Being in charge is difficult, and some people take to it more naturally than others. Even the best employee can find themselves out of their depth when placed in a leadership role. Luckily, leadership can be learned like any other skill. There are a number of common traps that many bosses fall into, and avoiding these is the first step to being an effective leader. Here are four common pitfalls to look out for.
Micromanaging is one of the most common ways in which managers undermine themselves. While it can be tempting to control every single aspect of your company, doing this will waste time and make you seem insecure. It is also demotivating for your staff as it gives the impression that you do not trust them to do a good job on their own.
2. Not listening to your employees
Being in charge might mean that you have the final say on company decisions, but ignoring your staff’s input is a big mistake. Not only do you deprive yourself of the good ideas that they are sure to have, you also make yourself seem like you are threatened by their intelligence. A boss who is secure in their role will be able to take other ideas on board without seeing it as a personal attack.
3. Being too ego-driven
Just because you are in charge doesn’t mean that you are always right. A good boss will be humble enough to admit mistakes and respond constructively to criticism. If your first reaction to having an error pointed out is to get defensive, you are probably not confident in your abilities as a leader. A boss who takes criticism in good humour and demonstrates a willingness to admit their errors is far more likely to gain the respect of their employees.
4. Trying to be everyone’s friend
A good relationship with your team is key to a productive workplace, but many managers fall into the trap of trying to be everyone’s best friend. This can be especially tempting if you’ve been recently promoted above people you have worked with for a long time. You have to accept that being in charge means introducing some boundaries. Staff will not always want to socialise with their boss because they may feel under scrutiny and struggle to relax. Be kind and friendly, but accept that you are a boss first and a friend second.