The 5 Worst Mistakes Leaders Make

You’re more likely to succeed if you stop doing stupid things.*

Ostrich 

Old habits don't die. They sneak back after you assume they're gone.

The 5 worst mistakes you need to avoid

#1. Passivity in the face of recurring frustration.

Speak up if your meetings aren’t useful, for example. You don’t have to insult people by saying this meeting sucks.

Sprinkle aspiration on frustration.

Declare an aspiration with a question. For example, “How could we make our meetings more engaging?” (Efficient, useful, or fun)  

#2. Frowning.

Your think face is a stink face.

You’re a genius if you can smile and think deeply at the same time.

You probably frown more than you realize.

Some of us look like we’re at a funeral when we’re having a good time. Who knows? Something could go wrong at any moment.

Anticipated unhappiness creates unhappiness.

Tip: A friend taught me to raise my eyebrows. (I’m working on it.)

#3. Declaring victory too soon.

Old habits don’t die. They sneak back after you assume they’re gone.

Constant progress is the only thing that defeats old habits.

The moment you think you’ve arrived, you start dying.

#4. Pretending to be the Lone Ranger.

Top performers always build relationships with people who elevate their game.

You need mentors, coaches, advisors, and relationships with people who outshine your achievements.

If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you need a new room.

#5. Justifying bad habits.

“Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about.” Solomon Short

High performers aren’t helped by your bad habits. They struggle to overcome them.

Bad habits leaders justify:

  1. Blathering on and on ad infinitum ad nauseam. People are tired of your two cents.
  2. Knowing how to improve everything.
  3. Interrupting.
  4. Helping too much. (The goal of helping is enabling, not more helping.)
  5. Tolerating high performing jerk-holes.

Note: If you ask your team, “Do I talk too much?”, they’ll lie.

What are some of the worst mistakes leaders make?

What’s one of the smartest things you’ve learned to do?

*Inspired by Stan Endicott