not only help to cater the correct audience in the best way possible, but will also keep the business and the team on track.
6. Having All the Answers
A good and intelligent leader knows that they don’t know it all and don’t have all the answers. They also are confident enough to admit that to their team and ask for advice or guidance if necessary even from those who are lower in rank.
Sadly, not every leader thinks this way; and many choose to talk when, in actuality, they should listen. Such approach indicates that the leader is self-absorbed and tries to flaunt their own ego rather that see what is best for everyone in each given situation. This is a recipe for certain failure because it can not only lead to wrong decisions being taken, but also drastically demotivate the team.
7. Not Giving Enough Constructive Criticism
While this may seem counterintuitive, criticism is actually crucial for growth and transformation. It is inevitable that employees are going to make mistakes or perform tasks or processes in the most efficient way. Feedback and criticism are essential to identify inefficiencies and guide the team members to identify the ways in which they can improve.
The key word here is – constructive. Not every criticism is the same and it needs to be presented in a constructive way in order to yield a positive result. In certain scenarios the leader and the team may benefit from a training in intrapersonal skills in order to learn how to give constructive criticism in a way that motivates and empowers others.
8. Not Praising Enough
One of the most popular incentives to encourage employees to excel, is a financial one, when, in fact money is not the only thing that makes people tick. A 2017 study has discovered that, more than anything, workers need recognition and validation that the work that they are doing on a daily basis matters.
In order to build a successful, progress-oriented team, leaders need to acknowledge that they work with people and, in order to stay intrinsically motivated, they need to know that what they are doing is noticed, recognized, and has purpose.
9. Poor Communication
In order for goals to be met and tasks to be executed optimally, they need to be understood correctly. A leader needs to know how to communicate with their team clearly and efficiently or they may end up needing to micromanage everything or cause the team to deliver inadequate work.
10. Not Taking Care of Physical and Mental Health
Last but not least, a leader must not forget that despite everything that they are trying accomplish they are also human. In order to stay continuously motivated and push forward, every leader needs to take care of their physical and mental health.
By skimping on sleep, not nourishing and hydrating themselves properly, not having an adequate social life, time for hobbies, and enough downtime, a leader risks to develop health issues, depression, succumb to stress, and even burn out, none of which are beneficial for their company.
Now, it’s your turn. Are you a leader or an employee? Are any of these mistakes hindering the progress of your organization? How? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.
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