7 Leadership Traps That Could Put Your Career at Risk

In the world of leadership, success hinges on the ability to navigate through a variety of challenges, both obvious and subtle. With my years of experience as an executive leadership coach, I’ve come to recognize patterns in leadership behavior that can signal danger for even the most promising careers. Let’s delve into seven traps that every leader should be wary of.

Trusting Instincts Without Insights: Leaders often hear they should trust their instincts, but gut feelings alone can lead to oversight. A landmark study revealed that leaders greatly influence employee engagement. While instincts play a role, they must always complement data and insights for informed leadership decisions.

Creating Urgency When There Is None: Leaders are often action-oriented, ready to jump into the fray. Yet, there’s a risk in seeking out problems where none exist. This behavior can overshadow the preventative measures that maintain a smooth operation. Recognize and value the team members who maintain stability, not just those who excel in a crisis.

Prioritizing Speed Over Substance: In our fast-paced business environment, quick results are always in demand. However, focusing too much on immediate outcomes can sacrifice long-term effectiveness. Successful leaders know when to prioritize quality over speed, ensuring sustainable performance.

Overlooking the Bigger Picture: Being highly focused can lead to ‘tunnel vision,’ where peripheral issues are missed. Leaders need to slow down at times, ensuring that nothing important escapes their attention. Effective leaders strike a balance between quick wins and enduring success, ensuring their team’s performance lasts.

Ignoring Small Issues: Ignoring minor problems can lead to bigger issues down the line. Addressing concerns early on, no matter how trivial they seem, can prevent larger complications. As a leader, it’s important to pay attention to all aspects of your team’s dynamics and operations.

Confining Your Identity to Leadership: Your identity as a leader is important, but it’s not your entire being. Getting too caught up in the role can limit personal growth and adaptability. Keep an open mind and be ready to evolve beyond your current leadership role.

Counteracting Natural Tendencies: Sometimes, the best action is one that goes against your initial reaction. Being aware of your natural tendencies and intentionally choosing a different path can lead to better decision-making. This approach can illuminate blind spots before they become problematic.

Awareness of these seven traps is the first step in avoiding them. By recognizing and actively countering these pitfalls, leaders can protect their careers and continue to build on their success.

Lead From Within: A true leader identifies potential career risks in their approach and makes a conscious effort to pivot, adjust, and change, ensuring growth for both themselves and those they lead.


#1 N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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