The Top 5 Mistakes of Unsuccessful Leaders
Mistakes that don’t hurt don’t matter. The worst mistakes are the ones that hurt others. The trouble with leadership is your mistakes always hurt others.
The top 5 mistakes of unsuccessful leaders:
- Not being open to criticism.
- Trying to hide mistakes.
- Not making decisions.
- Failing to explain objectives.
- Telling people how to do things rather than telling them what needs to be done and letting them figure out how to do it.
Good and bad:
“If you don’t make mistakes you don’t make anything.”
In other words, the fear of making mistakes hinders, delays, even stops forward movement.
The best mistakes are learning experience that aren’t repeated.
The top 5 positive behaviors of great mistake-makers:
- Exploration. Good mistake-makers innovate; poor ones repeat and stagnate.
- Learning and adapting quickly.
- Enjoyment. Those who can’t learn and adapt can’t enjoy life.
- Clear perception. Willingness to make mistakes frees leaders from pretending everything’s ok. They see things as they are not as they wish them to be.
- Increasing efficiency and effectiveness as time passes.
Bonus: Humility; the behavior that makes all others effective.
The top mistake of team-leaders:
Weinzimmer and McConoughey say, “…drama mismanagement derails a leader’s ability to manage teams.” (The Wisdom of Failure)
According to Weinzimmer and McConoughey leaders contribute to overly dramatic atmospheres when they create dysfunctional harmony by:
- Bullying with intimidating tactics or demeaning comments.
- Trying to be liked by everyone.
- Insisting everyone likes each other all the time. The need to preserve the appearance of harmony leads to passive-aggressive behaviors within teams.
- Mismanaging competition within teams that leads to divisiveness.
What lessons have you learned from your mistakes?
Specifically, how do leaders inflate drama in the workplace. How can they deflate it?
Love your leadership insights….hope you don’t mind me passing them on.
Yes, so true. mistakes are necessary.
I was hoping for the “how not to make these mistakes” version of “The Top Mistake of Team-Leaders.” Any tips regarding how to curtail the mistakes on that list?
As I wrote this, I thought it was light on positive suggestions. The how not to version is coming. 🙂 Perhaps the post is: positive behaviors that help leaders avoid common mistakes.
What suggestion do you have?
I like the sound of that! When i read about mistakes i love to also read how to avoid them or do the positive version instead– like the first two lists you have here and how they relate. Since the third list doesn’t have the positive version, i would love to read more on how to manage a team and lead it successfully without resorting to behaviors that derail a leader’s progress.
“Fear of making mistakes makes leaders to derail, delays and stagnates” is truly a powerful statement. I appreciate your point that unsuccessful leaders create environment that support leaders view. I would add some more concepts here- Unsuccessful leaders have self perspective, they do not to see the things from others perspective. In fact they are not interested in. Their concern is their own progress. And that is why they like those who can support their views. Those who do not support their views or question them, are treated differently and subsequently suffer in the organizations. Such people who questions are in disadvantageous position and lag into promotional and reward practices.
I think leader should develop the power of acceptance. This makes ordinary people in great leaders. And this comes only when we accept reality, truths and believe in overall progress.
I think leaders inflate drama to show their capability and concerns. And the best way to deflate unsuccessful leaders drama is to ask for deadlines and deliverable. Superiors should ask unsuccessful leaders to come out with result and not excuses.
Successful leaders see the big picture. Bingo! Unsuccessful leaders are self-absorbed.
The temptation to sink inward, become self-protective, and work on things like image is powerful. Perhaps surrounding ourselves with strong people who tell us the truth helps alleviate this challenge.
Thanks for sharing your insights.
I would add to the mistakes about mistakes list– blaming others for your mistakes.
You can hear blame-language a mile away; it’s filled with excuses and justifications that center on the performance of others. Some are experts at this… thank you
So you’re the one to blame for this blog!!!
I’m running for cover..
I’ve met some great leaders and some horrible leaders… I think we all have.
Some thing that all great leaders I’ve met have in common are: they are open-minded, they listen to other people’s opinion, they are great learners and learn new things all the time.
The bad leaders I’ve met, or shall I call them people who tried to lead but failed? They have all been having a HUGE egos, not open to new ideas, and they want to push down the people they have around them.
If you would like to learn more about emotional leadership you can check out Leaders.com Daniel Goleman videos, great knowledge! http://leadersin.com/search?q=Daniel+Goleman
I’m taking from your comment that successful leaders are welcoming, approachable, and they adapt.
I fear the pressure to get things done closes leaders down…they focus on the outcomes and neglect the process.
Being open is a process behavior.
Thanks for extending the conversation.
Thanks for your reply. It’s not easy to be a good leader when you are under lot of pressure. You have to know yourself well and know ho you react to stress – that can prevent you from passing on your stress to others.
Very true about the mistakes though willingness to become popular become barrier in improvising actions by adapting learning from the mistakes.
Once again, the need to be liked has a serious down side. Cheers.
If I only I had a place to document all of my mistakes and what I learned from them 🙂 (It’s kind of the premise of my blog haha)
I’ve found that I am an auditory learner (though I do love to read). But I am also an experiential learner. I’m glad that I made so many mistakes from the age of 18-30 because none of them were fatal. I could still move in with mom (did for a few months when I was 25) if needed. I could still start a new business. I could live off of less than $1000 a month in a one-bedroom apartment. I could burn a few bridges even because I had time to repair them or make new ones.
So…I’m thankful that I screwed up so much at a young age and learned from my mistakes. That is the time to make as many as possible!
Thanks for sharing your story Matt. It encourages me and I think will encourage others.
Behind your ideas is the thought that there is something more important than short-term success. Some things are worth “suffering” to achieve. I get a sense of the value of purpose and meaningful mission.
I was assuming that you would be asking what other top mistakes do leaders make and that was one of them…assuming and not assuming.
Assuming that those you work with can read your mind, assuming they know your intent, assuming they automatically got going on a project because you thought about it. And not assuming that those you work with have positive intent (most do). And not assuming that people do make mistakes often caused by your processes.
But to your questions, what lessons have I learned from my mistakes–> that seems to be the truest mirror moment where I reflect who I am at my core.
And to the drama – power-focused faux leaders might stir the pot and sit back assuming that less of that mirror’s reflection is on them. It isn’t. And not dealing with the dramatic elephant in the room is just as heinous.
It might be important to not confuse stirring the drama pot with stimulating a healthy conflict–aka Pat Lencioni’s 5 dysfunctions. If the focus is on people then its drama, if the focus is process and clarifying a vision path, then it may be healthy.
I assumed you were going to list off a few top tier mistakes leaders make. You dissapointed me. Assumptions can produce disappointment. And then, I can blame those who disappoint me because they didn’t meet my assumed expectations… then I’m off the hook… I have someone to blame! I LOVE IT! Thank you, I feel so much better now. (I think I’m still a little weird from yesterdays conversation so if this doesn’t make sense, I’ll blame it on that)
We are all here for ya Dan! 😉 The buck shifts here….
Just as the only stupid question is the one not asked, the only stupid mistake is the one not learned from or the one that’s repeated.
A great list. Mistakes the self-aware manager tries to avoid. However, it is challenging when the organisation’s culture is essentially dishonest. One thing that’s certain: the same mistakes are made.
Reblogged this on thingscalista and commented:
Great article that touches on the basics of unsuccessful leaders. I recently did some research and wrote on article on the same topic. One aspect I discovered dives deeper into “trying to hide mistakes”, specifically how unsuccessful and toxic leaders try to extort a greater amount of autonomy from upper level management. As a way to hide mistakes but also to avoid having things checked upon and corrected, essentially self preservation. The best way to create a better business is to create better leaders. http://blog.datis.com/?p=6782