Top 5 Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Small business owner looking concerned about her leadership skills

As a small business owner, your employees look to you as a leader. You’re expected to motivate them and help them succeed. If you’re not used to managing a team, it can be easy to fall into some common traps. Check out these five common mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Act like you know everything

It can be embarrassing to be asked questions if you don’t know the answers. But, it’s okay if you don’t know everything.

If someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, be honest. Find out the answer whether from your team or another source and get back to your employee with the correct information instead of guessing. Not only will this show that you’re humble, but it will also show that you trust your team and count on them to help you run and grow your business.

2. Micromanage your team

Since your small business is your livelihood and passion, it can be easy to think, “If I want something done right, I need to do it myself.” This thinking can cause you to burn out because you’re overworking yourself, and it can lead to micromanaging your team. When you micromanage your staff, you’re showing them that you don’t trust them to complete the work you hired them to do.

Instead, remember that you hired each employee for a reason and that they bring their own experiences and skills to the company. Trust that your team will get their work done on time.

You don’t have to be completely hands-off, though. Let your team know that you want to support them in any way you can. Be available to answer their questions and provide resources. You can work with your employees without standing over their shoulder.

3. Avoid uncomfortable conversations

If a member of your team has performance issues or is doing something inappropriate, you likely need to talk to them about it. No one likes confrontation, so it’s easy to ignore the problem and hope it fixes itself. Unfortunately, ignoring a problem only makes it worse.

Instead, have a private conversation with the employee about the issue. They might not even realize they’re doing anything wrong. One honest conversation can make a big impact and often provide a solution to the problem.

4. Misunderstand your employees’ motivation

Your team expects a paycheck, but money might not be the only thing that encourages your employees to do their best work. Instead, they might be motivated by paid time off, more responsibility, or praise.

Find out what drives your staff by simply asking them. When you know what inspires your team, you’ll be able to propel them forward.

5. Focus on the wrong thing

You want your small business to succeed, which may mean you want it to make as much money as possible. But, if you focus solely on revenue growth, you risk sacrificing the health and happiness of your team, which can lead to high employee turnover.

Instead, consider focusing on your employees and being there for them daily. When you focus on your team and their work, they’re likely to be happier and more engaged. Happy employees tend to be more productive, which could lead to more revenue. Learn more about how happy employees make your business more productive.

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