The 10 Biggest Leadership Mistakes: How Bosses Scare Off Their Best Employees


There is a rule of thumb that says that every manager has the employees they deserve after 2 years at the latest. Your actions as a supervisor are therefore not only responsible for your business success, but especially for the loyalty and quality of your employees. A lack of skills in leading a team is usually underestimated because many mistakes go unnoticed. So at some point, the question arises: Why did my best employee quit? In the following, we will show you the 10 biggest management mistakes and explain how not to scare off your best employees unnoticed.

The 10 Biggest Leadership Mistakes: How To Lose Your Good Employees

Basically, executives can make countless mistakes that affect the various levels of the company. For example, a lack of organizational skills and self-discipline negatively affects the success of the business. However, there are some mistakes that, as the boss, can even cause you to lose many of your employees. Here are the 10 most common and worst leadership killers that you as a manager should absolutely avoid:

Leadership mistake 1: You don’t take time to cultivate relationships

A leader who doesn’t care about people is almost doomed to failure. However, pure interest is not enough, because it requires the ambition to want to establish a personal connection with everyone involved in the company. That doesn’t mean that you have to be particularly fond of each of your employees, but that you should just get to know and understand them.

Leadership mistake 2: You are not available and accessible

Of course, as a manager, you have to delegate tasks, but without being emotionally distant. If you assign certain tasks to your employees, you should of course also keep an eye on them and be available to them if they have any questions. Availability and accessibility play a major role here, because otherwise employees quickly feel left alone or overwhelmed.

Leadership mistake 3: You do not promote individual skills

Another serious mistake executives can make in managing their workforce is not focusing on the talents of each employee. As a boss, you have to put yourself in the shoes of an employee and understand that job satisfaction can only be achieved if skills and competencies are promoted. Focus especially on the learning success of your employees and not solely on the success of the company.

Leadership mistake 4: You don’t give regular feedback

People only work productively and effectively when they know the value of their work. Executives often ignore this need and thus rob employees of their individual sense of success with regard to their careers. Even if negative feedback can be painful, competent bosses know how to convey it in such a way that employees are really grateful for it in the end. By being honest with your employees, you motivate them to perform better.

Leadership mistake 5: You ignore emotions

If you think that as a manager it is not appropriate to share emotions, as these are only associated with loss, disappointment and failure in the employment relationship, then you are wrong. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that the fear of expected loss, such as employment, affects employees more in their behavior than special benefits and other special achievements. Therefore, you should pay special attention to the fears and concerns of your workforce.

Leadership mistake 6: You fail to resolve conflicts

Unresolved conflicts are poison for any business because they block cooperative skills and cohesion within a group. In the long term, negative feelings mean that common goals cannot be pursued and achieved. As a manager, it is your task to uncover such conflicts in the team and to bring them up and clarify them in daily meetings, for example. This is the only way for everyone involved to enjoy their work and for the team to consolidate in the long term.

Leadership mistake 7: You shy away from any change

Another big mistake bosses often make is sticking to the old. Without change, every organization dies sooner or later, because progress is necessary in order to grow. If necessary, educate your employees that new is good, even if fear of the unknown sometimes makes us stick with the old. If you succeed in encouraging your employees to go down unknown paths, your company will benefit in the long term.

Leadership Mistake 8: You are not encouraging your people to take risks

Just like the courage to change, successful companies require a certain willingness to take risks. As a manager, you shouldn’t make the mistake of leaving your employees in their comfort zone, otherwise, everyone will quickly get bored and you won’t really get any further. If you can get your employees to have the courage to take risks, you can achieve successes that are beyond your minimum requirements and expectations.

Leadership mistake 9: You misunderstand employee motivation

Employee motivation is high on the list of successful leadership. Most people feel motivated by certain attributes, such as professional challenges, to learn something new, to be of special value or to be able to further develop their own talents. Many managers mistakenly focus on external motivators such as bonus payments, salary increases, company vehicles or other benefits and rewards. Rather, as the boss, you should focus on inner motivation by promoting the individual needs and emotional desires of your employees.

Leadership mistake 10: You control actions instead of leading people

Managers often tend to focus on managing appointments, tasks and duties. However, as a boss, you should especially manage your employees, inspire them, encourage them and bring out the best in them. This works best by building trust and encouraging your team to take positive risks. Taking the reins means you need to focus on seeing people as people. This is of course very time-consuming and requires a lot of attention, which brings us back to leadership error number 1.

Effects of Bad Leadership on Employees

Good employees don’t leave the company, they leave the boss – this saying is tough, but it sums up the phenomenon of bad leadership. This is also supported by statistics on the subject, because around 60 percent of all employees quit their job because of a poor manager. The 10 biggest management mistakes mentioned above have a serious impact on the workforce. But apart from the worst-case “termination”, what else happens to employees who are dissatisfied with their boss?

Here are the four most important consequences of incompetent leadership:

  • Decrease in morale to the point of a complete loss of discipline.
  • Increased blood pressure due to stress, which can even lead to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Incorrect allocation of resources reduces productivity and effectiveness.
  • A lack of commitment and a collapse in work motivation worsen performance.

Leadership Skills: Top 10 Qualities of a Good Boss

“Anyone who wants to live up to their leadership role must have enough common sense to delegate the tasks to the right people – and enough self-discipline not to mess with them.” – Theodore Roosevelt

After you have already been able to get an idea of ​​what bad leadership is and which mistakes you should absolutely avoid in order to not scare off any of your employees, we now give you an overview of the most important leadership qualities. In the foreground of competent leadership is in particular emotional intelligence, because this cannot be easily learned even with the best training and coaching in the world.

In addition, the following characteristics make a really good boss:

  • Personal integrity
  • Ability to delegate
  • Communication skills
  • Self-consciousness
  • Gratitude
  • Ability to learn
  • Influence
  • Empathy
  • Courage
  • Respect

Whereas really competent managers have these ten skills, there are of course also good bosses who cannot demonstrate all of these qualities. Either way, you should note that without these characteristics, it’s hard to be a really good boss. Perhaps you will discover a few more weak points in yourself that make it difficult for you to really practice all of this. However, if you are open to change and grow personally to embody all of these qualities, you are well on your way to becoming a truly competent supervisor.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do wrong as a boss. In particular, with the ten fatal management mistakes mentioned above, you will sooner or later scare off your employees. In order to prove real leadership competence, you should orient yourself more towards the characteristics of a really good manager and pay special attention to the personality of your team. Get to know your employees and promote a sense of community in order to achieve business goals on an equal footing.


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