Day 250: The Rookie Mistakes That Leaders Make

Ok, so I haven’t been leading in any worthwhile capacity for particularly long. But I witnessed (and been guilty of) so many rookie leadership mistakes that I thought I’d call ‘foul’ on them.

1. Blameshifting

I have to be honest and say that I was particularly guilty of this tonight at one of our Revolution rehearsals. I’d forgotten to add our drummer to the email list for a conference coming up and so he’d never actually received the setlist! In my eagerness not to have made a mistake, I began to find excuses. That’s not cool!

Leaders need to know when they have made a mistake. More than that, they need to openly acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake. Denying the humanity in you – the part of you that is going to make mistakes does nothing but highlight an issue with pride. If in doubt, take the blame. It says a huge amount about your character – I know a few people that simply refuse outright to ever admit mistakes and the long term impact on their reputations is not positive!

2. Unwillingness to Encourage

At whatever stage in life or leadership that we’re in, I’m fairly certain we all need encouragement. As leader of a 40+ member teenage worship team, I’m realising more and more that the one of the components of leading them effectively is encouragement – especially with so many hormones flying around! Particularly in this British culture, it can be difficult to say what we really think and too easy to hold in our thoughts. There have been a few times in my life where I’ve said so many positive things to others about someone, but been too frightened to actually say it to their face! I see this all the time and it’s deeply saddening. Encourage the people around you! Encourage the people above you! Encourage the people you lead! Nothing negative can come from genuine encouragement!

3. Negativity

There is nothing worse than a negative leader. Leading a team is like standing on a hill; often, you have a greater vantage point of the big picture than those that are following you at the bottom (an interesting thought, given that we consider those who lead us as ‘above’ or ‘over’ us). Your job is to communicate bits of that view to help envision people towards the best possible outcome. It can be easy to forget that difference of perspective and rather than envision, empower and excite the people we lead with the great things we can see in the distance, we can dishearten, disengage and discourage them by talking only of the challenges that lie ahead.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

There is a difference between being negative and constructive. Instead of persistently commenting on the problems, why not find a solution? Maybe a change in behaviour on your part is what’s required. Maybe the elephant in the room just needs addressing in a tactile, diplomatic way?

I’m sure I’ll make each one of these mistakes a hundred times more before I really learn – but I’ll keep trying to improve!!

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