Tips from the Top - September 2018
What are the Worst Mistakes You Can Make as a Leader?
It takes a lot of smarts, experience, vision, intuition and skill to be an effective leader, CEO or business owner. But as leaders we must be mindful that our ability to make mistakes—just like everyone else—doesn’t magically disappear when we reach the C-Suite.
What’s also true is that the ramifications of high-level mistakes can be significantly greater than those made by others. That’s because, as every business leader well knows, their actions and decisions affect potentially untold numbers of employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
So it’s important to recognize and guard against the types of mistakes leaders sometimes make:
Getting caught up in a job title. Being Chief Executive Officer often means seeing your name on a letterhead, getting an office in a prime location, etc. Yet such trappings “aren’t the qualities of a real leader,” notes business author Deep Patel. What leaders really care about “is the goal at hand, and empowering those around them to do great work.”
Attempting to handle (and control) everything themselves. Every successful business is comprised of many moving parts—far too many for a single individual to handle or control by themselves. Effective leaders distinguish between what’s genuinely important and what’s better left to others to address. They don’t “sweat the small stuff,” staying focused instead on the company’s vision and plan for strategic growth.
Not owning up to their own mistakes. Refusing to acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake might be the biggest mistake a leader can make. There’s simply too much at stake for a leader not to recognize when he or she has erred, and to evade accountability for a wrong decision.
When something goes wrong, you may find that “much of the time, it can be traced right back to the top,” writes serial entrepreneur Serhat Pala. Acknowledging such a mistake “is one of the best things a leader can do to lead by example and promote accountability in a company.”
Read more on what mistakes you could be making on our blog.Read more
Can You Do What You Say?
When you are interviewing a candidate for a job, have a test they can perform to prove they can do what they say they can do:
- Have them hang a door, install a toilet or wire a complex circuit if they are applying for a construction job.
- Have them fix a known problem on a computer or configure a new system if they are applying for an IT job.
- Have them fix a faulty balance sheet if they are applying for an accounting job.
What is your “Hang That Door” test?Read more
Client relationships are like a bank account: when you do positive things for the client (visit, buy lunch, solve a problem, support a charity the client is close to...), you build savings in your account. When you run into an issue with the client, you withdraw from your savings account. If your savings account goes into overdraft, you are likely in danger of losing the client.Read more
Being Vulnerable Creates Connections
Sharing our "why" can feel vulnerable but that's what creates connections and strong bonds both with our team, our clients and our prospective clients.
If you are going into a strong growth phase, check first to see if you are "Thunderbirds are Go" or if you are heading into uncontrolled chaos.
Utilize Your Staff
Utilize the staff you have to their realistic maximum before hiring someone new.