I have been building this list of CEO mistakes for many years based on my own experiences. This is not rocket science — some of these points may seem obvious when you read them — but it is really tough to know what you haven’t experienced, and I wish I’d had a list like this when I was a first-time CEO.
Although this is a list for first timers, folks in their second, third, or fourth gig also make these same mistakes.
In no particular order, here are the top 22 mistakes a CEO is likely make:
1. Does not begin to build a culture of accountability in the organization on day one
2. Fails to keep their mouth closed and their ears and eyes open
3. Does not build understanding, trust, and credibility with key stakeholders in the first three months on the job
4. Over-promises and sets unrealistic expectations early in the game
5. Makes decisions for change before having the understanding and credibility of the market, business, and people
6. Drives changes too quickly and fails to understand how much change the business and culture can withstand
7. Fails to establish a true vision and strategy working with the key stakeholders and employees of the company
Successful leaders continue to grow and develop on the job.
The willingness and ability to learn throughout one’s career is increasingly important as changing technology, markets and methods require new skills and behaviors. Learning ability influences the extent to which you grow as an individual, as well as how you’re perceived by others.
In fact, over the long term, your current skill-set is of secondary importance to your ability to learn new knowledge, skills and behaviors that will equip you to respond to future challenges.
These are the findings in Learning About Learning Agility, by researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership and Teachers College, Columbia University.
The researchers warn that the behaviors needed to succeed at one management level or in one setting don’t necessarily translate into other levels and found five characteristics of successful leaders.
1. Innovate: Challenge the status quo
By questioning long-held beliefs and breaking down silos between groups, leaders discover new and innovative ways to look at challenges and creatively solve them.
The more diverse your experiences, the broader the perspective you bring to your role and the more capable you’ll be of finding new ways to meet your goals. Experiment with new ideas and endeavor to find the best solution to each problem.
2. Perform: Remain calm in the midst of adversity
Agile learners draw on past experiences to remain calm, present and engaged when they face ambiguous or high-pressure situations. This allows them to tap into more insightful thinking processes – even at times when inspiration may be at its lowest.
Watch for subtle cues to build a better understanding of the problem.
3. Reflect: Take time for reflection
#1 Philosophies in high performance cultures:
* Servant-leadership. Leaders serve teammates. Teammates serve each other. Everyone serves customers.
* Maximize strengths. Understand, acknowledge, and leverage strengths more than fixing weaknesses.
* Behavior focus. High performance always degenerates into observable behaviors.
#2. A fundamental belief in high performance cultures:
Coaching maximizes potential, expands capacity, and enhances fulfillment.
* High performance coaching: Is a fundamental way to develop and lead people. Is forward-facing.
* Successful Coaches: Partner rather than pull rank. Make people feel valued and powerful. Leverage curiosity and listening. Believe people want to succeed. Serve the best interest of coachees and the organization. Keep one eye on the scoreboard and two on the playing field.
* Successful Coachees: Aspire to grow and contribute. Practice transparency, candor, and vulnerability.Take responsibility for their own development and performance.
#3. Coaching principles:
Focus on the future, even when discussing the past. Monitor energy.
#4. Coaching practices:
Ask questions. Listen openly. Offer reflections and observation. Design solutions and goals. Inspire ownership. Schedule follow up.
#5. Coaching patterns:
Certainly, you know by now that you will not have all the answers to questions or issues you face as a leader. Your staff may come to you often for advice and insight. It may seem to them that you are their personal encyclopaedia. But there are many times when you simply do not know the answer. What do you do?
Be the leader that learns and can help others learn. Face an uncertainty with the spirit of learning. If you believe you need to know it all, get over yourself. You don’t. You won’t.
Don’t be afraid to inform your staff that you don’t know. Tell them, “That’s a great question. Let’s both figure this out.” Encourage them to use additional company resources (training materials, other staff members, vendors, etc.) to research the answer. You do the same. Come back together and share what you’ve learned and then make an informed decision.
By doing this, you will model what it is to learn and then apply that knowledge. Sure, it may be easier for your staff to come to you for answers, but they will learn more, grow more, develop more when they take learning into their own hands. In fact, encourage them to bring you issues that they believe they’ve already solved. What an encouragement it will be when you praise them for taking the initiative to discover the answer to a problem without your help!
Your leadership does not diminish when your staff seeks out answers and then applies that knowledge to their work. Your team will flourish! You will be recognized for leading a team that is a valuable resource. Others will want to come work on your team.
Issues will come up every day. Help your team learn how to make informed decisions and watch them grow and become more confident and competent.
To spread trust and positive energy throughout the organization, we must communicate, communicate, communicate. Gordon #leadership