There are three things you can do to yourself that will undermine your leadership more than a full-scale rebellion.
These three things are powerful enough individually. Put them together and you’ve signed your death warrant as a leader.
What are the three deadly errors leaders make to undermine themselves?
The first deadly error is panic.
It’s pretty easy to tell why this choice undermines your leadership. When you panic, your team panics. If they’re not, they might be laughing at you. Or they may feel lost, confused, and stressed. That’s a real morale killer.
When you panic, you can’t think clearly. This leads to spur of the moment, fly by the seat of your pants bad choices that lead to oblivion. By the time you cool off, you’ll wonder what happened, feel frustrated, and think about polishing up your resume.
The second deadly error is perfectionism.
It’s hard to be a good leader when you never know when to say, “That’s good enough.”
Perfectionism shackles you to impossible standards. It’s what keeps you up all night long on a project so that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed. It’s that force that keeps you in front of the mirror for an hour making sure every single hair is in its proper place. It’s the compulsion that leads you to spend three days looking for just the right paint for your living room walls.
When you’re mired in perfectionism, you can’t move freely because you’re always second guessing yourself and others.
The third deadly error is paralysis of analysis.
You’ve probably heard of this one. Here’s what it means. You spend a lot of times putting out fires. You respond to whatever confronts you first and loudest because you’re confused about what’s really important. You don’t know what’s most important because you don’t have a plan. You don’t have a plan because you don’t have a vision for what you want to accomplish.
That’s a long road to ruin, isn’t it?
You’re paralyzed by failing to get to the root cause of any problem. So you end up putting band-aids on cancer and gaining only temporary relief.
What can you do now to strengthen your leadership?
1) Be courageous.
This is the direct opposite of panic. You find this when you have a vision, a plan, and a desired outcome.
Think of the three as a descending staircase. You begin with your vision. It’s the ground you stand on. It’s what determines the steps you take. The steps are your daily plan. It’s the road map that gets you to your desired outcome.
Courage only requires a general map. You can’t know what lies behind every corner. You can’t predict if you’ll definitely have sunshine for the entire trip. You could have a flat tire or a deer might cross your path. But you do have a destination in mind. Courage is the vehicle that pushes you to get there, come what may.
2) Do your best.
Give your all to the day’s work. Don’t worry for a minute about having a perfect day. You might, but then you might not. In fact, something is bound to go wrong some time. Just do the very best you can with the time you have. Then move on.
You’ve heard you only get one shot at a first impression. There’s no way around that. So shoot like your life was on the line and there’s no tomorrow. Don’t second guess yourself. Once the ball is in the air, there’s no turning back.
Remember this. Everyone fails sometime. You’re not perfect. No one is. It’s impossible. Here’s what is possible. You can be your best.
Shoot for that.
3) Solve your problems now.
Go as deep as you can as soon as you can. Cut through the clutter by using the four questions Dale Carnegie poses in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Here they are:
What is the problem?
What are the causes of the problem?
What are the possible solutions?
What is the best possible solution?
If you’ll take a few minutes to write out and answers these four vitally important questions, you’ll keep the erupting crises from exploding into forest fires that consume all of your productive time. If nothing else, you’ll move your organization in a forward direction.
Isn’t that your job as a leader?
Now you’ve learned the three deadly errors of leadership and what you can do about all of them. Leadership is not easy – without a roadmap. Take these steps and lead your team to accomplish things that will astound you!