The past few weeks we had a groundhog set up shop beneath our front porch. He dug some deep holes to create a path under the porch and seemed to be constantly escaping our view. Then the critter decided to eat our wire that connects to an outside pole lamp. And that broke the straw for us. We need that light and we decided it was necessary to trap our groundhog. Of course once trapped, we were going to bring him up to a wooded area and set him free. So we set up a trap filled with food right next to one of the dirt holes. And we waited.
In leadership we can sometimes fall prey to traps we don’t see in front of us. Some of these traps may be deliberately set but most are just part of our daily routines. Knowing what traps can trip up a leader and anticipating where they will be set can empower leaders to work around them.
Here are six leadership traps to avoid disaster:
1. Unclear Role Responsibilities and Goals
The surest way for a leader to get stuck in an unexpected trap is to not have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities. How can we hold ourselves accountable when we don’t know the parameters of our work requirements? Every leader should have goals and objectives to work towards that fold into a larger team vision. A job description is also so helpful even if it needs to be adjusted as the year progresses.
2. Mismatched Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
When our non-verbal cues are different from the words we are using people don’t believe our words. They interpret our message by focusing on our facial expressions, tone and body language. Some helpful hints with our non-verbal communication is:
- Use your eyes and look directly at a colleague to make a connection.
- Smile if you are sharing an important message to show your enthusiasm.
- Choose a tone of care and evenness, not too loud and not too soft.
- Avoid finger pointing or severe hand gestures to make your point.
3. Missing Skills or Experiences
A big trap for a leader is not possessing the necessary skills or experience to perform their job successfully. If you find yourself with a gap in knowledge then decide your best way to obtain the missing skills. Maybe it is time to ask your boss to take on a new and challenging project. Perhaps you want to sign-up for a training course. Or sometimes just catching up on our reading in a particular area can do the trick. Just take action.
4. Lack of Trust With Team Members
- We follow through on what we say we are going to do.
- We share all available information.
- We include team members in bigger decisions so they can see their value.
- We reach out and get to know our colleagues’ interests and concerns.
5. Inability To Be Flexible
When leaders are not able to see the perspectives of others and consider the ideas and suggestions from their co-workers, they can fall into a deep trap. Carol Dweck talks about the importance of a “growth mindset” to better deal with continued learning, openness and our ability to overcome our failures. Lead with an eye to curiosity and development.
6. Not Building Enough Time To Think and Dream
All work and no dreaming time stunts a leader’s growth and prevents a leader from replenishing themselves. It is a huge trap not to set time aside for planning your next steps. There are many ways to dream:
- Write out what is going well.
- Identify the fun and enjoyable parts of your job.
- Make a list of lessons learned from some missteps.
- Meditate to prepare for dreaming.
No matter how you go about thinking and dreaming just make sure to do it.
Finally, an update on my groundhog- he is nowhere to be seen. The furry animal avoided my trap like a plague.
What leadership traps do you try to avoid? How did you overcome them?
Spoiler Alert: Then My House Burned Down
10 Ways to Stay Healthy
More Than 63% Of Companies Are Already Using AI in HR
4 Ways to Make Your Customer Experience Stand Out
Why You Need to Reduce Friction
Leaving the World of Complex Pie Charts, Wall Street Buzz Words and Fancy Suits
Baby Boomer Women Wish They Had Saved More Money for Retirement
How to Take Control of Your Digital Identity
Increase Exposure With These Influencer Marketing Tips
Be Afraid of These Surprising Sales Stats
Building Smarter Portfolios16 hours ago
Beware the “Known-Unknowns”
Learn16 hours ago
Cybersecurity Without The Commitment
Development16 hours ago
How Freedom Resulted in $300mm to $800mm in Just 8 Years
Insights3 days ago
How to Start Your Journey to Be Different
Advisor3 days ago
11 Ways the New Tax Law Could Help or Hurt Your Tax Return
Equities3 days ago
How Being Short Enables Investors to Be More Long
Development3 days ago
Being Accountable Will Be The Key to Your Success
Advisor3 days ago
Is Life a Game of Chess or Poker?