As a leader in the business world, you’ll likely find yourself making certain mistakes in the course of your career or running a company. The occasional mistake is to be expected—after all nobody is perfect and certain important pieces of information can only be learned the hard way.
So long as you are identifying these mistakes and learning from them, these valuable experiences can be used to do a better job in the future. Likewise, if you learn from the mistakes of others, you can then successfully navigate around some potentially hard roads for yourself in the future.
Here are a few common errors leaders make that can easily be avoided.
Hesitance to Give Feedback
One common error that many people in leadership positions make has to do with feedback. Though it is important to have a unified, singular vision throughout any project or business, it is also important to realize that feedback can be an excellent opportunity to course-correct before something truly bad happens.
It is important to provide ongoing feedback to all your employees on a regular basis to help make sure that they are truly the best that they can be. If you see someone doing something that you don’t agree with or that isn’t conducive to productivity, you need to speak up. Tell that person as soon as possible because people aren’t likely to realize that they’re making a mistake unless it is pointed out to them. Additionally, you should always welcome feedback from your own team. If you’ve taken the steps of hiring talented, dedicated professionals to help achieve your goals, their feedback is very likely worth listening to.
Being Too Friendly
Another common error of leadership that people make across all industries is one of being too friendly with employees. As a leader, maintaining a rapport with your employees is of the utmost importance. It is said that a happy employee is a motivated employee. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat employees like they’re your best friends. You need to be able to successfully walk the line between a friend and an employer. You can still socialize with those under you, but it is okay to be firm when you have to.
Vaguely Defined Goals
The most common error of leadership has to do with a general failure to define goals. Defining goals is a great way to make sure that all your employees are on the same page and that they have the same end result in mind for a particular project at any given time. If your goals aren’t defined clearly to those under you, it can be difficult for them to know what they should be devoting their attention to. If one project is more important than another in the grand scheme of things, your employees need to know that. They’re not mind readers and shouldn’t be expected to be so.
Not Keeping Up With Changing Markets
One of the most important errors of leadership that you need to avoid is the one that only comes with financial success. When things start to go your way and your organization finds itself on a stable ground, it can be very easy to fall into a trap that stifles innovation and productivity. It is understandable to want to focus on the aspect of your business that made it a success in the first place, but never do that at the expense of innovation or the “next big thing”. You always need to be on the lookout for emerging technologies and new factors that demand your attention. Just because you’ve found a specific corner of the market doesn’t mean that the market itself won’t change. If you’re too focused on the factor that made your business a success, you could potentially find yourself left behind when the market suddenly changes and heads in a different direction.
With a focus on your existing market and an eye on the emerging markets, you can take your business from one successful milestone to another. A few common mistakes to avoid and you are all set to lead your company effectively and commendably.
About the Author: Shafat Qazi, Founder and CEO of BQE Software, is an engineer-turned-entrepreneur who created the most-awarded time billing software ever, BillQuick, while still in college. He set out to make time tracking, billing, and project management easier for engineers as well as all service professionals and continues to perfect BQE Software products hands-on today. Read his blog here.