Bernard Marr
Advanced Performance Institute

Bernard Marr is a best-selling business author, keynote speaker and consultant in big data, analytics and enterprise performance. As the founder and CEO of the Advanced Performance Institute he is one of the world's most highly respected thought leaders anywhere when it comes to data in business. He regularly advises companies and government organizations on how to improve their performance and gain better insights from their data. 

Marr is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum, a contributor to Forbes, and has been recognized by the CEO Journal as one of today's leading business brains and by LinkedIn as one of the World's top 5 business influencers. Marr is the author of a number of best-selling books and over 500 reports and articles, including the Big Data in Practice and ​Key Performance Indicators.

By Bernard Marr, CEO, Advanced Performance Institute

This article is by Featured Blogger Bernard Marr from his LinkedIn page.

Good bosses approach their leadership positions with the best of intentions to do the right things. But mastery requires avoiding mistakes whenever possible as well.

If you’re in a leadership position — at any level of the company — you can improve your leadership skills by watching out for these 12 mistakes to avoid:

  1. Being too focused on the big picture.  Of course leaders have to have their eye on the prize, but a great leader also outlines smaller milestones for her team to reach along the way.
  2. Being too invested in the details. Another mistake is when leaders are so focused on the details that they can’t delegate and let go of some control. You can’t do everything!
  3. Choosing the quick fix over the long-lasting or sustainable solution. Almost every problem has a quick fix (if you look hard enough) but the quickest isn’t always the best. A great leader understands when the fix that may take longer to achieve will also reap more benefits.
  4. Leading from a “my way or the highway” mentality. Great leaders often foster a cult of personality around them. But if one gets caught up in the praise, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you’re right, no matter what. Maintain some humility and perspective to be the best possible leader.
  5. Not recognizing the small wins. Everyone loves to be recognized at the annual banquet or with the gold watch, but team members need to be recognized for smaller wins along the way as well to help maintain morale.
  6. Poor (or no) communication. Possibly the worst mistake a boss can make is to be non-communicative. Don’t lead from a “need to know” position; make sure your team knows everything they need to know and anything they ask about.
  7. Passing the buck. Another egregious problem is when leaders refuse to take responsibility for problems or pass the blame around. The very best leaders take the blame but share the credit.
  8. Staying up on a high horse. Some of the worst leaders believe they are better than the people they lead, or somehow apart from the team. That’s a huge mistake. Make teamwork and getting to know your team a priority.
  9. Assuming you have nothing to learn. Everyone — at any level — needs to continue their education. Especially these days, things are changing at a rapid pace in every field. Don’t assume your education is finished because you’ve achieved some level of authority.
  10. Keeping low-performers. One of the hardest task a leader sometimes has to do is letting employees go, but hanging on to low performers because the firing or hiring processes are uncomfortable is a detriment to your overall team.
  11. Discouraging innovation. Many times leaders get comfortable with the way things have always been done — but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best way. Encourage your team to innovate by giving them the flexibility to tinker and fail without threat of termination.
  12. Not having an open door policy. Above all else, leadership is about the people you lead, so it’s a huge mistake not to make time for your team members. Set aside your work, hang up the phone, and pay attention to your employees.  ​​

Originally published on LinkedIn