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Entries from September 2010

How Not to Make the Biggest Mistakes in Leadership

15th September 2010

Harvard Business School recently held a symposium entitled Imagining the Future of Leadership and asked some of the expert thinkers on Leadership to say what was the biggest mistake a leader could make. These were:

  • Putting themselves first
  • Betraying trust
  • Being certain (acting as if you know)
  • Not living your values
  • Overly focused on your own vision
  • Personal Arrogance
  • Acting too fast (executing before evaluating)
  • Being inconsistent
  • Not being self reflective
This is all well and good, however, if you pay attention to what not to do you are more likely to do it. If I tell you not to think of a pink elephant the one thing you will do is think of a pink elephant!!
There are thousands of books on Leadership, which would probably take a lifetime to read, and numerous development programmes. Today most managers, aspiring leaders and well established leaders struggle to take time out to read these books or attend the relevant development programme. So, with the aim of keeping things simple I’ve come up with my own top 5 things to do to stay on track as a leader:
  1. Know your values and live by them; these will guide your decision making and if you live by them you are more likely to be consistent and authentic. It’s also important that they match with the organisation you are working with
  2. Be clear about your vision; both your personal vision and that for the organisation or area of the business you are working in. Pursue this and take others with you.
  3. Not knowing is OK; in a world where change is constant you need to be open to change and agile in adapting to the environment. Not knowing provides you with an opportunity to explore and experiment to find the best possible solution.
  4. Be passionate about your business; love what you do and consider all your stakeholders first. Without them there will be no business!
  5. Be reflective; evaluate your decisions before acting in haste, sometimes slowing down a little can help you speed up. Take time out to reflect on how you are doing, learn form your mistakes and build on your strengths. If you make it a habit it will take only minutes.
How well would you say you applied these?
Where is the opportunity for growth for you?
What can you start doing differently tomorrow?
‘ To get others to come into our ways of thinking, we must go over to theirs, and it is necessary to follow in order to lead.’
William Hazlitt
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