Three Common Mistakes That Sidetrack New Leaders

You have just stepped into a new role or been asked to lead a major project. You’re excited and you want to make an exceptional first impression. Your first 30 days whiz by and you feel like you’re lacking the impact you had hoped for.

From my own corporate experience and from working with leaders over the past fifteen years, I have found three common mistakes that get new leaders sidetracked.


Taking direction from everyone around you.

You are new in your role, anxious to make a good impression and, willing to take advice from others. Getting and taking advice can be beneficial, but only if it’s from someone who has created the success that you desire to create.

It is important for you to know who you are and what you stand for so you can be selective about what and who you are willing to listen to. If the person giving advice is where you want to be and they also align with your values, great! If not, thank them and go find someone that is.

Seek to surround yourself with people that will champion you. It is critical when you are in a new position and establishing yourself as a new leader.

SOLUTION: Listen to the people that are like-minded and who are where you want to be.


Thinking you need to be like the leader before you.

Clients regularly express concern in how to “be the new leader” when the previous boss was so well-liked. The previous leader was successful because he/she did what worked for them. It is critical for you to establish your leadership brand and be clear what works for you.

Getting clarity comes from knowing who you really are and how you want to be known. Acting from your place of truth will win people over because it is what got you where you are.

You will be making changes and not everyone is comfortable with change. When you introduce change to your team, define the expectations and ask for their feedback. Let them know you are willing to make adjustments based on what they did, not on the fact that things have always been done a certain way. Being clear goes a long way for you and for the team you are leading.

SOLUTION: Be clear about who you are and engage with what works best for you to create success. Being authentic will earn you respect and may even make you likeable!!


Get into the habit of doing instead of leading.

Doing is comfortable, although it is not a place you can lead from. You have been acknowledged for your great work with your new role so now it is important to step outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself.

A good place to start is having a conversation with your boss to understand expectations and objectives. Ask for the bigger vision so you are able to share that with your team. Don’t forget to ask for any advice he/she can give you to succeed in your new role.

SOLUTION: Stop doing and lead. Decide how you want to be as a leader.  Define your brand to build your confidence in stepping outside your comfort zone. Look at your list of things to do and decide which ones are absolutely yours, then delegate the rest.

Create a brand that is authentic and establishes you as a leader. Take the time to speak with your boss to set the path. Get to know your team so you can inspire and motivate them. Make sure to block time to plan so you are delegating and not doing.

Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!

Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Dorothy Lazovik

Dorothy is on a mission to shift the culture of organizations to people first! Supporting leaders in fulfilling their TO BE LIST to better deliver on their TO DO LIST. Doing the work impacts how leaders see themselves, the people they lead, the environment they create and the outcomes they achieve. Producing higher engagement, ownership and productivity. How would making a change like this elevate your business results?

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