#8 Leadership Mistakes and How to Overcome Them

Culture should not be an afterthought, and should definitely not be 'copy-paste' from another organizations

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What distinguishes a great company from an average one? It is the ability to continuously learn and adapt to changes. In leadership roles, there are always lessons to be learnt, and improvements to be made. Based on my own share of experiences, I am listing here 8 leadership mistakes and some tips to overcome them.


Culture as an Afterthought

Many times, we define the management, the goal, the structure, the work and the process and leave the culture to follow. That is a mistake. Culture should not be an afterthought, and should definitely not be ‘copy-paste’ from another organizations. It is essential to identify the culture you want to ingrain in your company, based on the vision you have set out to achieve. For example, at Happiest Minds, based on our vision & values we have built a ‘culture of gratitude’. Many of our meetings begin with a few members expressing what they are grateful about today. The reason can be personal or professional, and this practice sets a positive tone for the meeting.

Keep Digging for More Data and Analysis

Today, our life and decisions revolve around data and statistics. However, this cannot be the basis for all decision making. Sometimes it’s essential to make decisions with incomplete information. Leaders need to have a bias for action. Colin Powell has a thumb rule of that every time you need to make a tough decision, you should not have less than 40% information and not more than 70% information. We often make the mistake of thinking that we need more than 70% of information to take a good decision, but we must practice to be action oriented.

Sticking to Things which have Worked in the Past

The strategies that have made you successful in the past may not get you further ahead. As leaders we need to experiment, be open for change and try new strategies to get new results. Have a flexible mindset and keep evolving as a leader.

Being Everything for Everybody

As a leader, it is of utmost importance to build strategies on the basis of what you are good at and also what areas you will not be entering into. It is essential to decide what not to do, and focus on your expertise area and develop a niche for your company. Specializing in one field is better than being jack of all fields.

Not Admitting Mistake, Regarding it as a Sign of Weakness

When you have made mistakes, own it up and communicate to the stakeholders of what went wrong and what actions are being taken to rectify it. Admitting mistakes will not show weakness but it is the right thing to do. Infact make it a point to highlight your mistakes, because that helps in bringing the team together.

Excessive Focus on the Big Picture

It’s true that a good leader is also a visionary and must always have one eye on the big picture. But don’t forget to be mindful of the smaller tasks done by your team. Break your vision to outline small goals, and create short term milestones which will help in measuring progress.Celebrate the small victories to boost their morale.

Need-to-know Basis

Practicing transparency at all levels is essential. Share complete information with team members, giving them full context rather than working on the need to know basis. Communication is the key to growth and information should not be held. Communication should be focused on helping team members achieve their goals, understanding their concerns, and adding value to their work.

Money as the Sole Motivation Tool

Many times, leadership uses money as a way of motivating people, but surprisingly, research has shown that money is not among the top three influencers for job satisfaction. Instead as a leader, you must focus on inspiring your team through these recommended methods by a recent study published in Review of Public Personnel Administration: increasing intellectual curiosity, learning new skills and having fun.

Great leaders inspire action. It is important to priorities goals and align actions to fit in. We are working with people and not with robots.