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I will share with you the 10 mistakes that I have made when I was still a traditional manager and what I have been doing instead.
1 | Trying to Deliver Everything That’s Expected
My first biggest mistakes that I made as a traditional manager was trying to deliver everything that was expected from me. This was a habit that was deeply ingrained in me from a young age. To get good grades in school, you would do everything that was expected from you. This even traveled into my early career, as you get promoted if you deliver. With the transformation into the digital age, I had requests coming from everywhere and I truly needed to define when I would stop. Trying to deliver everything that was expected from me to its best potential was just not possible anymore. It almost led to me burning out. What I had to learn instead was to focus and to focus you must learn to say no to people and opportunities.
Looking at your own habits, are you trying to deliver everything that is expected from you?
2 | Working Very Hard
I work very hard and have become really good at managing my time. As I had more and more things to do, I had more and more expectations coming from my shareholders, management, headquarters, and my employees. What I did instead of focusing was that I tried to manage my time better. I took courses on getting things done and time management and became really good at managing my time. I had scheduled my time almost down to the minute trying to juggle all the things I needed to get done. What was happening though was that I started to lose my energy. I didn’t have the energy anymore and I started to make mistakes and resist change. I no longer was learning new things. Instead of managing my time, I turned my attention to managing my energy first. I was facing all of challenges and I had to focus and learn how to say no to things. If I didn’t, I would quickly become exhausted and stressed.
When you have the energy, you open yourself to being able to tackle challenges, handling bad news and situations, and even having your most creative ideas. When you have energy, you learn new skills and step outside of your comfort zone.
Are you good at managing your time or are you better at managing your energy?
3 | Being Action Oriented
When I saw something that wasn’t working well, I would do something about it, I would immediately take action. When I saw an opportunity, I would act upon it. I’m a very action-oriented person, but the problem is that sometimes you can find yourself in a loop where the actions you are taking are not giving you the wanted results. Being action oriented wasn’t enough anymore, I had to learn how to manage my interpretations, mindsets, and beliefs before my actions. Learning to manage my mindset before actions suddenly revealed possibilities that were not visible before. Managing our mindsets and interpretations before acting helps us be more aware of the things that might stand in our way or that we are not seeing yet.
How about your mindset? Do you believe that you have the mindset that will help you reach the outcomes that you want? What about your organization?
4 | Not Being Aware of Current Habits
A lot of what we do comes from our habits. The habits discussed already were habits that were standing in the way of my own success. But I wasn’t always aware of these habits. It’s important to take a step back and observe yourself and really analyze the habits that you already have.
Are your habits serving you now or are they standing in the way of your success?
5 | Working Mainly on Strategy
I would make these great action plans, define the strategy, and then implement the plans thinking that everything would go according to plan. What actually happened though was my team, at the time, did not have the appropriate culture to really implement the strategy very well. Culture in an organization is the sum of the habits of everyone in the organization. You often hear the saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, but as the culture is the sum of the habits of the people involve, it’s really the “habits that will eat your strategy for breakfast”. I help leaders and their organizations change the culture within their organizations. With a new culture you will have the foundation to really implement plans rapidly while seizing more opportunities than your competitors!
What about you and your organization? Are you working mainly on strategy, processes, plans, and projects? Or are you also spending a lot of time working on the people’s habits and on your organization’s culture?
6 | Speaking More to Convince People
In the past, I have worked in meetings that were very chaotic. If I didn’t speak, I was not listened to and so I had learned to speak a lot and to convince people. Unfortunately, at a certain point, I realized that the problems that we had to solve became more complex and I couldn’t solve them by myself anymore. I needed a psychologically safe team to solve these issues. A psychologically safe team shows empathy while giving equal speaking time to everyone in the team. Instead of talking a lot to convince people, I had to learn to listen instead. By listening to the team, you will find some of the best ideas that might not be brought up if you are talking the whole time.
How good are you at listening? When was the last time you were listened to or the last time that you deeply listened to somebody?
7 | Solving Issues Too Rapidly
I hate issues and I hate problems. When faced with a problem, I usually would feel bad mentally and physically. To escape these feelings, I would solve the issue at hand too rapidly. If you fix issues too fast, you will start to work very operationally and will find yourself not only new issues but also the same issues you thought you solved! Instead of solving issues too fast, what I have learned to do instead is to stop and analyze the root cause of an issue and then solve the root cause instead of just the symptoms of the issue.
Look at yourself for a second, do you take the time to stop and analyze an issue? Or do you want to get rid of the issues as fast as possible?
8 | Working on Improving Weaknesses
By improving your weaknesses, you start to become an average manager as you are no longer focusing on your strengths. You really should be working on building up your strengths and then collaborating with your team for things that fall under your weakness. When you try to push everyone to improve their weaknesses, you will get average people and an average team. Try to keep improving on your strengths and collaborate on the things that you are weak at.
Are you working on improving your weaknesses? Or do you collaborate for these weaknesses?
9 | Wanting to Control Everything
I wanted to control everything so that I could avoid chaos at all costs. By learning to say no for example, the problems that you are no longer spending energy on will not solve themselves and in turn can generate a lot of chaos. By learning to let go and accept this chaos, you will gain more control over not only your results but your life as well.
Are you trying to control everything or are you able to let go?
10 | Showing Strength in All Situations
I have always had this idea that as a leader or as a person in general, I had to show strength in all situations. I had become someone who would never show weakness and portrayed that everything was always under control. This can become very heavy to carry and all I was really doing was alienating the team members. They were no longer following me or my vision as they didn’t believe in me and they could not relate to me anymore. Instead, I had to show my vulnerability to allow them to know that I too had times of uncertainty and worry. By showing my vulnerability people started to follow me and my vision again.
Are you showing your vulnerability to colleagues, family, and friends?
What are the mistakes that you are making and what are the habits that you would like to work on first?
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