Most of the time when teaching leadership we teach from the perspective of what an effective leader should do. But what about from the perspective of what you should not do ? Or what about the things you should avoid not doing ? Hopefully not everything I a about to say is new to you as a leader. At the same time I hope to help you look at things from a new perspective that will add to your understanding. Let's share some thoughts.

ASSUMPTION- A small amount of assumption at the right times is not necessarily a bad thing. However too many people, assume too much, too often. When this happens too often a high degree of inaccurate information gets introduced into your decision making. The success of your decision making is highly dependent on the quality of information feeding into it. So keep a close eye on how much assumption you are using and how often.

NOT FOSTERING REPORT WITH YOUR TEAM- There is a lot of truth to the idea that you are there to be your team's leader not their friend. On the other hand it doesn't hurt to have a good relationship with your team and every member of it. Think about taking lunch as a group now and then. Think of other ways you can get to know them as people, and not just tools to get the job done.

NO ACTIVE LISTENING- Do you truly listen, or are you just “ going through the motions ?” Study things like reflective listening, and body language. These techniques make your listening more effective. You will likely find out that those you lead are already telling you more than you think.

NOT STAYING INFORMED- Many leaders fail by not keeping up with what is going on elsewhere in their organization, their community etc. Are the point of purchase materials ready for that big sale in tomorrow's paper ? Or another example, if you are not aware of your communities festivals etc your organization could miss out on valuable outreach opportunities. As a leader you must always keep informed and not be caught napping.

NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF- As a leader there is constant temptation to put your own needs aside in order to keep things moving. However if you do this to the point that your health suffers or your own effectiveness wanes, what happens to your team ?

FAILURE TO DELEGATE- This is partly related to the point above. If you are not delegating properly, you are more likely to overwork yourself. Of course you must have trained people to delegate to or you can't delegate. This brings up a second point on this thought. If you are not delegating properly you are depriving the members of your team of growth opportunities. Leadership Mega Guru John C. Maxwell teaches, “ Adding value to people is the core of leadership.” One great way to add value to people is to delegate tasks to them that allow them to grow.

DRESSING ALIKE- There is a commonly taught rule of thumb that you should dress just a hair better than those you lead. You don't want to over dress and put yourself on a high horse either. If your team is in “polos,” consider bumping up to a dress shirt. If your team is in dress shirts consider adding a jacket or tie. If you don't you loose a valuable and effective visual clue that will make it easier to establish and maintain your authority.

INDECISIVENESS- This is where things like staying informed come in handy. Leadership is all about making decisions. Often those decisions have to be made quickly and with little notice. Those decisions added together set the future of your organization. Everybody makes mistakes, and you are right in trying to avoid them. But you can' t “waffle” or you will appear weak. You can't always wait either. If a decision has to be made, you can't be afraid to make it.

FAILURE TO PLAN- Leadership is also all about vision. The leader is the one who determines where the team is going to go and how they are going to get there. Plans should be clear, detailed, and flexible. You have to have a clear direction, but things in today's world are constantly changing, and you and your team have to be able to adjust quickly. You also need to make sure that EVERY member of your team understands your plan and their part in it.

We have not covered everything that could throw your leadership efforts off of course. Hopefully I have given you a lot to think about. Better yet talk some of these ideas over with your team, and see how they think these ideas can make your team better.

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield is a bi-vocational minister living in Katy, Texas. He has received the Competent Leader Designation from Toastmasters International He has led people one on one and in groups in the hundreds. He has led in environments spanning government/politics, business and the military. He is the founder and editor of FaithInspires.Org an internationally known Christian news and information blog. Follow him on Twitter at he can also frequently be found on Facebook and YouTube.