5 Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Successful Business Leader

Leadership is essential when you run a small business, but that doesn't mean it always comes easily or automatically to entrepreneurs.

Being at the helm is a complicated position, requiring a range of critical skills, personal traits and years of experience, explains a post by Boss magazine.

Effective leadership is essential to being a successful business owner – you'll be able to achieve more in all areas – but it takes thought and practice.

As you work to hone your leadership skills, here are 5 things you should avoid.

Talking too much. Entrepreneurial types tend to have a lot of great ideas and don't mind sharing them with others. But influential leaders know when it's best to stop talking.

So, instead, listen more – and carefully.

"Real listening means letting team members steer conversations," says serial entrepreneur Andy Bailey, author of the book, No Try Only Do: Building a Business on Purpose, Alignment, and Accountability.

"Leaders who listen absorb feedback and take in details that help them craft mindful responses," writes Bailey, founder of Petra Coach, an entrepreneurial coaching firm, in a Boss magazine article.

Expecting perfectionism. This no-no has a broad application -don't expect perfectionism in yourself or others.

Learning and growing is a constant state that successful leaders understand needs to happen, says serial entrepreneur and leadership consultant Caren Merrick. They adhere to a basic formula of: launch, tweak, improve, she adds. 

"They expect to keep making improvements as they grow their business, listen to and stay connected with their customers and team members," she writes in a blog on her website. "They know they're not perfect and learn from mistakes and setbacks."

Undervaluing the importance of emotions. A successful leader should not ignore the power of emotions, says organizational and clinical psychologist George Kohlrieser. 

In a study that examined people's behavior, loss and a fear of anticipated failure was more of an effective driver compared to the possible benefits and rewards, according to Kohlrieser, a distinguished professor of leadership and organizational behavior at IMD.

Those in leadership positions who ignore emotions of loss and disappointment made a critical mistake as it significantly reduced employee engagement, he writes in an article posted on IMD.

"You can make a huge difference simply by being aware of these emotions and showing true interest in that part of a person's experience."

Saying one thing, doing another. The rules and expectations you've set at your business apply to everyone, including you. 

Don't say one thing and do another. Instead, a successful leader should serve as a role model for employees.

"For example, if you want employees to adhere to your dress code or maintain a positive attitude, you need to display those actions," writes Sammi Caramela in a story for Business News Daily"You set the tone for how your team will behave, so lead by example."

Not giving adequate feedback. Giving feedback, even when it's negative, can be difficult, but a good leader has to do so - to guide your employees.

"Leaders exist to provide feedback," writes Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of Audiencebloom, a Seattle-based marketing agency specializing in SEO.

"In most cases, you'll be the most experienced or most knowledgeable person on the team, and in all other cases, you'll be the one people look to for feedback and support," he writes in an Inc. article. "It's a crucial role that you'll need to play if you want to nurture the best in your team and nip any problems in the bud."

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