Say the word ‘leader’ and often we can’t help but think of someone with a commanding presence and a great capacity for speech.

But contrary to what society tells us (still), brilliant leaders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be young, old, introverted, extroverted, with a title, without a title – and everything in between.

Something that every brilliant leader has in common is not an external presence but an internal authority based on authenticity and humanship. Yet so many leaders focus on the former.

Here’s seven leadership mistakes you may be making right now. 

  • Pretending to be a leader that you aren’t
    To be a brilliant leader you have to be your very own kind of leader. When you emulate someone else’s style and try to make it fit for you it doesn’t work – imagine a llama dressed as a flamingo and you get the idea. People need you to be you because who you are determines the way you lead. Discover your true self and let you beam.
  • Communicating not connecting
    There’s a LOT of communication that goes on out there – but so much of it doesn’t land. If we can bin the word, communicate, and bring in the word connect (with bells on), the transactional suddenly becomes meaningful. People ask for more communication (all the time) but no-one ever asks for more email – think about it.
  • Not giving enough airtime to feelings
    When we make space for and acknowledge others’ feelings it makes them feel valued and heard. When leaders don’t talk about how they feel and make room for others to do the same, trust is the casualty. Even hard conversations can be opened with the words ‘I know this feels like a difficult thing to discuss.’
  • Talking too much
    We have one mouth and two ears for a good reason. As a leader you might think that people are always looking to you for an answer, instruction or opinion, but often they just need you to stop talking and listen. We learn absolutely nothing when we’re talking and leaders who listen (a lot) are loved (and have their finger on the pulse).
  • Staying in the same communication gear
    If you always communicate the same way, you’ve become wallpaper (sorry). Send out a video, leave a voice note, record a podcast, write a poem – connect in a different way to your usual method (you’re guilty as charged, Generic Monthly Email Circular!) Your preferred communication style will not tick the boxes of all your team.
  • Not being curious enough
    Children are naturally curious creatures and as we get older, so much of that is lost as we gain life experience and figure things out (or at least we think we do!). But curiosity is key to being a great leader and without it, there’s so much you’ll miss. Bring in plenty of open questions (make that religion) and call your team without agendas.
  • Leaving your fun side at home
    Lots of leaders leave their most fun, eccentric, entertaining side at home and this is a huge mistake. Laughter is about relationships and trust is built when we laugh together. JestologyTM is our unique approach to storytelling, entertainment, facilitation and fun in leadership – a Jester leader stands out from the crowd.

We help brave and ambitious leaders discover and understand their natural leadership style in order to lead growth, lead confidently – but above all, Lead Happy™ .