You deserve to enjoy the benefits that come with being a leader. However, it’s not always easy to live up to the expectations of others. And the reality is that sometimes you’ll make mistakes.

Leadership mistakes can result in losing your successful advantage. However, if you use the right strategy to fix your mistakes, recovering from them becomes much easier.

Here are 5 common leadership mistakes and how to correct them

1. Ignoring difficult responsibilities

This is one of most common leadership mistakes, especially for leaders who have been promoted from within the organization. Don’t fall into the trap of always telling those you lead what they want to hear.

Leadership isn’t going to be rosy all the time. You’ll face difficulties from time to time. The worst thing you can do is shy away from the tough decisions and responsibilities.

Tough lessons are hard to teach, but they’re an important part of effective leadership. Failing to take action essentially makes you look like a pushover and reduces your credibility and power.

Put on a brave face and show why you were chosen to lead in the first place.


Do you need to reprimand someone? Avoid putting it off. Get right to it and remind the person of your expectations. When this is done correctly, it isn’t necessary to worry about hurting their feelings. When they recognize you’re coming from an honest place, they’ll eventually accept and respect your openness.

If you’ve been promoted and now lead your former peers, you have to step up fast and teach tough lessons instead of ignoring them. You might be surprised by how easily your actions or lack taking action impacts the rest of the team.

You were selected as a leader for a reason. Keep that reason at the forefront of your mind and do what’s expected, even when it’s hard.

2. Avoiding the truth

Avoiding the truth is one of the worst leadership mistakes. Sometimes, avoidance is accompanied by lying, especially when you’re at risk of or have been caught.

The minute you start lying, you set yourself up for a fall. You’ll also lose the trust of those who matter to you including your team, colleagues, peers, family and friends. After all, if they’re unable to believe what you say, how can they expect you to lead successfully?


Tell the truth at all costs. Be truthful so you can be respected and trusted as a leader. It doesn’t matter if this makes you unpopular, but it increases trust in you.

Timing is important. It helps to choose an appropriate time and place to be truthful with someone, especially if you’re saying something upsetting.

3. Compromising your values

It’s important to have solid values as a leader. Your inability or lack of desire to uphold your values makes it appear as if you lack integrity. If that’s the case, you’ll have a hard time getting people to rely on you.

It’s also tempting to dish out advice and not use it yourself. It gets awkward over time if you’re always giving advice that you aren’t taking! Those you lead will start questioning your character if you keep doing the opposite of what you’re telling them to do.


Critically evaluate your values and define what matters to you. What do you value most? Is it hard work? Is it honesty? Whatever it is, look yourself in the eye and commit to living these values.

Each morning, promise yourself that you’ll live according to your values. You’ll find that you won’t even need to tell anybody what those values are. People will know what you stand for by just observing your actions.

Leading by example is the best way to earn respect and increase trust in you. It shows that you fully believe in what you profess. It also allows others to see that you’re genuine and trustworthy.

If you’re unsure about the advice you’re giving, avoid giving it! If it isn’t good enough for you to take, dishing it out to somebody else doesn’t make sense.

4. Feeling indispensable

Now that you’ve gotten to the top, it’s easy to start feeling indispensable. However, avoid getting into that mode as much as possible. Even if you’re the first person in your position, you certainly won’t be the last!

Additionally, keep in mind that your team is as strong as its weakest link. Therefore it’s extremely important to recognize the input of each team member. This is the best way to ensure commitment and dedication to you as their leader.


My assumption is that you got into your leadership position by merit. So it’s important to remember how you got there in the first place.

Also pay attention to your performance metrics. What’s required for you to maintain your position? Keep track and recalibrate when necessary.

While you enjoy the recognition gotten from leading a successful team, remember that you didn’t get there alone. So it’s absolutely important to share that recognition with your team members.

You can also use a group forum to recognize the contributions of specific team members. This allows them to feel worthwhile and helps them gain the respect of their peers.

5. Lack of (or poor) communication

This leadership mistake is even worse if you’re leading the team that helped you become a leader in the first place! Keeping the lines of communication open and encouraging open communication are the best ways to lead effectively. All people in your team need to hear from you collectively and individually.

You also need to avoid ignoring the opinions of others. You may have admirable leadership traits, but don’t forget the team that supports you. It’s important to value the opinions and ideas of others, and especially those you lead.


Regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, keep your team members engaged and informed.

Schedule regular meetings with your team. Avoid having meetings only when there’s an issue at hand. Team members like to feel connected with what’s going on.

Foster an environment where your team members feel comfortable approaching you. Allow them to feel like you want to hear from them.

Showing continued belief in the team makes it easier to gain and keep their trust. So ask them for ideas and brainstorm solutions with them as much as possible.

Thank team members for their input even when you receive an idea that isn’t popular or feasible. Remind them that one idea sparks more ideas.

Your turn

It’s time to step fully into your role as a leader! Embrace this and work on improving your leadership skills because sooner or later you’ll be faced with applying them. You want to be ready so you can easily lead others in a positive direction when the time comes.

If this is your first leadership role, you’ll realize it’s a work in progress. No two days are the same. And each experience requires a different approach. Avoid these 5 common leadership mistakes and adhere to the fixes. That way, you can adequately equip yourself to lead successfully.

(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

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