Top 5 Mistakes People in Leadership Positions Make

dunceHere are my top 5 mistakes that people in leadership positions make, I don’t say that leaders make, because if you’re making these mistakes then I would challenge that you are a leader.

  • Give directions, but without purpose

We don’t just need to issue orders to our teams, telling them WHAT they should do, we also need to tell them WHY. We need to give the work a sense of importance, a purpose, and if we can do that then we will create much better engagement. If people know WHY a task is important then, in my experience they will go the extra mile in order to complete it.

Often when tasks go undone, or are late it’s because of a lack of understanding as to why it was important and why it needed to be completed on time.

Good leaders know this and they communicate this to their teams

Micro manage

Nobody likes a micro manager, yet we seem to create them at alarming rates. In my opinion Micro Management is nearly always as a result of poor leadership, its because we haven’t given clear enough direction, we have not provided the right tools or authority to do the job, or because we have given it to someone who doesn’t have the right skill levels to complete it. These are all the fault of the person in the leadership position.

Good leaders provide clear direction, the right tools and authority levels to ensure that the task gets done, and if there are any issues they provide support. Micro management is not good for either the person being managed or the manager.

Taking all the credit, or placing all the blame

Too many people in leadership positions want to take all the credit when things go well, even though it was the team that did all the hard work. They believe that it is they who are the reasons for the success not the team. Yet these same people want to place all the blame with the team when things go wrong.

One of my favourite quotes is from Arnold Glasgow “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”

Great leaders know to take none of the credit and the majority of the blame.

Don’t give positive feedback

Too often the only feedback people get is negative feedback. One manger I worked with told me that it was unnecessary to give people positive feedback for doing their job, because that what they were paid to do, we just need to provide feedback when they are not doing their jobs well. Needless to say he was one of the most hated managers in the entire organisation and no one would follow him given a choice.

Good leaders know that positive feedback is the lifeblood of improvement, and even in negative situations we should always give constructive feedback. What gets rewarded, gets repeated, so it’s in our best interest to at least recognise when people do good work, it builds a positive atmosphere, motives our staff and helps to build a winning culture.

Talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk

Nothing kills trust quicker than people in leadership positions who say one thing and do another, or even have one rule for you and one rule for themselves.

Trust is the backbone of leadership and without it is practically impossible to lead anyone anywhere, people don’t follow people that they do not trust.

Good leaders are authentic leaders, they say what they do, and they do what they say, it is the only way to build trust in the leader and in the organisation.

If you can avoid these 5 common mistakes then you can become  good leader.

If you want to know more about becoming a good leader, email me at for a free 30 minute strategy call on how to become an Inspiring Leader.

Gordon Tredgold

#Leadership Principles