These Mistakes Drastically Impact Your Effectiveness as a Leader

Jason Cortel
5 min readJul 21, 2020

The purpose of leadership is to bring together diverse people and help them find a common purpose. It is helping them achieve purposeful common goals. Even more so, effective leadership inspires and empowers people to realize their fullest potential and harness the potential to execute the company’s vision. Leaders are made, not born. As a result, the process of becoming a leader is never-ending and requires continual evaluation, redefining, and improving. The journey is full of mistakes that impact your leadership effectiveness, identity, and leadership brand. Your effectiveness as a leader is critical because people are the most nuanced and complicated resources to manage. Moreover, they are the starting point for growth and sustainability.

Effective leadership is not only doing the right things but also understanding what not to do. Here are common mistakes that drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Not having a vision.

Leadership is all about painting a picture of a brighter and better future. Inventing, innovating, creating, building, and improving every aspect of the world in which you live. The vision a leader creates should be bold and imaginative because the leader sees what is possible. Everyone needs something to hope for and work toward. Humans have an innate desire to be great and do something great. As a result, not having a vision will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Not being present.

When a leader is not present, they are disconnected and avoid meaningful involvement with their team. Not being present is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader. How can a leader inspire or empower people if they aren’t around or available? Consequently, when leaders aren’t present, they take value from the organization rather than adding to it. When a leader isn’t present, it puts more pressure on the team to figure it out themselves.

Avoiding conflict.

Confronting conflict is one of the most challenging tasks a leader has, yet many avoid it. Having the necessary difficult conversations helps you bring together a group of diverse people. Difficult discussions help people reach their full potential and thereby harness the potential to execute the vision. Therefore, avoiding conflict is a mistake that will drastically impact your leadership effectiveness. Most noteworthy, leaders who avoid conflict are prone to passive aggression and bullying.

Playing favorites.

While it is natural to have preferences, it can become toxic when someone in a leadership role shows preferential treatment. Because leadership effectiveness starts by bringing together a diverse group of people, playing favorites will drastically impact your effectiveness. The people who are not the favorite will feel bored, unchallenged, unwanted, and unwelcomed. Consequently, playing favorites is the antithesis of leadership effectiveness.


When a leader shares their personal opinions about business decisions, or worse, makes derogatory remarks about peers and co-workers, they create a highly toxic workplace. When someone in a leadership role is gossiping, they aren’t bringing together a group of people they are dividing them. Because there is a power dynamic in play, it makes your team uncomfortable and is a distraction from helping everyone realize and reach their full potential. As a result, gossiping is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Being a bully.

People in a leadership role who are bullies are a problem. Employees who are victims of bullying behavior don’t reach their potential. They don’t realize their worth and will develop a fear of making mistakes. Low morale, low productivity, and high attrition are some of the consequences of a leader who bullies. Even more, a bully leader will make more bully leaders making it hard to stop the cycle. Being a bully is a mistake that will drastically impact your ability as a leader.

Managing activities rather than leading people.

Micromanaging has a purpose, but for the most part, it is ineffective and goes against the goal of leadership. It is nearly impossible to help people realize and reach their potential if you aren’t empowering them. Managing is controlling, administering, and planning activities. Leadership is about inspiring, encouraging, and bringing out the best in people. Effective leaders do that by building trust and challenging people to do better. As a result, managing activities rather than leading people is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Lack of healthy humility.

Broadly, humility is having self-awareness, appreciating others’ strengths and contributions, and openness to new ideas and feedback regarding your performance. Humble leaders have a better understanding of organizational needs and make better-informed decisions. Humble leaders bring people together and focus on the greater good rather than their ego. Having a lack of healthy humility is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Being inconsistent.

A key cause of poor performing employees is inconsistent leadership. Leaders need to inspire confidence with everyone in the organization at all times. They have to inspire trust to bring people together to find a common purpose. It is difficult to do that if your leadership is inconsistent. When employees don’t know what to expect from their leader, it creates fear and uncertainty. They are unable to reach their full potential because the goal and path are unclear. Therefore, being inconsistent is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Not caring for people.

Mary Kay Ash coined the phrase, “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘ make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” You can’t be in a leadership role if you don’t care for people. You have to care if you want to bring a diverse group of people together. As a leader, you have to care about people to help them realize their potential. Consequently, not caring for people is a mistake that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader.

The most common and most damaging mistakes that will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader involve interacting with people in the wrong way. The mistakes you make as a leader will haunt you day after day. Most often, these mistakes result from a lack of knowledge, bad habits, stress, or simply not caring. These mistakes will drastically impact your effectiveness as a leader. Awareness of them will help you avoid being ineffective.

Originally published at on July 21, 2020.



Jason Cortel

Changing the world by developing people professionally. Author who blogs about leadership, career advice, and coaching. #WhyYouNow