Recently I was talking to a senior leader of a telecommunications company about the mistakes managers make in leading their teams.  The discussion went on for some time and in the end we identified 9 critical mistakes.  I am sure this list is not all inclusive but it is a place for you to start thinking about whether you have fallen into some of these traps.  As you read through the list, I invite you to honestly assess if you are guilty of any of these mistakes.  I will reveal 3 today and the other 6 over the next few days.  These are in no particular order. 

  1. Assuming you know what someone is thinking or how they are going to react.

How often do you think you know how someone is going to react to what you are about to say even before you say it?  Or better yet, how many times have you been talking or presenting in a meeting and someone in the room is not paying attention?  Do you automatically think that you are boring them? 

It is not all about you.  Your ego is working overtime if you think you already know what someone is thinking.  You have no idea how their day has been or what is going on in their mind.

  1. Avoiding confrontation and thinking it will go away

Do you find yourself delaying giving negative feedback?  Do you see someone being antagonistic and you turn and walk the other way?

You must address negative behavior as soon as it happens or within a very short time frame afterwards.  The problem will not go away and will eventually blow up into something even bigger.  Address the issue as quickly as possible in a calm way and be as specific as possible.  Dealing with issues as they occur will diffuse a larger problem in the not so distant future.

  1. Doing it all yourself

Thinking it is easier to do it yourself if you want it done right.  Or getting too deep into the details and not stepping back to see the bigger picture.

A good leader should set the vision for the project, identify any parameters that are absolutely necessary to follow, and then get out of the way.  Allowing teams to be creative and approach things in their own way is both motivating for them and can open the door to solutions you may not have thought possible.

I would love to get your comments on whether you have been guilty of these 3 mistakes.  Check back tomorrow for the next three.