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The six most common leadership traps

Effective leadership is one of the most difficult skills to master. However, it is an essential aspect of a positive, effective and profitable working culture.

As a business leader, you’re in a position of high visibility and you set the tone for the rest of the organisation. Your employees look to you for guidance and support. Therefore, it’s important to arm yourself with the right tools and skills to be the leader your business deserves.

In her experience as principal coach at The London Coaching Group, Shweta Jhajharia has found that there are six common pitfalls that many business leaders fall into:

1. The Do-It-Myself Pit

One of the keys to effective leadership is your ability to empower your employees with the opportunity to prove themselves through their work.

Whenever you are faced with work to do, ask yourself if you doing this activity is adding more value than if your employees were to do it. Do not let old habits make you a micromanager. To be an effective leader, you need to relinquish control of everyday tasks, and focus on more strategic and visionary activities.

2. The No-Vision Deadfall

Many business leaders are so engrossed in their daily work they think they don’t have time to set goals and create a vision.

Goals are important as they give employees direction and confidence in the company. Goals also help you steer the business and stay on course. 

It’s also really important to identify your personal goals are. Almost every business leader I know becomes ten-times more motivated when they can clearly see how their business goals contribute to their personal goals. Take time to complete a Personal Goals Template .

Invite team members to your quarterly strategic planning sessions - this will give them both ownership and accountability.

3. The Too-Busy-For-You Cage

One of your most important tasks is managing your team. This not only means getting people to do their job, but also giving them the opportunity to come to you with their concerns, questions, and opinions.

Without your employees, your business is nothing. Show them that you value their contribution by being as available for them as possible. In addition to set, frequent meetings with them, ensure they have a channel where they can leave you messages and communicate with you directly.

4. The So-Serious Snare

You and your employees spend around a third of your waking hours at work, so make sure it’s an enjoyable environment to be in.

This could be small things such as an afternoon tea once in a while, or celebrating big wins with a shared bottle of champagne. Whatever it is, be sure to show your workforce that you are a boss that employees can love and their colleagues are people they can have fun with.

5. The Quick-Fix Leghold

When a problem crops up you usually have a choice between a quick fix or a longer and more sustainable solution. Do not get caught in the trap of constantly choosing the former - or you run the risk of repeatedly having to put out fires. 

6. The Lack-in-Communication Net

It is vital that your workforce is constantly kept up to date with the latest information about the business. Whether that's announcing a new hire, explaining why someone has left, or notifying about a systems change; ensure there is a clear channel for staff to learn about what’s going on.

Let your employees know that the communication is a two-way street. Information fed to you through your employees could very well save your business.

Beware of these six common traps which frequently snare unsuspecting business owners and managers. If you find yourself caught - make a conscious effort to change your behavior. If the working culture in your business isn't yet ideal; take a look in the mirror. Change usually needs to start at the top.