The 5 Most Common Leadership Mistakes

The 5 Most Common Leadership Mistakes

Making mistakes is inevitable, and leaders are no exception to this. It is understood by all successful leaders that failure paves a path towards success, allowing learning something new. Sometimes leaders take responsibility for their mistakes, conveying a clear message to others about integrity, authenticity and character. In addition to this, leaders, by admitting their fault, also highlight their intellectual humility and eagerness to decide what he considers to be wrong. However, it is also noticed that all leaders do not admit their faults, fearing being regarded as incompetent. On the other hand, when the leaders admit their fault, they create a collaborative and transparent culture where these subordinates are encouraged to come up with their opinions without the fear of being ridiculed.

Five Common mistakes made by the Leader

  • Inability to delegate work properly

One of the most common blunders in leadership is the failure to delegate work properly among the subordinates. Efficient leaders distribute skills and assignments per the employees’ skills and interests (Kerrissey and Edmondson, 2020). For instance, at Woolsowrth, the leadership failed, which is evident when the customers complained about the quality of the customer services provided by the company. Also, most of the business sites were located at different locations. In addition, there were complaints about the staff training which left the customers all the more dissatisfied. Thus it is necessary to delegate work properly considering the employees’ interests and talent. Rewarding the employees for their tasks is equally important as it helps to unearth the employees’ unique skills, which the Leader least expected of.

  • Poor communication

One of the quintessential leadership qualities is communicating effectively with the employees. Regardless of the position of the employees, it is always necessary to maintain an open and transparent line of communication. Whenever the meetings are held, leaders shall actively communicate with the subordinates (Forgeard, 2021). Performance evaluation and offering them timely feedback is a must that the leaders shall execute. For instance, Mcdonald’s Leader follows an autocratic style and hardly indulges in communication with his employees. Feedback from the employees should be regarded as optional by the Leader. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos of Amazon has qualified as a transformational leader who always fosters employee motivation.

  • Prioritising overall strategies other than the daily strategies

Some leaders prefer focusing on the overall strategy rather than the day-to-day ones. Focusing on daily strategies is essential to arrive at a strong solution. The last-minute scramble can be avoided by prioritising effectively (Forgeard, 2021). This, in turn, lessens the employees’ stress, helping to develop productivity. Leaders also act as suitable models by fostering a work culture where employees at all stages of the organisation understand the value of effective prioritisation. In addition, leaders also need to improve their prioritising skills. They need to figure out their objectives and put them into action. Settings, goals and priorities are essential for focusing on goals to work more efficiently and setting goals for creating a framework for accountability.

  • Neglecting to train, motivate and reward

One of the most important skills of leadership is training, rewarding and motivating employees. However, it is noted that many organisations need more productivity as leaders of such organisations need to train their employees, motivate and reward them. Providing ongoing training benefits the individual and the organisation as a whole (Forgeard, 2021). For instance, in digital marketing, numerous online seminars help train employees. Furthermore, motivating employees both intrinsically and extrinsically fosters innovation and creativity, which positively affects the organisation’s production. Finally, leaders must reward employees with incentives and small bonuses if they show remarkable progress. However, leaders need to reward their employees so that they can help their business to grow.

  • Failing to balance between micromanaging and Hands off Approach

Another common mistake made by leaders is failing to strike a balance between a hands-off approach and micro-management. Often leaders tend to micromanage or follow a hand-off approach. In this regard, it is suitable to strike a balance between the two. Leaders who follow an autocratic style indulge in micromanaging their subordinates. This impedes the employees’ creativity, and the production needs more innovation. Micromanaging also results in employee burnout and tarnishes the trust of the employees. In addition, the employees become too dependent on micromanagement (Council, 2016). It is also noted that micromanagement in monitoring correct performance boosts morale and develops the productivity of the teams.

On the other hand, the hands-off approach also has certain disadvantages. This is because the team’s abilities might be overestimated, and employees can benefit from having excessive freedom. Without proactive management, the organisation’s productivity is often affected.

While the handoff manager can find more exciting projects, the team’s opportunities need to be improved. This is because employees need more mentoring, which might direct them towards stagnation, providing them with few opportunities for freedom (Zeng et al. 2020). However, there are certain advantages of the hands-off manager as well. As employees are entrusted to take decisions independently, they have chances of growth in the organisations.
Considering the advantages and disadvantages of micromanagement and hands-off management, leaders need to balance the two to ensure successful organisational performance.

How leaders can avoid mistakes in the organisation

Every Leader wants to take their organisation forward, boost employee morale and motivate their employees so that they can pursue excellence. In addition, business leaders who understand thief mistakes strive for perfection. To avoid mistakes, leaders shall organise an employee development program as it helps in motivating the employees and boosting their morale. Acquiring constant feedback also helps evaluate the employees’ performance (Zeng et al. 2020). Leaders should always prioritise and reward their employees for increasing their organisational motivation. This will enable the employees to develop innovative ideas that will be integrated into the production process. Empathy with the employees is another good quality that the leaders shall showcase. In addition, they shall try and avoid being a control freak. This is because it puts stress on the employees and results in excessive burnout, which is harmful to the organisation.

Unclear communication leads to disputes and chaotic organisational situations, thereby giving rise to many issues across the business. Thus it is essential for the Leader to maintain a clear line of communication with the employees and get their issues addressed. The tasks shall be defined clearly, and employees shall be monitored from time to time. In addition, it is also necessary for leaders to involve them in the decision-making process. This implies that taking advice from all the employees is essential and helps promote a collaborative working environment (Zeng et al. 2020). Disorder or unorganised management cannot bring success to a business. Although sometimes it gets difficult for some people to be organised. A heap of documents and the absence of a project management system would create a chaotic situation in the business. In this regard, time tracking, employee communication, scheduling and payroll help manage the team in the best possible way.

Examples of failed leadership and its impact on the organisations

Nokia is one of the world’s dominant mobile phone manufacturers, which lost its share of the market after the release of the iPhone. In other words, the company needed to adapt to the changes and emerging market demands. An interview conducted by INSEAD interviewed the top and middle managers. They stated that the company faced losses not because of the product quality but because of the organisational fear instilled in the work culture imposed by the leaders.

The remarkable automobile company Volkswagen maintained poor relationships with the consumers, so it lagged behind Toyota. Another area for improvement faced by the organisation is organisational marketability. The Leader also prioritised short-term sales orientation instead of focusing on the company’s long-term goals. This breakdown is evident in many of its financial outcomes. Furthermore, the organisational pressures that the leaders put on the subordinates make them stressed.

In his earlier phases of leadership, Steve Jobs was an autocratic leader. He was known for his unethical behaviour toward his employees. For instance, he used to fire his employees without giving them any prior notice and even denied them compensation for their responsibilities. This implies that his leadership style could have been more inspirational. Conversely, some of his followers praised his presentation and oratory skills. Although he did not empathise with his employees, his empathy for the customers knows no bounds.


  • Kerrissey, M.J. and Edmondson, A.C., 2020. What good leadership looks like during this pandemic. Harvard Business Review, 13(1), pp.1-8.
  • Forgeard, V. (2021). What Causes Leadership Failure (and How to Avoid It) – brilliantio. [online] Brilliantio. Available at:
  • Council, Y.E. (2016). The 5 Most Common Leadership Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them). [online]
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  • Zeng, H., Zhao, L. and Zhao, Y., 2020. Inclusive leadership and taking-charge behavior: roles of psychological safety and thriving at work. Frontiers in psychology, 11, p.62.


1. State two common mistakes that leaders make?

Ans: The two common mistakes leaders make are poor communication and the inability to delegate tasks properly among employees. Considering the employees’ talent and interests, leaders must delegate tasks among the subordinates. In the absence of effective communication, disputes and chaotic situations in the organisation affect productivity and performance.

2. What happens if leaders need to identify their mistakes?

Ans: Mistakes are inevitable, and leaders are no exception to this. If the leaders do not identify their mistakes, they cannot identify the shortcomings, so they cannot take the business to new heights. Thus leaders shall take responsibility for their mistakes and adopt strategies that will be helpful to bring optimal changes in the organisation.

3. Why should leaders motivate employees?

Ans: Every Leader shall motivate their employees. This is because leaders need to be motivated to ensure the growth of the business is stunted. Once the leaders are motivated, they will contribute wholeheartedly to the organisation’s success. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation enables the employees to bring forth their innovation and creativity, which shall be integrated into strategic management. Employees also feel motivated when the leaders enable them to participate in decision-making. They feel more valued when allowed to express their opinion regarding a particular matter.

4. Why leadership in Nokia failed?

Ans: The leadership at Nokia failed because the Leader needed to adapt himself to the changing market trends. In addition to this, the subordinates needed to be better treated by the managers. The brand value and the loyalty of the customers should be more accurate by the leaders. Furthermore, the Leader also needed to reposition itself in the market, which led to the company’s downfall.

5. Mention a few ways by which leaders can avoid mistakes in the organisation.

Ans: Organising employee training programs, valuing their opinions and motivating the team is one-way leaders can avoid organisational mistakes. In other words, leaders should know how to balance micromanagement and a hands-off approach to facilitate organisational success. Furthermore, maintaining transparent and clear communication among the employees also helps foster a collaborative working environment, which further positively impacts productivity.

Author Bio: Mark Edmonds is a seasoned professional at Academic Assignments, offering top-notch leadership assignment help to students. With a wealth of experience in leadership and management, he brings valuable insights into the field. As the author of “The 5 Most Common Leadership Mistakes,” Mark aims to educate and empower aspiring leaders to avoid common pitfalls. His expertise and commitment to excellence make him a reliable source for guiding individuals towards effective leadership practices. Through his writing, he endeavours to foster strong, capable leaders who can positively impact their teams and organizations.