What if there was a place where you could harness the biggest lessons that some of the most influential business leaders have learned and use them to your advantage?
Thanks to Mike McHargue, there is.
McHargue interviewed top business leaders — and one high-ranking judge — and compiled all their lessons into a helpful, easy-to-read book titled Rookie Mistakes: Advice From Top Executives On 5 Critical Leadership Errors. McHargue boils their experiences down to 5 mistakes that limit impactful leadership and success in business, providing readers with real-life applicable solutions.
And if you think you’re immune, then think again. Despite what the title may say, these mistakes don’t just affect business novices.
Listen, entrepreneurs are bound to make mistakes, and, like all humans, most of us won’t stop making mistakes. Some of these lessons are harder to learn than others, but that’s how we improve, make new mistakes, and continue to grow. The beauty of it all is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel and fall into the same traps that others have fallen into. Thanks to McHargue, you can learn from those who came before you.
#1. Allowing Confusion
Let’s see if this sounds familiar: You’re introducing a new system at the office, and you highlight it in your regular weekly meeting. Satisfied that you’ve explained away all concerns, you send your team on their way. One week later, you’re back in your meeting, fielding confused questions and trying to ease the tension over a seemingly simple project. This unpleasant situation is actually instilling deeper concerns for your team. Their confidence in you is dwindling, and their support for the project isn’t far behind.
Confusion is a part of any group dynamic. We don’t all think alike, and, therefore, it’s difficult to communicate effectively to everyone. However, if you allow mass confusion to reign supreme, then dedication, support, and trust will plummet. Remember, it isn’t always a matter of employees digging in their heels and remaining loyal to the way they have always done things. Sometimes, you just didn’t explain it well.
#2. Failing To Connect With Your Team
Relationships between bosses and those they lead can be tricky to navigate. Many experts point to the need for strong, personal connections with your team. To build rapport, ask them about their day and bond over common events like the Super Bowl or a local festival. But you also have to set limits, too. Leaders have to make tough decisions that may ultimately impact the lives of those they are leading, and distancing themselves from potentially sticky situations may make it look like they’re intentionally keeping their employees at an arm’s reach.
But overcorrection isn’t a solution. You have to connect with your employees and foster a space that’s open to collaboration, discussion, and connection. If you expect your employees to perform at a certain level, then they need to feel supported and trusted through intentional interactions.
#3. Running Truly Awful Meetings
We’re looking at you, text-heavy PowerPoint user. Never forget why you’re holding a particular meeting. You’re taking time from the floor to connect and engage with your team, so if your meeting falls flat, you’re literally letting money walk out the door. So stop wasting time! No one pays attention in unengaging meetings. No one leaves inspired. Get your points across in a clear manner, open the room up for discussion if needed, and keep it light (when applicable, of course). Test out the waters a bit before you fully commit, and never have a dull meeting again! Isn’t that what we all really want, anyway?
#4. Hiring Too Fast And Firing Too Slow
The people you choose for your team speak volumes about your business. They’re the ones answering the phones, doing most of your client-facing work, acquiring new leads, and even serving your customers. You need top-notch people to fill these slots, and you can’t get away with simply hiring the first name off the stack of resumes — not that anyone would really do that.
But when you hire just to fill a position or wait to fire because you can’t afford to lose a body in that position, you should think about what you’re really asking of the rest of your team and business. You’re taking a big risk in assuming the person you hired or are failing to fire will learn quickly or turn their act around. And if they don’t, you’re leaving a landmine in the middle of your team. This person could prompt others to quit, send toxic shock waves throughout your business, or simply make more work for the entire team. You have to be both quick and decisive with the draw.
Also, keep in mind that many of the problems with ill-prepared employees originate in your training. Creating a company culture that fosters ingenuity, communication, and training is key to having successful employees — regardless of their flaws.
#5. Failing To Give And Receive Feedback
No one wants to hear what they’ve been doing wrong. It’s part of human nature, but it’s also the only way you grow. Identifying your pitfalls and the traps you set for yourself helps you develop a greater understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and how you can use them to better yourself. Remember earlier when we were encouraging you to connect with your team in an appropriate manner? You can get started on this relationship by being open about where you need to grow. Ask for feedback, and get to work!
But there’s another side to this coin. Leaders need to provide good, honest feedback to their team. It’s the only way your team and your business can grow! To modify a well-known analogy, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, but that link can never be fixed if you don’t address it. Be honest and helpful, and you’ll start to see growth.
It’s Time To Grow
Admitting you’ve made a mistake isn’t easy, but when you put in the work and adhere to disciplined correction, you’re bound to see success. Don’t wait any longer. You can get started today, and McHargue’s book is the simplest way. Even though we’ve outlined McHargue’s points in this compact blog post, you can’t be truly inspired or gain the helpful insight you need without reading or listening to McHargue’s book. Check it out on Amazon.