How Do You Manage Employees Effectively? 5 Crucial Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Effective team leadership is an essential part of a successful business, regardless of its size. Using talent, time, and other resources effectively can be difficult, regardless of how much experience a project manager or team leader has, or the scale of the project. Continue reading for the top five mistakes team leaders should never make and how to avoid them. 

1. Poor communication

Many of the critical mistakes that team leaders and project managers, as well as team members, make boil down to a simple lack of effective communication. Because it is a common misconception that anyone who excels at what they do will also excel at managing what they do, new project managers often learn that their communication skills are lacking the hard way. 

Being a good leader is about being a strong communicator and an effective organizer more so than being good at whatever it was they did in previous roles prior to being promoted. “For a project to go smoothly and return excellent results, everyone on the team must be absolutely certain what their role is, and it’s up to the team leader to make that clear.” Says CEO of Venture X Dallas. 

2. Failure to provide feedback

Prompt feedback is important for every member of the team. Many project managers and leaders fear coming across as harsh and unreasonable, but simply privately pointing out when someone went wrong or advising them on what they can do to improve next time even if they already did a good job is essential. In fact, any employee who hopes to progress in their career will appreciate this type of feedback. In general, be sure to give feedback privately unless you are giving it to everyone on the team (and never in front of clients or customers), do not get upset or emotional with your employees, and be clear that the feedback is meant to help them improve, not to nitpick their work or to make them feel inferior.  

3. Not setting goals, objectives, and priorities.

To run a project effectively, you have to be sure that your whole team is on the same page, whether your team is made up of you and a few others or a larger group of people. One important part of doing this is to make sure that you set goals and objectives beyond the final deadlines set by higher management and clients to help you finish the project smoothly. Don’t forget to also be clear about what tasks are most important (for example, some tasks must be completed before other parts of the project can be completed) and which are lower priority. 

It’s a good idea to lay out a gameplan at the beginning of the project that you continually adapt as aspects of it change or you fall behind or ahead of schedule for whatever reason. You should also set weekly and daily goals during meetings for your team to work towards. Not only does this help keep the project on track, but it also provides your entire team with the motivation they need to bring their best work to the table. 

4. Not delegating work 

“Team leaders often feel pressure to take on the lionshare of work on a project, whether this is to alleviate stress on their team or to prove that they are worthy of their leadership role. However, your job as a leader is to use your team’s combined skills to bring the project to completion, not to do all the work. This isn’t a good use of your time and skillset, nor is it a good use of the rest of your team’s time and skillset. “ Qamar Zaman of TopWire News 

Although it may feel easier simply to take on more work rather than explain to someone else what needs to be done, this isn’t helpful for anyone and, whether it’s true or not, can communicate to employees that you don’t think they are competent enough at their jobs. If you really feel that no one on your task is able to handle a particular task, have them shadow you while you do it once or twice before letting them do it themselves. In future, you will be able to delegate this task. 

5. Giving unclear instructions or being too hands off. 

Many managers are aware that most employees don’t want to be micromanaged, but some take this to an extreme by failing to give their team members much guidance at all. Without clear instructions and regular progress check-ins (that include time for feedback), you can run into a situation where you’ve reached a client deadline only to find out that some portion or the entirety of your project has been completed incorrectly due to the vague instructions your team received. 

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