MISTAKE NO. 1: Believing that employees work smarter (or harder) when they fear their manager or supervisor.
Fear often motivates people to act busy and committed, but you'll inspire extraordinary performance by being the manager people want to please. "Bully tactics don't make great leaders", says the U.S. Army. History proves it. General Dwight D. Eisenhower liberated Europe from Nazi tyranny, leading the largest global force in modern times. The Army's chief leadership manual states that "General Eisenhower could have tried to bend everyone to his will and his way of thinking; he was the boss, after all. Instead he created a positive organizational climate that made best use of the various capabilities of his subordinates. This kind of work takes tact, patience and trust."
MISTAKE NO. 2: Not having 100% faith and trust in your people.
Great leaders hire for more than just skills, they seek people whose vision they believe in, and can envision possibilities they may not see. William McKnight, leader of 3M Company's historic growth, gave employees the freedom to spend up to 15 percent of their workday on anything that interested them. The result? Among their many breakthroughs was 3M's "Post-it-Notes" -the third biggest office supply seller of all time.
MISTAKE NO. 3: Believing that people resist change, and want nothing more than to remain in safely within their comfort zone.
People are natural things (on the inside), and never stop changing. It's a different story though, when managers attempt to impose change from the outside-in. Why? The key to organizational change is human growth. For adults, it means pursuing a higher good -a chance to make a lasting impact or a real difference through our work. Without it, leadership instincts reserve our talents for more noble undertakings.
To jump-start change, start from the inside-out. Begin with a winning narrative, where the lives of both the team and customers will be better off. These are goals that hit home. They get hearts and minds on task. It's humanity helping humanity -a connection to something far bigger than themselves in the work they do.
MISTAKE NO. 4: Not giving credit when credit is due.
Research conducted at the University of Iowa by famed neuroscientist, Dr. Antonio Demasio, offered proof that rational thinking without emotion is neurologically impossible. Simply put, performance peaks when hearts and minds work in unison. It all boils down to this: Effective leaders know that if you consistently give little or no credit for a job well done, your team's ability to make effective choices and exercise good judgment starts to wither on the vine. You choke-out the very source of new ideas and solutions that pay big dividends. On the other hand, gestures like giving praise for good work, or acting on employee concerns may seem small at first glance, but could very well become your fast track to the top.
MISTAKE NO. 5: Hiring an army of coaches and trainers to talk your people out of an organizational climate that the company has "managed" its way into.
Effective leaders are aware that "actions speak louder than words". Sure. Verbal communication still matters. But what matters most is how their actions shape the workplace "climate". It makes the difference between the team just working to get a paycheck, or being the outstanding performers who are committed to being the best. This natural inclination is the key to your firm's capacity to grow, change, improve and excel.