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15 Mistakes That Are Hard to Take Back

Posted by Celene Robert

November 9, 2020

Being a leader comes with a host of responsibilities. Therefore, it’s common to make mistakes, but some can’t be taken back. For instance, berating an employee is something leaders will never forget, and it’s a mistake that’s hard to get beyond. However, no one is perfect; there is always a scope to learn and improve. Here we’ve listed 15 mistakes which are hard to rectify, along with tips on how leaders can get beyond issues if they make these errors.

1. Failing to Give Constructive Feedback

Not supporting employees or providing them with regular feedback can degrade their performance. In addition, providing non-constructive feedback can hamper employee morale. Notice the little things about your team that you truly appreciate. Providing the right feedback can help you boost your employees’ productivity, thus growing your business as a whole.

2. Not Investing in Training

Many business leaders focus on developing their businesses, but not their employees’ skills. As a leader, you must train and empower your team to perform beyond the satisfactory level. Motivate your team to achieve more each time and work alongside them to facilitate the process. Helping your employees increase their efficiency can make your business successful.

3. Resistance to Adapt to Change

Many leaders get comfortable with their current processes and practices or are unwilling to change, especially if they received good results in the past. However, this can leave your company less equipped to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace, making your growth stagnant. Leaders need a change management plan and new business strategies to evolve with the shifting market needs. Encourage your employees to take calculated risks and learn from subsequent mistakes when market conditions demand.

4. Expecting Your Team to Be Like You

Not everyone on the team should have the same strengths and weaknesses. Expecting everyone to do the job the same way can reduce the overall performance and creativity of the team and limit room for debate, idea sharing and diverse opinions. Therefore, wanting your team to be like you can harm the progress of your company.

5. Neglecting the Importance of Communication

Interacting with people in the wrong way or failing to communicate expectations are a few of the most potentially damaging mistakes. Don't let your team productivity fall due to poor communication or improper information sharing. Create a communication system that enables your team to brainstorm ideas, discuss projects, share constructive feedback and more. Your role is to manage the team you lead in the best way, so their efficiency increases.

6. Planning, but Not Prioritizing

Planning your resources without prioritizing can lead to a waste of those resources. Creating a list that ranks the importance and impact of your employees’ tasks can help you achieve better results. You can deploy your resources effectively by using the 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle).

7. Managing Activities Rather than People

Taking on unnecessary work or failing to delegate tasks not only creates more work for you, but hinders your team from reaching its full potential. Providing guidance, oversight and feedback after delegating work can be beneficial for you and your staff. Invest in time-saving tools and outsource functions that involve repetitive tasks or specialized knowledge to save your time for revenue-generating responsibilities.

Successful leaders assign work according to the skills and interests of their staff members. They empower their teams to complete their tasks effectively so that the entire business can progress. An employee trusts a leader more who can guide them and solve their problems without criticizing.

8. Being Reactive Instead of Proactive

Not proposing and implementing solutions promptly when problems first arise can cause you to lose employees’ trust and may lead to bigger issues. Identify the processes which you can automate early, so you can begin to train employees on new skills to help them grow through this transformation. This can help you alleviate stress and anxiety caused by such transitions at a later stage by being proactive.

9. Lacking Vision and Company Goals

If you lack a clear vision, you may not achieve positive outcomes, and you could struggle to hire the right talent. Not making objectives clear or ordering people to work without sharing the reason behind the change can demotivate your team. As a leader, it's your responsibility to set the right expectations and goals for your organization in addition to holding each member accountable for reaching those benchmarks.

10. Forgetting to Motivate and Reward

Providing training to the staff to develop new skills is vital for your business' growth. Continually motivate and appreciate your employees for their excellence, whether it's the executive team or the employees who just finished onboarding. Proper employee recognition can help you promote motivation and keep them productive.

11. Making Promises You Can’t Keep

You may not be able to keep your promises if you say yes to everything or don’t know when to say no. Therefore, if you get a business opportunity, first learn the availability of your resources (time, money or people) before promising quick-fix solutions.

12. Overlooking the Importance of Building Relationships

Working in isolation or not sharing experiences can make leaders unaware of the best practices they should employ. Discussing effective leadership practices with other leaders and mentors can help you improve your team performance and build new business relationships. Get to know other leaders’ successful strategies and working styles, and use this information to help your business thrive.

13. Bad Financial Investments

Many leaders either make bad investments or lose money in an attempt to acquire large resources. Learn from these experiences to understand which investment opportunities are worthwhile. Hiring or outsourcing a CFO can help you make the right financial decisions.

14. Failure to Support and Nurture Initiatives

Blaming others or not accepting your mistakes can create a feeling of distrust among employees. Therefore, create an effective and transparent system for converting errors into learning opportunities.

15. Ignoring Complaints from Employees or Customers

Not having a monitoring system for complaints can make you lose worthy employees and customers. When someone complains, you should address the concerns as soon as possible. Improving in these areas and overcoming challenges will serve as learning experiences that can make you a better leader in the future.


Celene Robert
Celene Robert

Celene heads up the marketing at Escalon. Passionate about helping companies grow their business, she spends her days finding new ways to bring essential business services to startups, SMBs, and growth-minded companies. Based in the PNW, she’s the proud owner of 8 pairs of Birkenstocks and a sassy, cuddly cat.

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