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TCF042: 7 COMMON LEADERSHIP MISTAKES (AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID THEM)

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher. Learning to lead is an ongoing process. All leaders make mistakes, but the best leaders learn from their mistakes and avoid making them again. In this episode, Jeff opens up about some of his personal missteps as a leader as he talks about the 7 most common mistakes that leaders make and how you can avoid making the same errors. 1. Not making time for their team

  • It’s not enough to just tell your team that you are there if they need you. You need to be present to prove that you’re there.

  • Block off time to talk to your team about worries they may have, help them with a project, and actively listen to their ideas.

  • If you are not making time on your calendar to be there for your team, you will keep pushing it off for other tasks that feel more important.

Q: How often do you talk to your manager/leader during the week? What does it feel like when you can’t get ahold of them? How can you make sure you are available to your team? 2. Being too friendly

  • It can be difficult for those in leadership positions to assert their authority if they are seen as a friend.

  • Leaders often face this challenge when they are promoted to lead a team they were already on.

  • Do not be mean, unreasonable, or harsh, but show your colleagues that you want them to respect you as a leader.

Q: How do you think a leader can strike a balance between being respected and liked? Describe a time when you saw a leader acting too much like a friend? How did it affect your ability to respect them? 3. Not Delegating Properly

  • Some managers don't delegate because they feel that no-one else can do important tasks properly.

  • Delegation takes a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly.

  • If you don’t delegate, you will not have time to focus on the "broader-view" that most leaders and managers are responsible for.

  • Leaders who fail to delegate will not give their team members the opportunity to challenge their skills and grow professionally.

  • Get to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can assign tasks to the person most suited to complete it. By assigning the right work to the right person, you will enhance your team’s productivity and performance.

Q: What percentage of your work do you currently delegate? How do you decide if a task can/should be delegated? 4. Hurrying Recruitment

  • When your team has a large workload and huge expectations, it's important to have enough people "on board" to handle it. However, filling a vacant role too quickly can be a disastrous mistake.

  • Hurrying recruitment can lead to hiring people who are uncooperative, ineffective, or unproductive.

  • Hiring the wrong person wastes time and resources and causes the rest of your team to be frustrated.

  • You can avoid this mistake by learning how to recruit effectively and by being picky about the people you bring into your team.

Q: Describe a time when you felt pressured to hire someone even though they were a bad fit. How can you, as a leader, make better hiring choices? If you are not in a position to hire people, have you ever felt pressured to make a decision too quickly? 5. Fail to give useful feedback.

  • Successful leaders know that everyone craves praise and recognition, and they take the time to generate useful and effective feedback.

  • Leaders fail when they are always screaming at their team and believe that nothing is ever good enough.

  • When leaders act this way, their team members will lie because they are afraid of them.

  • Over time, this style will lead to disengagement and turnover.


  • Leaders also fail when they spend all their time celebrating wins.

  • These leaders fear conflict.

  • Ultimately this style can also lead to disengagement.


  • Everyone wants to improve. When done well and in a helpful manner, feedback can transform an average employee into a high-performing, exceptional worker.

Q: Describe a time when you received feedback that was not helpful. What would have made the feedback better? Why do you think leaders give bad feedback? 6. The lack of Active Listening

  • One major cause of negative emotions from employees is feeling that they aren’t being heard or that their opinions or ideas aren’t being considered.

  • Poor leaders cause employees to feel like they are not being valued when they fail to follow up on concerns or follow through on promises they made.

  • Leaders don’t listen well because they...

  • lack time

  • think they have all the answers already

  • are distracted by other things.

  • lack empathy


  • The result is a loss of employee confidence, trust, and loyalty.

  • You can improve your listening skills by

  • believing in the power of curiosity. Being overly confident in your current knowledge blocks breakthrough; curiosity enables it.

  • setting aside ten minutes to listen every day.

  • developing a list of great questions and using them.


  • Successful leaders know how to listen with empathy. They are always willing to answer questions, clarify issues and respond to concerns.

Q: What does active listening mean to you? Describe a time when you felt like you were being listened to. How did it feel? How did it affect your perspective on the situation? What would have been different if you had not been listened to? 7. Avoiding conflict

  • Many leaders find it tempting to avoid confrontation.

  • Whether they mean to or not, their attitude minimizes the urgency of correcting their team’s mistakes.

  • Successful leaders tackle problems head on. They know it's best to address them quickly, when the situation is fresh.

  • When performance or personality issues go unaddressed, they will only intensify over time.

Q: How can conflict be helpful? Why do you think leaders avoid confrontation? Do you think leaders are more afraid of hurting/disappointing their team or their own boss? Why? Application Activities:

  1. Make your own list of 5-7 leadership mistakes that you have made. Have you made any of the mistakes on this list? Write down how you overcame the mistakes and schedule time in the first quarter of next year to go over these mistakes with your team so that they can be better leaders too.

  2. Are you actively making any of these mistakes? Identify which mistake you want to correct in the first quarter of next year. Go over the questions associated with that mistake again with your mentor or a close friend. Write down a plan that will help you overcome the mistake and implement a new strategy for your leadership.

  3. The end of the year is a great time to get feedback from your team. If you are willing, ask your team to review your performance in these areas. All leaders have blind spots, but giving your team the chance to expose your weak areas will allow you to address them and gain their trust. However, if you ask for feedback, make sure that you follow through on correcting your mistakes.

Connect with Jeff Instagram: @thechampionforum Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher Email: jeffhancher@thechampionforum.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-hancher/

DECEMBER 18, 2019



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