What makes a great leader in the 21st century? I’ve met many, and they stand out. They are women and men who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday,but also for the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow.
Leaders make mistakes too, just like everyone else. But when a leader makes a blunder, a lot more people take notice. I’m going to share three big mistakes leaders make – and present a more effective leadership approach instead.
Mistake #1: Putting self before others. A video blog from the Harvard Business Review highlighted some of the biggest mistakes leaders can make by featuring insights from prominent academics and business thinkers. Not surprisingly, many of the insights given pointed to putting self-interests first.
Leaders who put “self” first may become overly smitten with their own vision, stepping on others to get what they want and failing to accept responsibility for their own actions.
Effective Leadership Solution: Forbes.com contributor Sandy Styer says in an article that one theme exists through all of the ten biggest mistakes named in the Harvard Business Review video blog. The leaders who make these mistakes forgot a critical thing – that they are in their position to be of service to a greater good. The remedy, says Styer, is a constant focus on service, therefore transitioning from self-orientation to service-orientation.
Mistake #2: Taking the easy way out. This encompasses a variety of actions – using the “Band-Aid” approach to apply a quick fix to a more serious problem, failing to set goals, and avoiding change (or reacting hastily to it when it’s encountered).
Effective Leadership Solution: As an Inc.com article aptly states, “The trouble is that in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire to be fought, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop.”
Using the “Band-Aid” approach – applying a quick fix to “solve” a problem – is like taking one step forward to take ten steps back. Don’t do it. An effective leader recognizes that change is inevitable. She is goal-oriented, setting realistic goals and reevaluating as necessary. She plans for the future and conquers a problem by developing strategic a strategic solution, not by sweeping it under the rug.
Mistake #3: Lacking authenticity. We’ve all met that person who has a “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde” persona, meaning he takes on one identity at work, and an entirely different one outside of the office. He says one thing and does another, fails to meet obligations, and has a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.
Effective Leadership Solution: As a Forbes.com article says, there are many theories out there about what makes an authentic leader. Most would agree, however, that an authentic leader is aware – aware of her strengths, weakness – and her emotions. An authentic leader knows when to lead with her heart and not just her mind. She’s driven by the mission and goals of her organization and focused on long-term results.
Simon Sinek, in his TED How Great Leaders Inspire Action presentation, suggests, “There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority, but those who lead inspire us.”
How do you identify a great leader? An outstanding leader isn’t someone who never makes mistakes. He’s someone who knows he’s not invincible, who leads authentically. People follow him not because they feel forced to, but because they actually want to.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Colleen Slaughter, Proud Executive Coach to the UN World Food Program, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
As an Executive Coach for Women in Leadership and Transformational Facilitator, my intention is to help leaders in positions of high influence to understand their worth at a profound level.
Supporting women leaders to truly thrive and step into their greatness, while succeeding in male-dominated industries and spaces is my native genius.
My technique and approach show you how to achieve incredible career success without compromising any part of who you are and what makes you magnificent.