The 10 Top Things to Avoid As a Leader

office worker trying to avoid argument

by Duncan Brodie

Being a leader when you are on the outside looking in might seem like it is pretty straightforward.

Yet leading is one of those areas where there is a huge difference between perception and reality.

Now I am sure that you want to do your very best as a leader. At the same time, you will make mistakes from time to time. In fact, if you are never making any mistakes you are probably playing it safe.

There are however certain things you want to avoid as a leader, and here are my top ten:

Being a bully

Of course you want to challenge your people and bring out the very best in them. However, being a bully or putting excessive and unreasonable demands on others is not a good trait for success as a leader.

Having to be right

Leading is really not about you. It’s your ability to bring out the best in others that sets you apart from everyone else. Confident leaders know that they are not the expert in everything.

Ignoring what needs attention

No organisation is perfect. There are always going to be challenges that need to be tackled and resolved. Sticking your head in the sand does not achieve anything. It just means that small issues can easily escalate into bigger problems. It also results in people losing confidence in you.

Compromising on integrity

There might be many temptations put in front of you. If you are clear that integrity really matters then temptations are all they will ever be.

Passing the buck

You are paid and rewarded well as a leader. With this reward comes responsibility. Accept this and don’t pass the buck when things go wrong.

Talking too much and listening too little

We were all given two ears and one mouth. Yet we can easily become so obsessed with getting our point across that we fail to listen. Being a great listener will set you apart as a leader.

Focusing on you

Whether you like to admit it or not, the minute you start to focus on you and not on what you are expected to deliver, you are on the slippery slope. You will stop taking decisions in the interest of the organisation and start to take decisions based on what is best for you.

Telling and expecting

There is a place for a telling style of leadership, usually in cases of real emergency. On the other hand, simply telling and expecting people to respond is rarely a good long term strategy.

Having favourites

It is tempting to favour people just like you. Trouble is you isolate others. Aim to treat everyone professionally as a minimum.

Over-promising and under-delivering

Leaders are judged on results. Don’t set up yourself to fail by over promising and under delivering.

About the author

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements works with accountants, health professionals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. With 25 years business experience in a range of sectors, he understands first hand the real challenges of managing and leading in the demanding business world.