Top mistakes today's executives make in leading their organizations

Four Tips on Leadership Pitfalls to Avoid From Lee Hecht Harrison

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 3, 2004 -- In today's uncertain economy, many organizations have been making some drastic changes to stay competitive and productive. This means that CEOs and other executives must hone their leadership skills to make the most of what they have and inspire their teams to new heights of achievement. But not all executives have leadership down to a science, according to the experts at leading career services company Lee Hecht Harrison. Leaders might be armed with plenty of technical skills and experience, but may still be making critical mistakes in managing their teams that can negatively impact their organization's bottom line.

"An employee-centered culture ensures a customer-focused culture," says Susan Howington, senior vice president and managing director of Lee Hecht Harrison's southern California offices. "One common leadership mistake is a lack of team-building skills. If, as a leader, one of my primary concerns is not the welfare of my team, then I'll never know just how successful we can be. Positive regard for your people leads to the best customer service, the highest level of contribution by each team member and the highest profits."

Here are four other common executive leadership mistakes from the experts at Lee Hecht Harrison:

-- Failure to make decisions or delaying the process and losing a competitive advantage. Perhaps being too afraid of making a mistake is a mistake! Most executives make good decisions when they actually make them, but many are fearful of taking any risk and lose important opportunities.

-- Lack of people skills: Your employees are your most valuable asset and give an organization its competitive edge. The ability to listen, be consistent and evoke trust is crucial in managing a team and creates an atmosphere of commitment and pride.

-- Not investing in your people: While most executives see the return on investment in maintaining and improving equipment for their company, the investment in one's employees through providing career development and coaching opportunities pays off even faster.

-- Wasting time on the insignificant: Use your employee resources and trust your key people with decision-making responsibilities. Giving more autonomy to responsible employees will free you up from putting out fires that can be handled by others.

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