13 New-Leader Screw Ups
Mistakes matter more when you’re the new kid on the block. Long-term relationships contextualize and soften occasional screw ups.
13 mistakes new leaders make:
- Forgetting your arrival stresses others, including those who hired you. The stress you feel, others feel too.
- Proving technical skill. You don’t need to prove what you know. You did that when they hired you. Own the job. You’re qualified.
- Reaching for big wins. Grab low hanging fruit. Win small – win often. Big wins are the result of a series of small wins.
- Believing everything you’re told. People have agendas. Trust but verify.
- Basing confidence in technical skills rather than the ability to learn.
- Making yourself look good while neglecting others. You look good when you make others look good. Use “we” more than “I” or “me”.
- Making statements before asking questions. Questions make new leaders look smart.
- Forgetting what’s small to you is big to others. Before changing things ask, “Who’s impacted?”
- Neglecting the social game. New leaders get so busy they forget to connect vertically and horizontally within organizations.
- Not making decisions. Listen, investigate, seek suggestions, but whatever you do, decide.
- Neglecting the players who really get things done while focusing on high profile people. Play with players who aren’t official leaders.
- Forgetting names.
- Making premature judgments about people. Watch the quiet ones. They offer more than you think.
Bonus tip: When you feel the need to receive honor, give it.
Facebook contributors add their own list of mistakes new leaders make: Leadership Freak Coffee Shop (second question down the page)
What mistakes have you seen new leaders make?
How can new leaders avoid common new-leader mistakes?
Interesting to read this post as a people overseer, then as not, especially in the context of being “the new kid on the block”. I wish this awareness was native, but it does require particular effort and focus. I suppose for the ‘natural leader’ they are inherent skills. Sadly, in avoiding these ‘mistakes’, some will be threatened by your strengths. Schoolyard bullies. Will your leadership skills help you then? What about a repeated, “We tried that already. It didn’t work because…”.
Thank you, Dan, for the post. A bit of a renewal, and food for much thought, whether performing throughout the day, or mentoring.
Interesting thought that successful leaders may threaten others. It suggests that leaders should avoid threatening.
I agree that new leaders believe more in small wins.I think small wins do not result into big wins. In fact, big wins is result of sacrificing small wins. New leaders believe more in creating impression by all possible means. But they do not know how to retain impression. They know to manage impression but do not know to maximize impression. New leaders are also more self concerned. So, they should be more others- concerned.
I believe new leaders need to understand the meaning of winning and success. This will help them to turn into effective leaders. For this, they need to study the path that successful leaders followed/follow. It means, new leaders need more inside-out introspection than outside-in reflection. What I mean to say, is to create and show more human values than to be influenced by external and unsustainable values.
Great stuff Ajay.
Thanks for your insights on small wins cp big wins. Definitely food for thought.
I’m a huge fan of define the win. If we can describe it we can’t achieve it.
Thanks for adding value.
Great post. I realized #1 goes without saying but is often not said. Thank you, as always, for putting this into perspective. Interesting that many of the items on the list are a result of “green” leaders who may be battling their own insecurities. This is a simple and important list to remember for leaders of organizations and those who lead teams or projects. Great scalable concept. Thanks you!
Love that you bring personal insecurities to this discussion. Great add.
Your post is just in time with a certain situation in my life. Thank you very much!
Best wishes for success, Diana.
Thanks for the post. #4 is a particularly valuable caution. It’s also often a surprise to new leaders that the real leaders in an organization aren’t those with positions, especially in associations and churches.
Absolutely Dan…All organizations have the official structure and the “real” structure.
I really like the bonus tip – it’s a great way to overcome the self-centered focus that so easily trip us up!
these are all good.. number 4 yuppppppp lol
12 of the 13 I am awesome at (not patting my own back) but number 10 has plagued my advancement by far. A decision, even a wrong one, at least propels movement. Indecision sinks the boat. This was a great post. Thank you.
I’ve been reading you’re blog for about a month, and while I’ve liked all of them, this is one I’m going to save and print out. The same goes for your previous post regarding teamwork. Both seem extremely useful not only for “official” leaders but also those who leads by example and action.
Just be yourself.
great piece and I see so many of these in my coaching – great checklist for me to follow!! No.2 is incredibly common (I find)
Thanks for sharing, will be of great value to coach new leaders and others to grow and succeed, seeing the story from outside with your points in mind.
Certainly a good read… too often we target only for the big wins forgetting that each win will give boost to the team and make them ready for the big win…
Everybody has there own experiencew though
Excellent post! My biggest struggle seems to be number 12. Names are huge! There have been a couple times when I didn’t remember someone’s name after having interacted with them on several occasions. At that point I was embarrassed to ask. Do you have any tips for improving in this area?