Don’t Fall into These Leadership Traps

leadershipWith a fresh year dawning, business leaders and entrepreneurs are setting about improving their leadership style, helping their teams succeed, and positioning their businesses for growth.

In a recent Forbes post, contributor Scott Edinger identifies seven characteristic pitfalls leaders should absolutely avoid in 2014.

Edinger begins by noting there are times when all leaders need to address their areas of weakness, particularly when they begin to overshadow a person’s strengths in their chosen role.

Poor Role Models

Leaders, through their values and vision, are called upon to be the exemplars of what makes their organization great. But many leaders aren’t positive role models, say Edinger, and don’t inspire those under them to achieve more.

“They need to walk their talk and need to talk their walk.”

Poor Interpersonal Skills

At some point in our careers, we have encountered leaders who were technically brilliant, but came off as abrasive or rude. Edinger warns that leaders lacking emotional engagement with others can create negative working environments for those around them.

Neglecting Bench Strength

Part of the responsibility of a leadership role is helping others improve through coaching and mentoring. When leaders fail to prioritize staff development, “it creates disengagement among individuals as they feel they are not being invested in.”

Being Close-Minded

In his consulting business, Edinger often encounters leaders who smother innovation in their own organizations because they are disinterested in exploring new ideas or processes.

Actively shutting down suggestions from others stifles forward progress.

Lacking Positive Energy

Employees are fueled by a leader who can commit to a vision and meet challenges with a positive attitude, says Edinger. “Even in a neutral state, a leader who is too often phlegmatic can come across as apathetic.”

Don’t be afraid to let your passion show. It can be a great motivator for your employees, especially when deadlines are tight, and frustrations are running high.

Building Silos

Sharing goals, teamwork, and collaboration isn’t just a business buzzword strategy. It’s critical for continued and future success in your organization.

“Leaders who don’t take into account their influence on others, and think only of what their team needs, are too often not acting in the best interest of the whole organization.”

Failure to Paint a Compelling Picture of the Future

If you can’t clearly communicate your vision to those under your leadership, you risk demotivating even your most dedicated employees. “Without a clear strategy and direction for employees, individuals become mired in tasks and drift from the mission.”

Avoid the leadership pitfalls and you’ll be a stronger, more effective leader in the new year.

Which leadership pitfalls would you add?