I have seen many businesses to suffer from many different problems. One of them that is significant and determines if an organization will go forward or if it will stay behind is the ineffective exercise of Leadership. What do I mean by the term ineffective leadership? I mean all these slips that you as a leader (Business owner) might do during the management process that hold back your business from growing.
These slips cost money and delay the development of your company. Moreover, they affect a lot of people (stakeholders). That is why you should bypass them as soon as you find and recognize them.
I tried to create a list, with a short explanation, including the most common slips, to help you identify and to start avoiding them, from now on. I know that sometimes it is difficult to accept and correct the mistakes of our personality, but we have to do that if we take seriously and professionally what we do.
Therefore, the list is the following:
1. Too much ego.
This is a common slip. A lot of entrepreneurs fell very confident about their achievements and sometimes they overdo it. They feel that because they have created their business they know everything. Clearly this is not the case, nobody knows everything, and the result many times is to block new ideas and solutions that other people propose that will benefit the business.
2. Lack of trust in your HR.
Many times, especially in the early stages of the business, the owner has a difficulty in letting go responsibilities. He/she is used to do many tasks alone (and up to that point successfully) that is difficult to trust another person to do the same job. The fact also that the business is growing and he/she feels that there is no time available for appropriate training, makes the situation even worse. The result is that the employees feel frustrated and they do not offer the maximum of their potential. The business is losing from this slip.
Another slip is Micromanagement. This means to observe and control very closely the work of your employees. Many business owners believe that by controlling very carefully the work of every employee they gain more productivity, but the truth with this type of management is that it creates frustration and demotivation among employees. As a result, new ideas and innovation are lost, not to mention that very soon any good employees will leave the business in a search for a better company, so they might go also to competitors.
This is a common slip too. Many business owners at work behave in a way that diminishes the value of their employees. A leader (business owner) has to know how to use his/her power. This power comes from the position they hold and it should reflect the best possible attitude. In a work environment any kind of harassment is unacceptable and it creates a culture that no one likes to work. Productivity goes down along with motivation and innovation. In addition, the business creates a bad name, especially in our days that you can find anything about anyone in social media.
5. Lack of planning.
Many entrepreneurs cannot avoid this slip. They have strong intuition and many things to do in a short period of time. As a result, they do not plan before they act. They usually confront the challenges when they happen, but in this way they pay the cost of fixing the problem, if the problem can be fixed. They forget to analyze that simple fact, that when you plan ahead, you avoid unnecessary problems, costs, disruption and wasted time.
6. Creating the “ask the boss” culture.
This slip is one of the funniest in businesses. This slip happens when the business owner wants to have absolute control of the decision process. Gradually all the employees learn that before they take any decision they should ask the boss first. The result is that nothing goes forward before the boss approves it, so when any issue appears the employees do not solve it; they just say “ask the boss” what to do. Therefore, the innovation and progress is lost.
7. Lack of a complete brief before you delegate.
Another famous slip is happening when the owner of the business cannot find time to explain properly and brief the employees before he/she delegates an assignment. Usually the reason is that he/she is too busy and stressed, but unfortunately the final outcome is really bad. The people that work in the company feel frustrated, they have not understood what exactly they have to do, so mistakes are made that cost money and also the employees waste their time.
8. Lack of feedback.
Lack of feedback is a slip that creates also problems. Many times business owners delegate a job, but they forget to follow it up or to give feedback when the job is completed. Therefore, wrong decision making, miscommunication, frustration and many other negative issues are created inside the business.
9. No time to listen to your team.
When a business owner forgets to communicate with his/her employees, the business is not managed well. This failure of communication leads to the lack of knowledge of the real needs of the people and the business. As a result, demotivation, frustration and many mistakes appear.
10. Being too harsh.
Being too harsh as a business leader creates a demotivating culture. In addition, employees afraid to express opinions, to reveal their needs and also to take initiatives. The working environment becomes an unpleasant place to be. In the past many managers used to be harsh, but in our days this way of management is old and weak. People will leave when they find another company with better working conditions.
11. Being too friendly.
Being too friendly is the opposite side of being too harsh. Again, it is a slip because it creates a loose culture without the sense of responsibility. Many times being too friendly leads to a lack of productivity. It is good to create a friendly atmosphere at work, but without this to be a boomerang to your overall effectiveness.
12. Not creating a common vision, mission, and goals that are understandable and able to be followed.
Many CEOs are making this mistake. They fail to communicate or incorporate the business vision, mission and goals when they implement the overall strategy. It is funny, but many times people inside SMEs have no idea about the vision and mission of the business. The result is that there is a lack of coordination, common direction and philosophy of working.
13. Lacking ethical values.
This applies to entrepreneurs that have created businesses having as the only motive to earn money. Usually businesses like that, do not last, because at the end customers will also understand it (the lack of ethical values), and they will avoid relationships with these companies. However, it takes time for some of them to be revealed. Whatever the case, the final result is bad. Businesses with ethical values tend to live longer with continuous growth and profitability.
14. Repeating the same mistakes.
It is not wise to make the same mistake two times. Mistakes are human, but when a business owner makes the same mistake again and again the business reproduces the same problems. In order to have a sustainable business development, it is important to identify and report these mistakes and when similar situations appear again, to be ready and to follow the right path. Planning is also another weapon in avoiding similar mistakes, because you confront them before they actually happen.
15. Fear of change.
Many business leaders have a specific way of doing things. When they create a Start-Up and this company is successful for years, they feel that all the management decisions they make are correct. However, many businesses when they enter the stage of becoming medium or large, they need different approaches in management. It is there that the slip is happening. The business leader is afraid to make the right changes in order for the business to go forward because he/she is used to do things in a certain way (suitable for small companies). A typical example is when a new CRM system has to be applied, or when a new process that replaces an old one has to be implemented. The result is that the business is losing valuable time, the employees are frustrated and the competition takes advantage the situation.
16. Not investing when it is necessary.
Not investing when it is necessary is another slip. Everyone hates costs, but when it is needed, it is not a cost, but an investment. As a result, when a big investment has to be made, for instance, in technology, people, training, social media and so on, the decision is not taking place, leading to unnecessary delays that usually competition benefits from. A business leader has to know the right time for the right investment.
17. Not praising and rewarding.
Another slip is when the business owner forgets to praise and reward the capable employees. As a result, employees are losing the motivation to excel. They avoid taking extra responsibilities and to innovate since no one is going to notice that. Therefore, the business fails to expand and to confront competition.
18. Not being human.
There are some business leaders that are not interacting well with the personnel of the business. They behave badly to employees, they are not interested at all about their needs and generally they look like “machines” instead of humans. Usually, they focus only on work without conducting any communication with others. This reflects badly on the business. Sooner or later the customers also understand the dissatisfaction that exists inside the company and this is making them not wanting to buy the products or services.
19. No time to check if things go according to the business goals.
This is also a common slip. Business leaders that are very busy, they assign a job, but they do not have time to check if the job is made based on the standards of the business. Therefore the produced outcome has fluctuations in quality, which is very bad for the reputation of the business.
20. Not being the right example.
There are business owners that have a behavior that is not very inspiring to others. They behave selfishly and instead of being a raw model at work, they become a negative example (of what you should not like to be). So, people are not following (with loyalty) leaders that are bad examples, and moreover, they are not inspired to work for them or to give a 100% of their capacity. At the end the company is the big loser. A good leader avoids this slip. He/she becomes a person that everyone respects and the employees are loyal and very happy to contribute to a maximum level with their efforts in order to grow the business.
21. To ignore the truth.
Business leaders that cannot see the truth in facts and generally in the competitive business world are doomed to fail. There are still many business owners that do not listen when someone identifies the negative things inside the business that need immediate change. They just do not accept the truth. They feel that because the business was successful in the first years of operation, it will be forever without making any changes, investments or try new things. They prefer to ignore the truth and to continue business as usual up to a point that competition surpasses them, but then it is too late, or it is very difficult to reverse the situation.
22. Bad time management
Finally, the last slip is the lack of time management. I have seen many business owners that concentrate 70% of their time in operations and 30% in marketing/sales and finance. This is bad time management. It should be the opposite, 70% in marketing/sales and finance and 30% in operations. Not to mention unnecessary meetings, travelling and so on. As a result, the business again is the one that pays the price.
Generally, I believe that if you, as a Business owner, will manage to avoid the above mentioned slips, you will have more chances to run a successful business, looking into the future with confidence that you have what it takes, as a leader, in order to transform an SME into a large sustainable company.