4 Leadership Mistakes That Make Employees Run for the Doors

Avoiding Leadership Mistakes

Being a leader is not something anyone can just ‘wing.’ As we’ve discussed previously, it takes emotional intelligence, letting go of the ego, and a willingness to continually improve on your leadership capabilities. For aspiring talent leaders, it can be difficult to gauge undesirable management traits. While you might not notice them, your team surely does. Here are four common leadership mistakes to avoid:

Playing the blame game

As a leader, you are responsible for the success and shortcomings of your team. A seasoned leader recognizes failure as an area of opportunity for growth and progress. While often well-intentioned, a not-so-great leader will look for a way to assign blame — resulting in a team that operates under fear. Understand that regardless of the situation, you have the ability to turn the circumstance into a teachable moment. Coach on the mistakes and show your team that failure is par for the course. This in turn teaches them not to internalize mistakes, while strengthening your relationship with your team.

Pitting employees against each other

Nobody wants to work in a Hunger Games situation. An ideal work environment works as a unit. When management turns the workplace into an “us vs. them” setup, it does two things. First, your employees are distrustful of you and their colleagues, thus lowering productivity. Secondly, it won’t be long until they begin to seek employment elsewhere. Today’s workforce is agile and resourceful. Provided they have a strong skill set, another company can benefit from your management mistakes.


Micromanaging is one of the age-old complaints about leadership. And there’s a reason for that. Managers that micromanage their team send the message that they do not believe their team can do their jobs adequately. Not to mention, it causes undue stress and – you guessed it – a mass exodus of your people. Leaders have to understand the difference between giving guidance and being overbearing.

No direction of career development

Imagine that you have to make a wedding cake—only you have the ingredients but no instruction as to how to construct it. You know where to start, but you don’t know how to accomplish the end goal. This is exactly how employees feel when their management fails to give specific guidelines on how to succeed within the company. Sure, they may know how to do their job, but without the understanding of the company’s mission or a route to advancing their career, they will eventually begin to disengage from the workplace. This in turn creates the ‘churn and burn’ effect—where employees working hard with little to no purpose become complacent and unable to see career potential in their employment.


Anyone who has held a leadership role knows the different hats one has to balance in order to lead well. The last thing organizations want is a revolving door of employees. Support your team through challenges. Build a team community instead of fostering a combative environment. Don’t forget to give your people enough room to breathe and succeed. Lastly, invest in their career growth. When your employees are happy and thriving in their roles, both the individual and the organization win.