Recently I was asked, “What’s the most common mistake new leaders make?”
Well, in the leadership development space I travel in, I see new and seasoned leaders make a variety of mistakes, so it’s difficult to identify the single most common mistake.
One answer lies within the circumstances new leaders find themselves in. And it would be different for someone leading a failing operation compared to someone heading a successful operation.
As an umbrella answer, though, I believe a lack of self-awareness is the single most common mistake of all leaders, both new and seasoned.
Avoid common leadership mistakes by tuning up your self-awareness.
Consider these kinds of mistakes that happen when self-awareness is low:
- Not helping team members when they need a hand to meet your expectations.
- Doing everything yourself because you think you’re the only one who can do it.
- Not seeking input from a variety of sources when making an important decision.
- Trying to please everyone with the decisions you make.
- Being positive without being honest.
- Taking advantage of certain privileges because of your position.
- Showing negativity about issues while missing the positive aspects.
- Taking credit for something good that another person did.
When you make these or similar mistakes, what’s at stake?
Your leadership credibility.
I agree with Facebook CEO Shery Sandberg who said: “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
How can you heighten your self-awareness? By becoming the kind of leader who is open to feedback. When you are, your team will provide you with constructive feedback, both solicited and unsolicited. Think of all you’ll learn!
Constructive feedback helps you become aware of what is working and what is not. Listen to it, then use your good judgment to make the adjustments needed.