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Being new to leadership can be hard.

New leaders might find that their position is a learning process, and I can guarantee that any experienced leader you talk to will say that they have had to learn on the spot in their position.

More recently I have gotten involved with the executive boards of two student clubs at Ball State. To be honest, these have been my first time being in a leadership role. I learned a lot about being a leader last school year.

People who are new to leadership are likely to have a hard time at first, and that is okay! The key is to learn from them.  

Trust me I have learned a lot from my mistakes as a leader.

The next couple of paragraphs are going to be some of the common mistakes leaders might face, and I can personally say that I have experienced some of them.

Without any further interruptions here are 4 common leadership mistakes.

New leaders can suffer from poor communication:

This is one of the most common mistakes made by a new leader.

Communication is key in any organization. , There are many reasons leaders do not communicate with team members but here’s our big 3:   

  1. Information overload – Managers are in meeting after meeting, taking in more and more information at each meeting.  Unfortunately, much of that information does not get out to team members. Leaders are bombarded with email, newsletters, meetings, and more.  The challenge becomes sorting through that information to determine what impacts their team and what doesn’t.
  2. Doesn’t connect the dots –   This is often referred to as working in silos or ‘left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’.  Simply put, leaders don’t share information between projects or teams because they don’t believe the projects are connected. 
  3. Lack of communication plan or process – Managers are not intentionally connecting with team members on a regular basis and do not have a process for information sharing.

The problem with this is that employees will feel out of the loop and might not know important information about the company.

It doesn’t have to be this way! 

Develop a communication process to ensure the right people are getting the right message at the right time. Make sure that your system is simple, and the messages you put out are clear in their goals. Don’t just rely on email!  Get creative with your communication plan. Use video, the company’s Intranet, team huddles, and more. 

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New leaders might lack vision:

Another common mistake made by a new leader is not communicating their vision. Having a vision is important for any leader whether they are new or experienced. However, sometimes a new leader might not know what their vision is.

As a leader, if you do not have a vision then you will have nothing to work towards, and the same goes for your employees. A company cannot move forward without one. There will be no progress or growth.

A clear vision is going to help define the goals of a company and will help identify potential strategies down the road. Others will be united under it as they will have something they are trying to accomplish.

As a leader, you should seek feedback on your vision, and then co-create the vision with a team. Develop an activation plan to bring the vision to life and communicate, communicate, communicate!   

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New Leaders May Suffer From Impostor Syndrome:

Impostor syndrome or lack of self-confidence is something I have dealt with as a leader, and I’m sure many other new leaders have too.

Being put in a leadership role can be a challenge, and for some, they might become unsure of their skills or feel unprepared or unqualified.

One way I fight this is by reminding myself of the accomplishments I’ve had in the past. This was a great way to remind myself of my skills. Another method I used was preparing myself before meetings.  With a little preparation I gained confidence just by being familiar with what I was going to say before I actually had to say it.  I will also say that I got better at being a leader the longer I was in the role. These things take time, and confidence can take a while to build.

New leaders don’t know which tasks to complete first:

Being in a new leadership role can be overwhelming and some of the tasks with it can seem like a lot. In this kind of situation, it easy for someone’s focus to become lost, and they might try to accomplish too many tasks at once.

This can lead to work not getting done and people getting confused as to what they need to do in their job.

One way to fix this mistake is to prioritize what needs to get done first and start working on each one individually. I recommend creating a list and checking things off as they are done. List each task from most important to least important.

Creating a schedule for each task might also help a lot.

Another way to help is by assigning members of your organization to a specific task. This is especially true if you are working within a corporation or strategy.    

In conclusion:

The mistakes I just mentioned are common in a leadership role, and these are just some I have seen. There are some others that might be encountered.

I will say that it is vital to learn from the mistakes you might make in your role because it will help you become a better leader.

Leadership isn’t easy and understanding these mistakes might help you avoid them.

In conclusion, making mistakes in a leadership role is something that is going to happen and new leaders might not understand they are making them. I have been a new leader, and I can say that I made mistakes.

I chose to learn from them, and I have been better for it.

About the author:

Seth Stegall is a senior public relations major at Ball State interning with Stratavize over the summer. Find him on LinkedIn.

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