If you think your boss is some freak of nature and you’re the luckiest person alive, I’ll break it to you gently: He or she is human and will make mistakes.
The great ones rise up from their errors by A) acknowledging they made a mistake and correcting a behavior (think humility), or B) acknowledging a blind spot that needs to be addressed, then doing something about it.
Lets dive into a few prevalent leadership mistakes that even the best and smartest leaders tend to make.
1. The mistake of not giving employees a listening ear.
I recently wrote about the powerful business practice of “stay interviews.” Unlike the exit interview, this concept is predicated on listening to employees’ feedback to get fresh insight into improving the work environment that will help retain those valued employees today–not after they have emotionally disconnected and turned in their resignations. Leaders who check hubris at the door and listen authentically in this manner build trust, but even the smartest of leaders have this blind spot where they don’t leverage active listening skills to build and support culture. The message coming across to employees is that they’re not seen as important and part of the family — a critical mistake even for the brightest leaders. Continue reading →
The single most important skill of a good leader may not be what you think. Although it is important to be visionary and a strategic thinker, a new study suggests that it’s more rooted in their daily dealings with people.
According to DDI, the leader who’s mastered having successful conversations is most likely to do well steering their team and/or their business. “By the end of each day, leaders likely have had multiple conversations with a range of their constituents,” DDI’s researchers write. “Each of these interactions will collectively determine their ultimate success as a leader.” Continue reading →
There’s a dangerous black hole in your organization, and if you are in the C-Suite you don’t even know it exists. Whether you realize it or not, you have a leadership blind spot.
This black hole usually exists either right below your nose or two rungs down and, day by day, it’s sucking the life right out of your business.
Before I can shed light on this hole you are missing, I need you to understand something very, very important: You are not going to be able to lean on your go-to staff right below you to help you solve this. Not yet. Not until you get an awareness of it yourself. If you don’t understand the issue first, you will remain locked in the blind spot. I’ll explain why momentarily. Continue reading →
In the “Education Life” section of the New York Times this past spring, Duff McDonald asked the questions, “Can you learn to lead?” and “What does one learn at graduate business school?”
He went on to point out that the biggest topic in business schools today is “leadership,” then quoted a few of the lofty goals such programs espouse. Examples? “Leaders who make a difference in the world” (Harvard Business School), and “Brave leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations and markets” (Kellogg at Northwestern).
Duff then described various approaches to teaching leadership, citing Ann L. Cunliffe’s advice to include “challenges” like “thinking critically, seeing situations in new ways, being able to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity, learning from experience and mistakes, knowing yourself . . . being passionate about what you do.” Continue reading →
Global Cosmopolitans are often pigeon-holed by organizations as mobile and adaptable people, standing ready to be parachuted into the next market. But they should push back when they want to go “home” or stay put for a while and companies should listen.
Luisa, a former South American student of mine got yet another international assignment. This time, her company wanted to send her from the head office in the UK to Australia. She had been pegged as someone who could move anywhere. She’d done it before, many times. But this time was different; she wanted to stay in one place and settle for a while. Right after the birth of her second child, HR offered her a promotion in Australia. She tried to explain that she had gained many skills that she could use as a result of her mobility in the head office, but she felt tagged as easily mobile. They had given her a promotion and set up the new position, but this time, she didn’t bite. She used this as an opportunity to decide what would be best for her. She changed companies. Continue reading →