Mistakes New Leaders Make: Losing Sight Of The Big PicturePosted on March 16, 2014

Justin Clark, MBA

This twelve week series is a collection of my personal experiences as a new leader over the past three years. These are not only mistakes that I have made, but that I continue to make at times. I hope that by sharing my experiences, readers will be able to navigate their role as a leader more skillfully. 

What are the barriers to doing this?

Go here. Do that. Reply to another email. Check. Check. Check. Another day complete, another list of tasks marked off. But was any progress actually made? At times, it has been easy for me to become consumed by the task of completing tasks. What I mean, is that I get so caught up in the act of completing my tasks that I can’t even remember what I was trying to accomplish. Or even worse, I mistake activity for productivity. After all, if I had a busy day, I had a productive day, right?

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The primary focus of every leader should be to achieve results. Period. Without results driven leadership, an organization will likely wander aimlessly through their market. Perhaps it will be more successful in some years than others, but it will ultimately not reach its fullest potential. This is why it is important to clearly define goals and focus on achieving them. As a leader, it is your job to focus on these goals to produce the most desirable outcomes for your organization.  Any task that does not contribute to reaching your stated goals should be reevaluated.

How can you do it?

  1. Make goal-setting a regular part of your routine. Include members of your team in this process. This will help you identify the best goals as well as engage your employees.
  2. Once you identify your goals, make sure that your tasks are properly aligned to help you achieve them.
  3. Monitor your progress toward each goal. You should do this through data collection and reporting. A dashboard is a great tool for this!
  4. Communicate your progress with your team.
  5. Hold yourself and your team accountable for performance.

How has keeping the big picture in mind helped you as a leader?


2 Responses

Kendall L. Stewart March 16th, 2014

It turns out that one of the key skills that the leader must master is the ability to fail successfully. This is a lot harder than it sounds. Successful leaders become experts at failing. They understand that failure is essential to eventual success. But leaders can only master failure by keeping their eyes on the big picture, the ultimate goal. Lesser leaders fail, become discouraged and give up, neglecting to see beyond their current circumstances. For them, failure is not energizing, but paralyzing. Competent leaders fail, learn and take another approach.

decampv March 17th, 2014

Once I came to the realization that leaders are here to produce results, things changed for me. Priorities are very clear. The “to do” pile on my desk doesn’t consume me unless it is one of SOMC’s priorities. And as Kendall so eloquently pointed out. Failure is a good thing! That is how we learn and grow and change! Learning to challenge one another in love has also moved this organization forward and will continue to do so!

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