Leadership is a fine balance between obvious, emerging and not-so-obvious choices and trends, rendering it crucial for leaders to ensure that they are steering their companies to greatness by adopting the right choices and avoiding the below mistakes.
1. Internal Misalignment
A successful leader knows the ins and outs of his or her company, no matter the size or focus. If you want to show your people the way, you need to actually know what they do, how they think and what they aim to achieve in order for you to point them in the right direction.
Communication might comprise of a single message, but that message can be interpreted in multiple ways by various stakeholders. To ensure that your organisation is on track to meet the objectives you have set out to achieve, you need to ensure that communication is aligned.
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2. Building a brand without the culture
You’ve probably heard these three little words before but here they are again: “build your brand”. It sounds easy enough, but once you realise that your brand comprises of more than a website, business cards and a logo, it becomes complicated.
Your brand is, ultimately, a promise communicated through multiple messages shaped by various behaviours and actions in various forms.
One of the most important drivers of your brand is your employees and if your internal environment is not right, you will fail time and time again to deliver on your brand promises. Therefore, it is important to remember that building a brand also means building and maintaining a culture conducive to growth.
3. Preaching without practicing
It’s easy to preach. You just have to read a few books to become a master of business management and growth, but to actually put those things into practice is the real test of time.
When it comes to leading people, leading from the front has never been more important. You need to lead by example in order for your employees to not only have the needed guidance that will help them to succeed, but also have a leader they respect which, in turn, will drive and excite them to achieve greatness together with you.
4. Communicating from the top down
It’s fun being in the big office upstairs with a golden plate on your door and it might be tempting to run into the office every day and slam that door as quickly as possible while you sit with a steaming latte and communicate whatever you need to your right-hand man/woman who you trust to take care of it all.
This, however, is not conducive to growth or innovation. An innovative leader has an open door policy and ensures open lines of communication across the organisation, expecting all managers and leads to be open, transparent and approachable.
If you don’t ensure lateral communication in your organisation you are also blocking feedback, enabling a handful of people to control the messages that you receive which limits your ability to make informed decisions and innovate.
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5. Not conforming to environmental changes
The world is no longer as small as it used to be. Traffic is no longer an opportunity to do your make-up in the car, but has turned into a three-hour stress fest, and working nine to five is no longer just a nice hit song on the radio; it’s an arguably impossible feat in our 24/7 digital world.
As times change, your organisation has to adapt to ensure that you are creating an environment where employees can manage both work and life, thereby enabling them to be more productive and efficient.
Flexi time, working from home and social collaboration might sound like scary new-age talk and might even seem unmanageable, but the most innovative organisations are allowing their employees to roam free in order to get them to be 100% dedicated.
The reason why this works so well is because an employee that loves his or her organisation is more loyal, productive and efficient. Therefore, innovative organisations that go with the times are more profitable. After all, if you don’t trust your employees to work from home, how can you trust them with your business’s success?