Reprinted from: Forbes
by:Sandy Styer, Publisher in Forbes
Thanks to Procentus I’ve recently been introduced to a video blog from the Harvard Business Review on the biggest mistake a leader can make with ten insights from top academics and business thinkers. What they have to say may surprise you.
Top Ten Bad Behaviors
- Putting self interest first - Bill George, Professor, Harvard Business School and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic
- Everything focused on the leader – Scott Snook, , Associate Professor, Harvard Business School and retired Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineer
- Becoming too enamored of their own vision – Gianpiero Petriglieri, Affiliate Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD
- Acting too fast – Jonathan Doochin, Leadership Institute at Harvard College
- Failing to embrace uncertainty - Dr. Ellen Langer, Professor, Harvard University
- Arrogance – Carl Sloane, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School
- Lacking self-reflection – Daisy Wademan Dowling, Executive Director, Leadership Development at Morgan Stanley
- Failing to live up to their espoused values – Andrew Pettigrew, Professor, Said Business School, University of Oxford
- Being Inauthentic – Scott Snook, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School and retired Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineers
- Betraying trust – Evan Wittenberg, Head of Global Leadership Development, Google, Inc.
Mistakes One through Three
Nine thinkers, ten ideas. Let’s take a closer look. We can loosely group mistakes one through three as this: leaders start to believe it’s all about them, mistake their organization role (and the perks that go with it) as their self-worth, and fail to look beyond their inner circle.
These are the executives who hold the mistaken notion that their world is theworld. They are entitled and cloistered; and all too often they find out firsthand that the gods hate hubris.
Mistakes Four through Seven
Mistakes four, five and six don’t fall far from the first three. Leaders who make these biggest mistakes think they have all the answers. Their attitudes are arrogant, their decisions often rash, and in a world that is changing as fast as ours they miss both the threat and opportunities of uncertainty.
These executives are likely to get blindsided by reality.
Mistakes Eight, Nine and Ten
Biggest Mistake Number Ten nicely sums up this group: leaders who betray the trust of others. This kind of betrayal may range from outright fraud and malfeasance to simply saying one thing and doing another, or having two sets of rules, say, one for themselves and their friends and the second for “other people.”
These leaders are always found out because people recognize inauthenticity.
Move from Self-orientation to Service-orientation
It’s interesting to me that not one of these top thinkers said the biggest mistake a leader can make is in not paying attention to the sales pipeline, or hiring the wrong people, or letting expenses get out of hand. All of these biggest mistakes have to do with fundamentally who the leader is. Their integrity. Their understanding of something bigger than themselves. The breadth of their vision.
I suggest that the single theme which runs through all ten of the biggest mistakes is simply that leaders who make these mistakes have forgotten one thing: they have forgotten that they are in their positions to be of service to a greater good.
We can debate whether it’s a character trait, some kind of hubris, which these leaders bring with them on their rise to the top, or whether they become more and more isolated, more surrounded by yes-men (and women) or some other combination of factors which pull them into the big mistake.
But the cure is the same no matter what the cause, and the cure is a continual focus on service – to customers, to employees, to shareholders and to society at large. The cure is to move from Self-orientation to Service-orientation.