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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

6 mistakes that can derail your advancement to a leadership role

Many people aim to climb the leadership ladder and advance to senior leadership roles.

The shift from technical or business expert to first-time leader is challenging. Many people fail because they lack the necessary training, support and mentorship. Believe me when I say that I know this from a personal, tough life experience.

Here are six typical mistakes made by new leaders, preventing them from succeeding:

1) They believe they have all the answers

When technical specialists are appointed to leadership roles without the necessary management abilities, they assume their technical expertise will be enough. In my experience, however, other team members end up feeling uninvolved and uncommitted. Make sure you learn the management fundamentals, it’s not rocket science and there are a load of excellent books on topics like expectations, feedback, performance management, one-to-ones, etc.

2) You're too uninvolved

As a leader, you're responsible for establishing goals, setting the vision and motivating the team. Based on my personal experience, people are unaware that each promotion brings more work, not less. When leaders make this mistake, they become very uninvolved.

3) You're over-involved

Remember that you don't have to be involved in everything just because you're an expert. It is your responsibility to lead the team, not complete the task. There may be occasions when you should get involved, but you need to learn when it is necessary to do so.

4) You behave more like a friend than a manager

It's okay to be friendly, but ensure that your relationship with your co-workers does not influence your judgement or decision-making abilities.

Too often, people are thrust into leadership positions without the necessary preparation, and they struggle.

5) You create distance

When you create distance between yourself and your team, it's more difficult for them to feel involved. When teams grow disengaged, productivity suffers.

6) You micromanage

Micromanagement suffocates productivity. I've encountered many leaders who don't strike the right balance between providing their team with enough freedom to perform tasks independently and monitoring them to see how they're doing and whether they need help.

TAKEAWAY: Making the transition from team member to team leader is difficult. Remember it is your responsibility to engage, motivate and assist your team. Avoiding these six mistakes will smooth the way for you.


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