5 Mistakes to Avoid as a Leader

by Nov 13, 2018


Being a leader is a title that comes with honor. However, being an effective leader, takes a bit of extra effort that many leaders fail to realize. Making sure that the desired result of your team is successful, is the outcome of a successful leader. Leaders have to be consistently available to listen to their tribes and understand what their needs are and find out how they can help. If you are a leader, and want to remain effective, make sure you avoid these mistakes.


Being overly competitive

Being competitive is expected as a leader, but over-competitiveness can cause problems. Competition is a necessary element of an effective leader. However if a leader is overly competitive, they can outgrow their original vision and thwart other plans for success that they might have. A leader needs to know how to navigate the competitive space, on behalf of those that depend on them. Too much of anything isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Not all competition is productive. Sometimes it can create a culture of fear. No one wants to work in a fear based organization or under a leader that operates out of fear. A culture of fear can be toxic, and start to seep through the organization at a rapid rate. Protect your reputation as a leader, and ensure that you approach your competitive aspirations in a healthy and productive way.


Not listening to your team

Epictetus once said:  “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” We have all probably heard this quote paraphrased in many ways over the years. Although we may roll our eyes when we hear the quote mentioned, it does have an important message for leaders. Listen to your team.

Your team can be a temperature gauge of how you are doing as a leader. Not listening to them, can lead to you being negligent about things that could have otherwise been handled. Listening to our team as leaders tunes us into how we can be best of service. And servant leadership is the best characteristic of a leader.

If you continue to not listen to your team, they will eventually stop talking. When this happen, not only can you see a slip in the work that you do, but also that you team does as well. This could also lead to dissonance within your team, and can turn our team members away to either leave the organization or your team. I can’t stress enough the importance of listening to your team.


Not following through

If you say you will do it, then do it. In leadership, your word is your bond. Not following through on your word is a grave mistake as a leader. When you do not follow through as a leader, you also are showing that you do not respect your team’s needs. Lacking follow-through consequently leads to lack of delegation and communication. When a leader isn’t following through, something is blocking the flow of communication. It is very important to find out what the source of delay is and remedy right away. When a leader lacks communication and delegation, slowly they will lose their teams trust.

Communicating often and sticking to deadlines will help you team trust you again as a leader. Being proactive, and modeling integrity are also two characteristics of a leader that follows through. By following these tips your team will find that you are a person of your word, and will begin to aspire to do greater things, because they know they have your support.

If you are having challenges with following-through, I would encourage you to view this video by Marie Farleo on some quick tips to follow-through.



Not including your team in your vision

As a leader, you should have a vision for the area that you lead as well as you team. Sure, it is your vision, but everyone has to buy in. Not including everyone in your vision, can lead to dire consequences. If your team isn’t included in your vision, they can not fully understand the importance of the initiatives that you ask them to do. When your team isn’t aligned to your goals, they might not have the same focus as you.

Take the time to communicate your vision to your team. As a leader you should communicate your vision, and listen to your team for support or objections. If there is great support for your vision, empower those that are advocates to your vision. If there are objections to your vision, take the time to listen to objections, and address as necessary. Some times objections are an opportunity to refine your vision.


Not letting it go – squash it

This section always reminds me of the Moana song. The best line of this song’s chorus is “Let it Go!”. As a leader, there might be objections that occurs on your team. Team members may not like a direction that you are taking. They might take their show on the road, by trying to align other team members to see their side. If you don’t address this within your team, it can result in major drama.

As a leader, you have to have the courage to squash a situation that should be squashed. Make it go away. This doesn’t mean sweeping it under a rug, or waiting for someone else to handle it. This simply means, to handle any hint of discourse on your team swiftly, and make it go away. Many times, this might result in a leader having a conversation with the team member that is stirring things up. At other times, it might mean addressing the team at large with an apology or further explanation. Also, there might be some situations where there is a change that needs to be made with your vision or plan so that it aligns with what is best for the team.


Want more great tips on leadership? This post is a good one for getting tips on intentional leadership. Would love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments.


  1. Megan Bell

    Great article! A team leader in any event is solely responsible for his/her team’s performance. They should be focused on increasing the motivation levels of team members. Being overly competitive with own team, results in poor team performance. It’s a loss both ways.

    • admin

      Totally agree with you Megan! Thank you for visiting!


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