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6 Mistakes You Will Never See Smart Leaders Making Twice

Are you truly fit to lead?

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BY Marcel Schwantes - 04 Oct 2018

6 Mistakes You Will Never See Smart Leaders Making Twice

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Before you take on that promotion to a leadership role, think twice. Do you really have the mindset or the emotional intelligence to lead people to accomplish great things together?

Are you truly confident that you can slice through conflict like knife on hot butter in order to solve people problems tactfully, without alienating anyone or ticking off a customer?

The essence of true leadership is not for the faint of heart. It's a journey with many hard twists and turns where you're elevated and called to envision, inspire, motivate, empower, listen, serve, discipline, hug and spank (metaphorically speaking), and, dare I say it, practically love others.

The last thing the world needs is another bad leader making costly mistakes. It's bad for people and their health, it's bad for customers and it's bad for business

To give you an idea of whether you're truly fit to lead like the best of them, here are six mistakes you won't see great leaders repeating twice. Would you?

1. The mistake of not connecting with team members.

A big mistake someone new to a leadership role will make is enjoy all the perks and privileges that come with being in a leadership role, and slowly distance themselves to avoid any meaningful involvement with the team. This sort of "absentee leadership" is classic rookie territory but nothing you'll see coming from a seasoned servant-leader.

2. The mistake of having too much control.

Eventually, a good leader will become a great leader once he does something very counter-intuitive: surrender control. This is a leader who fosters high trust, high risk-taking, and high creativity because they take the higher road of sharing their power and releasing their control over people.

3. The mistake of not actively listening to others.

The controlling, top-down boss has a hard time detaching from their own inner voices to consider other voices, because they think they're always right. Great leaders won't make that mistake twice. They learn to be present and in the moment and truly listen nonjudgmentally. Because when they do, you'll hear peoples' objections and fears -- and also their great ideas and solutions.

4. The mistake of hogging the spotlight.

Perhaps you've worked for a self-serving leader? Typically, they need to be in the spotlight to keep their inflated ego fed. On the flip side, the most remarkable leaders don't need the glory; they understand what they've achieved. They stand back and celebrate other people's accomplishments. They let others shine and give them credit for the success of the job, which helps boost the confidence of others.

5. The mistake of allowing unhealthy conflict to happen.

Ancient spiritual wisdom warns that an argument that escalates is like a leak or a crack in a dam, so it needs to be stopped before it bursts. This is indicative of good leaders: They detect with good intuition and insight heated and contentious exchanges about to go south, and will nip them in the bud before they get toxic.

6. The mistake of not opening themselves up to trusting others.

Leaders who truly value people as smart and creative human beings will never make the same mistake of not believing and trusting in their abilities and strengths. They actually will extend trust as a gift before it's earned; they have a high view of people and show them respect and dignity from the start. When this happens, the return on trust is threefold as employees are that much more loyal and committed to their work and boss.

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