Common Mistakes Even Smart Leaders Make
Family Business Perspective – By Dan Schneider
As leaders, we strive for everyone to see us as masters in our roles, the Obi-Wan Kenobis of our universe. But the reality is that we actually get caught up in complacency and habitual routines. We also work in environments where it is rare for someone, especially a subordinate, to speak up and tell you that you are doing something that makes you look like a fool.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid so that you can lead by example:
- Slavish devotion to the “best practice” fallacy. The only best practice is the one that’s best for your franchisee organization. If someone else appears to be doing something better than you are, by all means review their approach and work to tailor it to your culture. If it can’t be done, it’s not a best practice for you.
- Believing those around you have ESP. My guess is that most of the job descriptions in your organization do not formally include ESP as a skill requirement. Informally, well, that’s another story. If you want your people to know what you’re thinking, clearly communicate with them. If you engage in communication early and often, preferably oral communication vs written (email, text, tweet, etc.) you’ll have greater success in getting what you want.
- Failing to delegate one or more of the following: authority, responsibility, accountability. You can probably do a lot – maybe you can even multi-task. But you can’t do everything. The more you try to do, the more your people will let you do. Give them a chance to do something worthwhile from their perspective; and that means give them the authority to move ahead, the education to do it right, and communicate with them about the outcome.
- Hoarding leadership capital. Just because you are in a role that presumes you are to lead people, it does not preclude you from also mentoring. Sharing and being generous in what you know, how your leadership journey was for you, and working with your people to grow into future leadership roles is not only rewarding, but pays long-term dividends. When you mentor your team members, you are creating a deeper bench of talent, driving more loyalty, and ultimately, setting the foundation for future succession.
Remember that the difference between being a leader and being an exceptional leader is to admit our shortcomings and weaknesses. By avoiding some of these common mistakes, and taking steps to create new habits, you gain more respect, more followers, and in the end, a true Obi-Wan Kenobi status with your team.
Dan Schneider, MA, CSP® is a Partner/Director of The Rawls Group, a business succession planning firm, and a Board member of the International Succession Planning Association(ISPA.) For additional information email email@example.com or visit www.rawlsgroup.com