Savvy Leaders Avoid These Blunders

John Krautzel
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Even natural-born leaders need to hone their leadership skills to thrive in the workplace. If you seem stuck in your position, your habits might be holding you back. A great leader is team-focused and pays attention to the people in their charge. Take a look at these common blunders that could be moving you in the opposite direction and focus on building better habits to improve your leadership skills.

Prioritizing Profits Over People

Although money is important, your long-term success depends on the people who make up your workforce. Happy employees are more productive and more likely to be loyal to your organization. Make sure that you are putting money into training, team building opportunities, perks and your work environment to show your workers that you care about their quality of life.


A great leader gives his team room to grow. This often means asking questions instead of giving answers. Help and support workers but encourage them to find their own answers and solve problems on the job. Avoid stepping in quickly whenever there is an issue, and let individuals have some control over the details of their workdays and the methods they use. Practice team building by watching for employees with leadership aptitude and providing them with leadership opportunities when available.

Neglecting Feedback

Build your leadership skills by offering continuous feedback to the members of your team. This requires your regular presence in your team's workspace, where it is easy to acknowledge successes in a timely manner and give critical feedback right when it is needed. Meet with team members regularly to discuss issues and keep email and phone communication open. Most importantly, avoid saving up feedback for a big yearly review. This doesn't foster growth and creates mistrust among your workforce if that feedback doesn't mesh with employee expectations.

Playing Favorites

You might think you're being subtle, but your employees notice when you show favoritism toward someone. Make sure that raises, perks and the best assignments are awarded based on merit instead of personal preference. If some employees seem to never be on top, offer some coaching to help those employees succeed. By regularly working to boost everyone's performance, you'll also improve your leadership skills. Your team will then become more productive and your organization more successful as everyone works together to meet goals.

Keeping Your Distance

Perhaps the biggest blunder you could make is not getting to know the people who make up your workforce. Leadership skills include people skills, and it is important that you build a relationship with the individuals you manage. Learning about career goals helps you plan assignments and training opportunities accordingly. Be sensitive to employees' personalities and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Be understanding and flexible when someone has problems outside of work and listen to and support workers who are going through a tough time.

Grow your leadership skills by substituting good habits, such as continuous feedback, relationship building and coaching, for common blunders. What are some good habits that you hope to develop to improve your own leadership abilities?

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