3 Mistakes Leaders Make: Problems & Solutions

[Working Woman] Retrieved on November 17, 2013 from http://chelseasgirl.wordpress.com/tag/sofia-coppola/

[Working Woman] Retrieved on November 17, 2013 from http://chelseasgirl.wordpress.com/tag/sofia-coppola/

Are you a beauty leader?  Okay! prove it by avoiding these three leadership mistakes………..

1.       Leading without problem solving: In every-day business situations, it is unavoidable something will go wrong or a process and/or system will be put in place that does not meet one’s expectations. It is normal and healthy for leaders/ managers to vocalize what is going wrong and state what needs to get done to fix the problem. It is often the case; problems presented by leader’s state the problem without pre-empting a problem solving approach i.e. the ‘how’ to resolve the issue. Most top leaders today want to hear not only the problems happening below them but also a recommend solution to fix the problem. Leaders and managers who don’t take a problem solving approach to challenges are often doing nothing more than just complaining.

 Solution: If you want to stand out as an aspiring leader from your peers then think of a creative solution to the problem at hand before addressing it with your leader. Even if the solution to the problem presented is not the best solution, it will show your boss that you have spent quality time thinking through the problem. For example, if you are the manager of a spa and you find out the grand opening of the newly renovated spa will be delayed due to inefficiency of vendors shipping in the wrong products –  you have to now notify the owner of this problem what do you do:

 A. Call the owner, state the problem and wait for the owner to provide you a solution

 B. Call the owner, state the problem with a recommended solution on how to address the issue of the spa  grand opening  delay  

C.  Try to fix the problem yourself and then if your solution fails, call the owner.

(correct answer is B)

2.       Telling people the answers before letting them come up with the solution first: In the business world today, time is money. You have to quickly train receptionists to work the books, learn the operating system for scheduling, train your spa technicians on stocktaking of products etc. Generally, most leaders when training their staff take a top down approach, showing them how to do things in a particular way, answering any questions and hoping the person you just trained will remember everything you said. But let’s be realistic, if you just spent the past 30 min speaking with your employee about a complicated task, it is often the case their attention span did not last more than 10 min at best. Especially if your employee has minimum professional experience, it is highly likely this person will make mistakes in the first several weeks, even first few months. In this situation, the biggest mistake leaders make is telling the employee how to do their job without first enabling the trainee/employee to exemplify their leadership style and knowledge.

 Solution: One way to avoid delays and repeated mistakes among employees in the learning process is by taking a coach approach to training them on the job. This means asking them to answer the question on how to do something first before telling them first the solution. Taking a coach based approach provides an opportunity for the employee to engage with the subject matter being taught which increases the chances they will learn the technique faster because they are making more mistakes upfront instead of later on when you are not there. Asking your employee how they think something should get done allows you to better understand how they approach problem-solving, giving you more access to prepare for any future risks of mistakes that could be made. It is also an opportunity to share your knowledge and exercise patience.

 3.       Lacking Emotional Intelligence: The ability to express and control our emotions is important but also our ability to understand and interpret and respond to the emotions of others. One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is lacking what psychologist call emotional intelligence. Most leaders today have no clue that they lack in emotional intelligence, how could they if they are not self-aware? Research shows that people are not driven by money but purpose; they want to be a part of something greater than themselves and give back to society. As a leader, its important you are not only good at communicating with your employees but also motivating them to do and achieve more. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence often face limitations in their success.

Solution: Having emotional intelligence is one way to become a respected and an admired leader – leaders who know when to get in your face and know when to back off. There are several components to emotional intelligence to consider: 1. Perceiving emotions – the first step to understand emotions is to accurately perceive them; 2. Reasoning with emotions – the second step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. For example, emotions help to prioritize what leaders pay attention to and react to; 3. Understanding emotions – the emotions we perceive in ourselves and others can have many different meanings. It is important as leaders to know how to interpret signals and what specific emotions might mean and 4. Managing emotions – the ability to manage emotions is a key part of emotional intelligence, regulating and responding to others is all a part of emotional management leaders need to run a successful business.


Lauren Serota is a leadership development and management strategist for organizations and companies undergoing change initiatives and dealing with complex problem solving. Lauren works with a range of clients in the United States and Internationally to implement talent strategy solutions to grow global leaders in order to improve business operations and shift cultural organizational awareness. Lauren believes that in order for companies and leaders to be successful they must learn from success and failure and to teach lessons about leading and learning. She holds a Masters of Science in Management and Strategy from New York University, a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University and  a B.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.



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