13 New-Leader Screw Ups

Mistakes matter more when you’re the new kid on the block. Long-term relationships contextualize and soften occasional screw ups.

13 mistakes new leaders make:

  1. Forgetting your arrival stresses others, including those who hired you. The stress you feel, others feel too.
  2. Proving technical skill. You don’t need to prove what you know. You did that when they hired you. Own the job. You’re qualified.
  3. Reaching for big wins. Grab low hanging fruit. Win small – win often. Big wins are the result of a series of small wins.
  4. Believing everything you’re told. People have agendas. Trust but verify.
  5. Basing confidence in technical skills rather than the ability to learn.
  6. Making yourself look good while neglecting others. You look good when you make others look good. Use “we” more than “I” or “me”.
  7. Making statements before asking questions. Questions make new leaders look smart.
  8. Forgetting what’s small to you is big to others. Before changing things ask, “Who’s impacted?”
  9. Neglecting the social game. New leaders get so busy they forget to connect vertically and horizontally within organizations.
  10. Not making decisions. Listen, investigate, seek suggestions, but whatever you do, decide.
  11. Neglecting the players who really get things done while focusing on high profile people. Play with players who aren’t official leaders.
  12. Forgetting names.
  13. Making premature judgments about people. Watch the quiet ones. They offer more than you think.

Bonus tip: When you feel the need to receive honor, give it.

Facebook contributors add their own list of mistakes new leaders make: Leadership Freak Coffee Shop (second question down the page)

What mistakes have you seen new leaders make?

How can new leaders avoid common new-leader mistakes?