My First Time Leader Mistakes Part 2 of 2

In part 2 of this topic I’ll touch on 3 things affecting me.

IV- I’ll Tell You Why That Won’t work

Our need to win and feel important is so strong that we even do it with our closest friends and family. “I’ll tell you why that won’t work” is a variation of “my way is better than yours and I’m always right”.

Here are some of my variations:

  • I agree but what about…?
  • Yes, but…
  • I have concerns.
  • Why don’t you do it this way?

I would do this a couple times then scratched my head several days later wondering why no one wants to say anything or suggest other ideas.

“I’ll tell you why that won’t work” teaches the team:

  • They aren’t smart enough for the job.
  • Their opinion doesn’t count.
  • The boss is always right (even when he/she isn’t)
  • Find the mistakes and barriers first.

Lessons learned:

  • Right or wrong, as soon as I start with the “that won’t work” mentality, my brain will always think about failures and never about possibilities.
  • It only takes a few noes for people to get the message their opinion doesn’t count.

V – Didn’t Schedule Time for Thinking

This is one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. There was always a fire to be handled, an important meeting to attend, and a job to be done.

It took me 7 years to realize the importance of taking time to think and ponder on the tasks at hand.

Thinking time allowed me to:

  • Set priorities.
    • What to work on, what I like to do, what I should do, what I should ignore, etc.
  • Identify the team’s strengths and needs.
    • Delegate task based on strengths rather than time availability.
    • Distinguish amount and type of training needed.
  • Distinguish which processes gave the most bangs for the buck (80/20 principle).
  • Learn from my past mistakes. Paved the way for this blog.
  • Know myself, my limits, passions, strengths, and wants.

John Maxwell likes to say “if I could only do one thing to change your life, I would change the way you think”. Today I can say, I can finally understand that phrase.

VI – Neglected Personal Balance

Work-Life balance is really more like the seasons. Sometimes hard work and long hours are necessary; other times resting takes priority. The key thing to remember is that like the seasons the stages of focus between all work and all life are temporary. They are not meant to be lived forever.

For 5 years straight I worked 60-80 hour weeks for “the benefit of the company”. I made myself believe what I was doing took priority over family, friends, and personal relaxation. The stress was so high, I was sick all the time, I dreaded going to work, I was constantly in a bad mood and complaining. It was so bad, I almost got fired.

Lesson learned: No matter how important the job or the title of the requestor, no work will get done right if my emotional, physical, and mental states are in bad shape.

Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, it is a requirement. We can only lead others by leading ourselves first.

What have you learned since your first year as a leader?

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3 thoughts on “My First Time Leader Mistakes Part 2 of 2

Add yours

  1. Nice! Really enjoying these – as someone who would like to be in a leadership position it is great to hear the mistakes of others. That’s being a true mentor!

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