Leadership is honed through time and experience, but that doesn’t mean young and inexperienced individuals cannot be good leaders. There are, however, a lot of rookie mistakes that you have to watch out for. Knowing how to avoid these mistakes early on in your career will help you pave a straighter path towards success and gain essential leadership skills in the process.
Here are the most common mistakes that young leaders often make and how you can avoid them:
1. Being too proud to seek help
A lot of great leaders today were born with the talent for leadership. It would be nice to think that you are a natural-born leader, but sometimes, that is just not the case. Sure, you may have the knack of holding a crowd and keeping employees in line, but all types of leaders need continuous learning and development to truly become great.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to seek help from companies such as Miick that provide leadership training. Undergoing training will not only hone the skills that you already know but also introduce new strategies and ideas that you can incorporate into your leadership style.
2. Not sharing the burden of challenging jobs
A common mistake that young leaders make is trying to take on challenging jobs all by themselves; jobs that they feel are too complicated or difficult for their team to handle. Yes, doing this will help ensure that the job is done right, but you may also be hindering your team’s growth in the process.
Instead of trying to carry the burden by yourself, learn how to delegate parts of the project without losing all control of it. Trust your employees’ skills; there is a reason why you hired them in the first place.
3. Neglecting advice from older leaders
You have your own leadership style, your own ways of doing things. While it is important to hone your leadership based on your own experience, knowledge, and the workplace culture of today, it is also important to heed the advice of older, wiser, and more experienced leaders. After all, great leaders of today are the cumulation of the wise leaders that came before them.
Listen to your elders, but don’t be afraid to question them when you see fit.
4. Underestimating the workload
As your career progresses, you will gain more responsibilities, and will thus have to work more. This often means that your work-life balance will skew a bit, and you may have to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. It comes with the territory. That is something that you have to expect and accept early on in your career.
With more people reporting to you, you have to make yourself available to them. You may not be able to disconnect from work as much as you do now. Your boundaries will have to change, and it’s up to you how you’re going to answer to your responsibilities without making your life all about work. As a young leader, do not underestimate what’s to come; instead, preplan on how you’re going to handle the additional workload and still manage to maintain a positive work-life balance.
5. Being too unrealistic and idealistic
Be optimistic, but keep your feet on the ground. Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to aim higher. Young, inexperienced leaders often make the mistake of being too unrealistic and idealistic early in their career, only to become disappointed when success doesn’t come overnight. Don’t make the same mistake. Set realistic expectations about your career and come up with practical ways on how you’re going to reach your goals. If you want to succeed, keep a level head.
6. Failing to develop one’s self
When you take on a leadership role, it may be challenging to find time for personal development. As a result, you may feel that you’re not growing as a person, and as a leader, more importantly.
Finding time is hard but not impossible. Clear your schedule for both personal and professional development, be it building soft skills, studying a niche in your industry, or learning about others’ leadership principles. Create a personal development plan and share it with your supervisor to keep you motivated and help you measure results.
The key to becoming a great leader is continuing to develop one’s self. Don’t be afraid to take criticism and seek inspiration from older, wiser leaders. By learning to avoid these rookie mistakes as early as now, you will be better equipped to lead people toward success and ultimately pave a more successful career for yourself.