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Are You the Best Leader You Can Be? 5 Things Employees May Not Tell You
  • 11 August 2016
  • Eric Michaels

Are You the Best Leader You Can Be? 5 Things Employees May Not Tell You

Every business needs a great leader in order to succeed. When you launch a company, everyone, including your employees, investors, and partners, believes you will become that person, even if it takes time. To get there, you should be making constant improvements in your leadership skills. Here are five common mistakes you could be making that your employees may never mention:

1. You have unrealistic enthusiasm.

Entrepreneurs thrive on enthusiasm, and this energy can inspire employees to do their best work. However, enthusiasm without results can seem empty when employees are struggling with ownership through the early phases of a company's life. Small business owners should consider tempering their ebullience when the situation does not merit it.

By all means, celebrate your accomplishments when you achieve them, but make sure your employees have some stake in these victories. Otherwise, it can seem like you are out of touch, and employees may interpret this attitude as a lack of seriousness.

2. You have a work ethic that seems lacking.

Small business owners put endless amounts of work into starting a company. However, if most of that energy is spent behind the scenes or out in the field making sales calls, your employees may only see you as you enter the workplace or feel like you are never there. Depending on the situation, you may seem lackadaisical or overworked, and it could come across as having a poor work ethic.

According to Andrew Pettigrew of the University of Oxford, the biggest mistake a leader can make is not living up to the values they believe in. While you may be doing your best work outside of your employees' sight, make sure you set a strong example in the workplace as well.

3. You are changing technology too often.

As an entrepreneur, one of your most important jobs is to provide solutions for employees in the office. This effort involves taking advantage of useful apps and new technology so they can get through daily operations without the usual stumbles. Employees always appreciate having modern tools in order to work quickly and efficiently, but there can be problems when you introduce too many tools at once.

For example, if you settle on a communication tool like Slack, think twice before you add a new app into the mix. The same goes for file storage, payroll, and other services you may use. Unless there is a clear need to tweak the technology, hesitate before replacing an existing program or you might end up creating more problems than you solve.

4. You wait too long to give feedback.

Feedback is a crucial element of the relationship between a boss and employee, but timing is important. Managers should offer pointers early on in a project so that staff members know exactly what you expect. If you were not clear in the beginning and you wait too long to correct any problems, an employee may feel like too much time was wasted.

It is rare for a leader to hear this complaint from an employee. Staff members hoping to improve their skills will focus on the feedback and what it takes to do the job better. However, you may frustrate them with the timing.

5. You never admit you are wrong.

A know-it-all will have a hard time becoming popular in any situation. In the workplace, this attitude can be ineffective for entrepreneurs who are hoping to inspire a team. Even if your level of expertise goes far beyond your staff members', taking the humble approach is the way to go if you hope to show leadership skills.

If you show a lack of confidence in your employees' abilities, they will have trouble taking on responsibility when you look to delegate tasks later. The consequences extend beyond being liked by team members. Without a strong supporting staff, you will have trouble moving your company forward.

Improving your skills as a leader takes time and dedication. For help with the finer points of running a business, executive coaching programs can give entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn while on the job.

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