No leader is perfect – they make mistakes like everyone else.
But what are the leadership mistakes that result in long-term problems or outright failure?
These are to be avoided at all costs, so know the pitfalls beforehand! Here are the main reasons why leaders fail, and some tips on avoiding common mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Losing Confidence
“Imagine a sports team with a demoralized coach or a military general who doesn’t believe he can accomplish the mission. That doesn’t bode well for the outcome, no matter what the objective may be. Lots of leadership mistakes happen due to the evaporation of confidence, so don’t let that happen to you.” – James Sun, Founder of Beautytap
“You need to have a huge amount of confidence to lead a business, and that confidence must be sustainable over time, too. Many companies start strong and founders are on cloud nine for a few months before they hit a rough patch and get derailed. You need to remain confident no matter what obstacles you encounter.” – Mike Clare, CEO of Mood Health
“It seems irrational to be confident and strong headed after a failure or misstep, but that’s actually when you need to be the most self-assured. It sends a message to your team that you can handle any situation and aren’t phased by minor setbacks.” – Dan Potter, Co-Founder of Craftd London
Mistake #2 – Avoiding Feedback
“You can instantly tell if a leader is equipped for the job based on whether they actively seek out feedback, and how they interpret it. You can bet that a leader won’t last long if they dodge feedback or ignore it when it’s right in front of their face.” – Dylan Trussell, CMO of Culprit Underwear
“Leadership is about solving problems. The day your people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” – Colin Powell, Former US Secretary of State
“Here’s the thing about feedback – you can run, but you can’t hide! Every leader will be confronted with feedback eventually, whether they like it or not. They need to be prepared to address it and make changes if needed. If not, that’s asking for big problems.” – Lucas Nudel, Founder and CEO of Pride Palace
Mistake #3 – Getting Too Comfortable
“Comfort can be a major killer for otherwise competent leaders. The ‘hard part’ of being a leader is never truly over, and you need to keep challenging yourself to keep your skills as sharp as can be.” – John Wu, Co-Founder of Gryphon Connect
“We all know how easy it can be to start slacking or letting things slide when times are good and there isn’t a lot of pressure to perform. However, this is a dangerous situation to be in as a leader, because things can turn around 180 degrees in the blink of an eye.” – Lori Price, Co-Founder of PixieLane
“Success is a terrible teacher. It tricks smart people into believing they can’t lose.” – Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft
“Even if you’re hitting all your targets and achieving success by every metric, you can never let yourself off the hook in a leadership position. You’re the one that everyone else is looking to for guidance and as a role model. That means staying sharp and focused on the road ahead no matter what.” – Ramin Oskoui, Director of Growth Marketing at NURO
Mistake #4 – Disrupting Team Dynamics
“Your team is everything in business – it’s never a one-person show. Unfortunately, many so-called leaders forget this important fact, and try to handle everything themselves. You can imagine how that ends – not well for anyone!” – Yuvi Alpert, CEO and Founder of Noemie
“Simply look at how teams are structured and how they function to get an idea of how leadership is performing within an organization. Dysfunction in a company generally stems from the top, and leaders that can’t manage teams effectively are destined to fail.” – Riley Burke, Growth Marketing Manager at Ohza Mimosas
Mistake #5 – Not Changing with the Times
“A leader is supposed to be the one who welcomes change and brings a company into the future as things develop and evolve within their industry. Clinging to the old way of doing things is a sure sign that a leader will not last long.” – Courtney Buhler, CEO and Founder of LashPro Academy
“A brief look back at 2020 tells us so many useful stories about leadership, success and failure alike. The common thread among the failures was a lack of willingness or readiness to pivot when everything changed at once.” – Hector Gutierrez, CEO of JOI
“I’m not saying you have to constantly be on the cutting edge of new technology and management techniques to be a successful leader. However, you can’t be stuck in the past either. Steady advancement and adjustment is the best formula.” – Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition at MitoQ
Leadership is not about achieving perfection – that’s an impossible pursuit. Instead, avoid these common mistakes and stay focused for the long haul to achieve monumental success in business.