Are You Making These 10 Huge Leadership Mistakes?

Reading time: 5 minutes


It’s true that we all make mistakes. 

However, it is also true that we should not kick ourselves too hard when they happen. 


Now try not to roll your eyes here, because I know this phrase has been bounded around so often that it is now kicking down the door of cliché, but mistakes really are opportunities. 

Yes of course, they can seemingly arrive at you sour coated in shame and embarrassment, however once we have separated our immediate emotion from what has happened, there is terrific, sweet learning that exists within. 


Why am I talking about this though? 

Well, because I don’t want you to read this and end up thoroughly demoralised because you have made or are making one, some, or all of these mistakes. 

This article, like all of them over here on the Excel blog, has been written to galvanise. Inspiring you to learn and act with the intention to improve. 

So, with this in mind, let’s get ourselves stuck into these common leadership mistakes and open ourselves up with honesty and self-awareness for any positive changes that we can make. 



1 – Not Connecting With Others 

Having a leader that does not have a connection with their team is like having a lightbulb which is not connected to the switch. 

Great rapport between a leader and a team improves the chances of the vision being translated more effectively, making it much more likely that individuals within the team will have greater clarity and satisfaction in what they are doing. 

As discussed before on previous blogs, building connections is key to influence, which as a leader, is crucial to your success. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Being available more often 
  • Taking time to get to know individuals 
  • Communicating with genuine interest and intrigue 


2 – Not Being Authentic 

“As a leader, I have to be a pillar of strength and an unflappable force in a forever changing business world.” 

That quote is so out-of-touch that it looks like I lifted it straight from a play, set in the 1930’s. 

These days people see straight through that act. 


People can connect much easier with authenticity rather than a façade. Not only that, when it comes to your own energy levels, it is much less exhausting to be yourself than it is to stiffen that upper lip every time you enter your workplace. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Practising showing your vulnerabilities and recognising that ability as a strength 


3 – Not Prioritising Growth 

If you are a leader who is not prioritising growth, it can have detrimental results. 

To name a handful, it could lead to individuals becoming disillusioned with the direction of their career as they are not being encouraged to challenge themselves and aim for more. 

It could hamper business performance. 

It could lead to an increasing rate of staff turnover due to worsening job satisfaction during tenures. 


As a leader, you should aim to become the poster person for personal growth. The impact you could have on the lives of others by promoting personal development, and by supplying opportunities as part of your culture is huge. 

This is a sure-fire way to open up a can of exciting possibilities, both for yourself and everyone within your business. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Talking about your learnings regularly (this might be as simple as listening to a short podcast and talking about it in your next team meeting – we will avoid plugging the Learn Grow Succeed podcast here, but that is a great example) 
  • Organising an impactful training event… PS call us! 



4 – Being constantly unavailable 

Now, we recognise that if you work virtually, this one can be incredibly difficult.  And if you’re super busy, which you no doubt are, it can also be a pain. 

It’s definitely not impossible though… which is vital because if your people are feeling as though they can never reach you, it will only feed into any potential disconnect. 


We are not saying that you need to be constantly available though, as that would be completely impossible. 

The key to this is to be transparent with your calendar and to share your availability with your team. You can also match this with proactive outreaches to team members for catch ups and time for discussion. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Making your diary more accessible 
  • Being pro-active in supporting others 
  • Give people a call for nothing more than a catch-up 


5 – Not Giving Crucial Developmental Feedback 

This one flows beautifully from point number 3, because it is much harder for people to learn when you are in a team that does not encourage the giving of developmental feedback. 

Feedback is a gift because it provides you with personalised advice for growth.  Without it, there is an element of guesswork involved as an individual would need to spot development areas themselves and then look at how they could address them. 

If you are unsure about how to give developmental feedback, we actually have a video all about it here 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Learning about, and role modelling, how to truly give effective feedback, whether motivational or developmental 
  • Running a feedback workshop with your team 


6 – Avoiding Change 

Funnily enough, us human beings are actually remarkably good at adapting to changes. As evidence, I would like to point back to the last few years. 


Despite this, it can seem as though there is something in our psyche which sometimes tries to persuade us that it is bad. 


Let’s simultaneously throw aside your abacus, fax machine and desire to check on current events using Teletext, because change can be for the better. 


This is especially true in business as often companies that fail to adapt, soon get left behind by those that do. It is evolution that sorts the titans from the dinosaurs. Not just survival of the fittest but of the fastest… to adapt. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Having brainstorming sessions to discuss potential new ways of working and changes to existing processes 
  • Doing something different each day 



7 – Not Defining Goals 

If you don’t have goals, then how do you know what you are aiming for? 


Goals give you the inspiration for today and the vision for tomorrow. Without them, you and your team will lack the clarity of direction that will enable you both to optimise your time and focus and achieve those things that you would classify as success. 


We have a whole blog about goal setting here. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Spending time with individuals in the team to discuss their personal visions and how they want to contribute to the team 
  • Formalise SMART goals 


8 – Not Role Modelling 

There is a vast difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. 

Which is why it is important as a leader to be a role model for the culture that you wish to see amongst your team and to lead through change. 

People are not even half as motivated by those who talk a good game, rather than by those who show the way. 

Be the change! 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Being vigilant as to whether your actions are representative of the culture you want amongst your team 


9 – Avoiding delegation 

Delegating is essential for successful leadership. 

Firstly, it shows that trust exists between yourself and the individuals within your team, and secondly, it is an opportunity to optimise the strengths of those individuals. 

By not delegating, you run the risk of not only burning yourself out, but also of underutilising the skillset of each member of your team and potentially losing valuable opportunities for growth too. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Mapping out all of your tasks as a leader and looking for areas to potentially delegate 


10 – Not Resolving Conflicts 

What do you get when you constantly sweep things under a carpet? 

A lumpy rug… and no one wants to step foot on one of those. 


If you are leaving conflicts to ‘resolve themselves’, it runs the risk of them festering into something worse. Something which could breed discomfort in an environment and lead individuals within it to feel stressed and divided. 

People within a team where there has been a conflict WILL notice a leader who is separating themselves from it and refusing to address it. 


A great leader in this scenario will address a conflict impartially and not point the finger of blame decisively at one party. 

They will typically present the facts on the matter and deliver developmental feedback to both sides, which will enable them to see the other viewpoint and avoid the same issue going forward. 


You could address this issue by: 

  • Not avoiding conflict resolution. It needs to be addressed without blame 



Alex & The Excel Team






P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2022, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854. 

About Excel Communications     

Excel Communications is a learning and development consultancy based near London in the U.K. For more than 30 years; we have been collaborating with clients across the globe. Partnering with Excel empowers you to evolve your people and business by fuelling a love for learning. We work with you to create unforgettably, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results. View our case studies here.  We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages. Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854. 


If you would like to watch our leadership masterclass recordings, you can access the latest leadership complimentary guide here.