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4 common leadership slip-ups

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in Leadership Skills

In the face of overwhelming change, it’s easy to see why senior managers retreat to mechanisms that help them avoid anxiety and discomfort. But those mechanisms, by definition, thwart leadership.

Here are four common mistakes:

  1. Leaders don’t set clear expectations. When they announce big new goals, they don’t spell out practical, doable plans or specify who’s accountable. Typical traps in­­clude setting too many goals and no plans.
  2. Bosses excuse subordinates from working toward overall goals, allowing them to retain a myopic focus on their units.
  3. Executives agree to a deeply flawed contract: Experts promise to deliver and implement a “product” but don’t include measurable gains.
  4. Senior managers overprepare. After challenging employees, they accept the response “Yes, but first we need … ” Endless preparation produces nothing.

Reversing these traps will help you accelerate change.

— Adapted from Four Mistakes Leaders Keep Mak­­­­ing,” Robert Schaffer, Harvard Business Review.

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