Four Horrible Leadership Decisions

Sometimes leaders are their own worst enemy. These four common decisions undermine any leader and should be avoided at all costs.

Horrible Decision Number One
Making decisions quicker than they need to be made just to clear the slate. Think for a day or two on the important decisions. Making a decision without a creative pause can be detrimental. There are things you cannot possibly see within the tyranny of the urgent.

Horrible Decision Number Two
Avoiding the big long term decisions. Long term decisions need to be made, the smaller decisions will align themselves with the big picture. Without the big picture, the small decisions can take you off the path. Treat small “off path” decisions as new potentials to be explored later, but stay focused on the big path. On the big picture.

Horrible Decision Number Three
Seeding the conversation where creativity is needed. To utilize the creativity of the team, let the team dynamic take you into unexpected territory. If you seed the conversation with your ideas, you will limit the dialog and kill the creative spark that a group dynamic brings. This is a common mistake that I see leaders make all the time.

Horrible Decision Number Four
Criticizing a team member among their peers, individually or in a group. You are the leader, your job is to make the most of the talent in the room. If you undercut an employee you will stifle every other employee that might otherwise do something bold of different. There is no better way to assure the status quo than to stifle creative thought through criticism.

I filmed this earlier in the year while staying in Long Beach. Here’s the video.

Make New Mistakes

Dr. Hermann Hauser, in a lecture at the Cambridge Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, spoke of the four big mistakes faced by the entrepreneur of today.

Time

“Everybody underestimates the time that a project takes. I was first introduced to the Einsteinian problem of time dilation early on in my physics career. The people in the workshop gave me a good rule of thumb, they said; ‘If you think something takes x amount of time, say half a year or so, multiply it by Pi.’ It usually takes just over three times as long as you think.”

Money

“Closely correlated with the time aspect is that of money. It always takes more money than expected.”

Market Size

“Over estimation of the market size is an enormous problem. Especially when it comes to over-enthusiastic young people who can see how wonderfully attractive this new product is… but nobody else does. This market size issue is a key problem…”

People Issues

“It is surprising how easily people fall out with each other, so watch out for that as well. It is a common mistake.”

“My conclusion is this, mistakes are going to happen all the time. Learn from the old ones and try not to repeat them. Try to make new mistakes. If you are not making new ones you are not trying too hard. Also, mistakes come in all guises. There is a very large number of different mistakes, although some are more common than others. Experience does actually help, so listening to some of us does pay off. You should at least listen. You don’t necessarily need to implement what we suggest, but listen, because we’ve come across most mistakes in our careers. Last but not least, learn the basics. People often ask me, ‘Aren’t entrepreneurs born, you can’t train them so you shouldn’t even try.’ Well, I always say, perhaps you cannot make a tone deaf person a concert pianist, but giving them a piano sure helps.”