5 Common Mistakes Leaders Make and How to Fix Them

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The CEO of a business sets the tone regardless of the size or stage of the business. But many CEOs struggle with handling their everyday team-leading duties and miss the opportunity to connect and empower their teams in a bigger way.

In today’s climate, teams expect more from their leadership. It’s our job to be prepared and show up to be of service to those whom we depend on to help us achieve our goals. Unfortunately, many CEOs and business owners think it is the opposite. 

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Here are the five common mistakes CEOs make when leading their teams.

1. Thinking that one form of communication is enough

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your team likes to be and needs to be communicated with in different ways. There is no set norm for communication. It is a mistake for any leader to think that sending one email is enough and call it proper communication. Companies need to have standardized communication policies and procedures to ensure that their messages get across the organization in diverse ways. This might look like communicating through email, meetings, daily huddles or using other communication tools to make sure everyone is on the same page. Successful communication takes into consideration how your team likes and needs to be communicated with. 

2. Not connecting with your team on a deeper level

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Your team needs to be appreciated and valued on a deeper level outside of financial incentives. Genuine connection leads to team engagement and buy-in in a way that some leaders might be uncomfortable with, but putting up uneccessary boundaries when it comes to engaging with teams inhibits growth and limits ideas. Instead, leaders should focus on having the right kind of conversations that lead to enhanced performance and results. Every day, teams feel unappreciated, used and abused when leaders have full control over the experience teams have within their company. Today, employees have more professional options than ever before, so that deeper connection and authenticity is even more necessary to retain top talent. 

3. Missing your team’s talent and the opportunity to tap into it fully

Building a company is a team sport at every stage of business. Tapping into your team’s talent is a win-win for both the employee and the company when leaders look at this way. In the past, I’ve worked at places where my supervisor was intimidated by my talent and didn’t embrace it. True leaders will harness the full power of their team’s talent. It’s the job of business owners to help grow their team’s talent, knowing that it will only make their business better. Hiring experts doesn’t just mean hiring a person who has the expertise in the beginning; it’s about seeing the potential in the person you’re hiring and helping him or her become an expert. Leaders always create other leaders. 

4. Discounting the need for team chemistry

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Having team members that complement each other makes for the strongest and most effective team. It starts with the hiring process, then is further shaped by how you engage and nurture your team. Involve your team in the hiring processes to help address any blindspots you might have with a candidate. We all bring our own unique set of skills, experiences and background, so allowing your team to help empowers its members. Encourage your team to go to one another instead of always coming to you or other leaders within the company when issues or questions arise. You want to create leaders on your team and give them alternative resources. 

5. Trying to fix everything all the time

This ties into the point above. You have to give your team the necessary resources to be successful. There is no reason for you to be the one to do everything. Being a firefighter in your company will put you on the fast track to burnout. Leading is about letting your team come up with solutions before they come to you for guidance. Don’t be the hero trying to save the day. Be the hero that has confidence in your team.

Having defined policy and procedures helps with this, and so does teaching your team how you think. Always keep your team in the loop and involve them in decisions, projects and problem-solving. Don’t let everything pile up on your plate alone. 

Being a leader is not about being perfect. It’s about being authentic, curious and open to the idea that your team knows more than you do. Collaboration is essential. As a leader, be willing to ask questions, seek feedback and be okay with not being the smartest person in the room. 

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