Mistakes First Time Leaders Make

Here’s some mistakes I’ve seen first time leaders make (including myself!). It’s important to note that every first time leader makes some or all of these mistakes, and the mistakes themselves are not the problem — they’re normal. The problem comes in not recognizing and fixing them when they happen.

  • Feeling like you have to have the answers
  • Not asking for help
  • Not delegating at all
  • When you delegate, delegating the meaningless stuff
  • not listening to your subordinates
  • when your subordinates are bringing up concerns, defending your decision instead of listening to their concerns without judgment or defense
  • explaining your subordinates jobs to them
  • wanting to please your boss by saying “yes” before understanding if your team can execute on what you just promised
  • shutting down when your subordinates bring up concerns by refusing to acknowledge their issues
  • passive aggressively dealing with concerns
  • Taking the credit when your team succeeds
  • Passing the blame when your team fails
  • criticizing in public
  • praising in private
  • expressing criticism of your boss to your subordinates (usually in an effort to covey you’re on the side of your team)
  • Directing subordinates to ‘follow your orders’ because “You’re in charge”
  • Any variation of “I’m in charge” in conversations
  • “Bring me solutions not problems”
  • Hiding expectations from your team
  • portraying your expectations as your boss’s expectations

What mistakes have you seen first time leaders make?

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