Top Mistakes Executive Leaders Make and How To Avoid Them

What common mistakes do executive leaders make and how can you resolve them while preventing them from happening again? Thomas Dulek discusses.

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Being offered and accepting a promotion into an executive leadership role is what most professionals hope will happen. Unfortunately, far too often a promotion is granted to the wrong individual or an external candidate is hired when they have not yet cultivated strong leadership skills. In a perfect world, there would be training and mentorship before taking on a more senior position. Instead, it’s often trial by fire. Take a look below at common mistakes made by executive leaders and what you can do to avoid them.

Making Changes Too Quickly

When a new leader takes the helm, they are sometimes tempted to establish new policies and procedures in an effort to achieve desired outcomes and transform areas that have been problematic in the past. Sometimes implementing too many new rules and changes can complicate things. This can result in a loss of productivity, which is the opposite of your goal. When taking on a new role, it’s best to keep things as they are and work collaboratively to determine what changes need to be made as time progresses. Unless there is a mandate specifying otherwise, it’s best if change happens over time. You have a better chance of maintaining a high team morale if you take your time. Once you identify opportunities for improvement, be sure to keep new processes simple.

Expecting Perfection

Newly appointed executive leaders often feel like they have to prove themselves. While it’s fine to be ambitious and it’s necessary to do your best, you must also recognize that there is no such thing as perfection. This means the employees you supervise should be expected to do a great job, but they will have flaws. Yes, there will be superstars among the group, but the average employee will require coaching and performance development. There’s no way around this fact and expecting perfection will only frustrate everyone, including yourself. A great way to avoid the issue of perfectionism is by establishing goals and working towards them together. Cultivating a team environment where there is accountability and ownership among everyone involved can help to advance business objectives in a way that’s realistic.

Becoming an effective executive leader is a process. While you can certainly hit the ground running, thoughtful consideration should be given to the philosophies employed and the methods used to advance business objectives.             

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