We all make mistakes, that’s part of leadership. When you’re leading into the unknown and taking new territory it’s impossible to get everything right—all the time.
Some mistakes, however, are those unintended but avoidable missteps that slowly decrease your influence over time.
They are slow, subtle and therefore not as easily noticed. Your leadership isn’t affected right away like a more dramatic mistake, or bad decision might cause, but little by little your influence is eroded.
It’s like a prolonged leak in one of the tires in your car. You can keep driving for a long time, but eventually, the tire goes flat, and your forward progress comes to an end.
If you don’t fix it, you can’t go anywhere. Worse, I’ve seen some people attempt to drive on a flat with that thump, thump, thump thing happening, and we all know how well that goes.
The scary thing is that because these mistakes are usually slow and subtle as I mentioned, they often go unnoticed or unheeded. Even when someone points them out, the leader just keeps going. I’ve had that happen while driving my car.
At a stop light, a guy points at my tire and calls out loudly, “Your tire is low!” I motion back a friendly wave of acknowledgment, and think, “Yeah, right, maybe later. I’ve got to keep going right now.” Several days later I’m driving with a thump.
Leading with a thump just doesn’t work. When you know what these mistakes are, you can avoid them.
Together we could list a good number of this specific kind of mistake, but I’m presenting five of the more commonly experienced. If you have a minute, you can help us all lead better. List one more in the comment section. Thanks!
5 leadership mistakes that cause a slow leak in your influence:
1) Allowing speed and pressure to kill your kindness.
More people—more pressure, right? We love people, and it’s a privilege to serve, but let’s be honest, it’s not easy to keep up with all the needs and requests.
Then add speed to the mix and leadership really becomes complex. “Faster” seems like a core leadership value these days. It’s not intentional, but just the way it is.
When speed and pressure are added together, simple kindness can get squeezed out of your daily relationships. That doesn’t indicate that you behave in an overtly mean way, it’s more about the absence of kindness. And that is always noticed and felt.
Those you lead will give you grace for a while, but over time this will catch up with you and decrease your influence.
Slowing down is difficult but necessary. Be intentional about expressing kindness to those you serve and lead.