Getting people to look up to you as a leader takes more than just a title. Here are three pitfalls to avoid as you work towards achieving your full potential as a leader.
Failing to make the transition from individual contributor to leader-Great managers are known for their ability to inspire others into action. Yet all too often, leaders fail to make the transition from “me” to “we”. So much so, that I devoted an entire chapter to this topic in my book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around. Sometimes great people are promoted into management without the necessary skills to lead. If that weren’t bad enough, their organizations do little to help them transition into their new role.
In this day and age of cutbacks, employees can no longer rely on their companies to give them the training and support they need to be successful leaders. You have to take matters into your own hands. Read as many books on leadership as you can. Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal to improve your overall understanding of business. Take courses and seminars to improve your knowledge on leadership. Find a mentor or a coach who can help you quickly boost your performance. Don’t know how? Read this.
Lack of consistency-Being a great leader one day and a lousy leader the next is confusing to your people, not to mention those above you who are in the position of providing or holding back your next promotion. Here’s how this often plays out. You scold an employee for being tardy, while you allow others to come in late. You give several employees “on the spot” bonuses for doing something right and you fail to do so for others who have done the same. Like it or not, every employee knows what the other has gotten. You don’t need to explain your actions. You just need to be consistent.
Minimal communication-I once worked for a boss who thought we could read her mind. We were expected to do exactly what she wanted us to do even though she never told us what this was. Imagine how frustrating it was to work for someone like this. Don’t be her. Share your expectations with your people and help them achieve the objectives you have clearly communicated to each and everyone.
Yes, there are some natural born leaders, but most leaders didn’t come out of the womb that way. Great leaders can be developed. However, it takes, time, commitment and the smarts to know you can’t do it alone.
What other pitfalls would you add to this list?