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How to Avoid These Three Common Leadership Mistakes

3 Key Things You Will Learn in this Episode:

  1. How to properly delegate work to employees.
  2. How to have consistent standards for leaders, managers, and employees.
  3. How to overcome resistance from employees and successfully implement change.

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Show Notes:

Let’s get started with episode 110.

Being the leader of a business is demanding at the best of times, but it can be especially challenging if it is your first time in a management or leadership role.

What are the common mistakes leaders make and how do you avoid them?

In this episode I am going to discuss three specific mistakes leaders often make, I will explain why leaders are prone to making these mistakes, and I will provide ways to not only avoid making these mistakes but what leaders should do instead.

How to Properly Delegate Work to Employees

Leaders who do not delegate properly to employees cause themselves many unnecessary problems.

We used to call managers and leaders who refused to delegate, “castle keepers” because they have been given the responsibility of managing a department or a business and they think that they must do it all on their own.

I think that these kinds of people are often insecure.

They are worried that if they share any of the responsibility or if they teach people how to do parts of their job they will be removed from the “castle” and replaced by someone who is more talented than they are.

In my opinion, this has no validity.

The more I teach people and empower them the more freedom I have. I can use that freedom to learn new things and expand my competency which will only make me more valuable to the businesses I work for.

I hope you will adopt this attitude as well.

As with most things, there are always two sides to the coin.

Another common mistake people make when it comes to delegation is that they don’t delegate they dump.

There are some things that are your responsibility and as the leader of your business, you must do those things well. There are some things that you should do but you don’t like doing them and it is often tempting to dump it on to someone else. So, it is one thing to delegate but don’t abdicate your leadership responsibilities to someone else.

A perfect example of this is firing someone.

No one respects a leader who refuses to have tough conversations and abdicates the firing of an employee to someone else when it is there responsibility to handle those kinds of situations.

The proper way to delegate is to follow this simple formula:

  1. Identify exactly what, how and when a task must be done to produce a consistent result.
  2. Document the step-by-step process which creates a system.
  3. Test the system to ensure that the results can be replicated by anyone who is trained to use the system.
  4. Train the employee that will be responsible for the result the system produces.
  5. Measure the results and provide additional training, commendation or correction as needed.

Closely connected to delegation is upholding standards within the business.

How to Have Consistent Standards for Leaders, Managers, and Employees

Some standards that are set for employees may be specific to their role in the business, but every business has universal standards and those universal standards should be applied consistently.

Leaders and managers can be tempted to hold their employees to high standards but give themselves a pass because of their position in the business.

This is a huge mistake!

Everyone knows if you are:

  • Consistently late for work
  • Leaving early to play a round of golf
  • Abusing your expense account

If you expect your frontline employees to be punctual, give an honest day’s work, and be honest about the use of company resources what makes you think that you should be allowed to have a different standard because you are a manager or a leader.

With added responsibility comes perks, and that is not what I am talking about. I’m talking about abusing your leadership position in a way that makes the employees feel that there is a double standard.

The solution is simple.

Hold yourself to the same or higher standard than your employees.

If you expect your employees to be punctual, you must be punctual. Now a frontline employee must be at his workstation for a shift that starts at 8:00 am and you may need to be at a lounge in Hong Kong at 8:00 pm for a business meeting with a potential supplier. Both of you should be punctual if punctuality is one of the universal standards in your business.

If you expect your employees to work hard then you need to work hard. A frontline employee needs to work hard during their 8-hour shift, and you may need to work hard at various times throughout the day. Both of you need to work hard when you are required to work.

If you expect your employees to be honest about how they use company resources, you need to be honest. Now your frontline employees need to be honest about the use of office supplies and you need to be honest about an executive expense account. Both of you need to be honest.

Look I’ll be honest, I have struggled with this at times. I am human and sometimes it is nice to take advantage of the position I have held, especially when I was the owner. I can’t tell you how many times though I have seen this play out in a negative way in my own business and in others.

Employees will quickly pick up on inconsistent standards and the conclusion they come to is always the same:

“If the boss doesn’t care, is going to slack, or is going to take advantage than I don’t care, I’m going to slack, and I am going to take advantage.”

We’ve come to the conclusion if this segment, after the break I am going to explain how to overcome resistance to change and implement change that will last.

This episode is sponsored by:

This episode is sponsored in part by my e-book, The Blueprint of a Great Business.

Go to today for a free copy today, that is

How to Overcome Resistance from Employees and Successfully Implement Change

We are back from our break, now before the break, I promised that I would explain how to overcome resistance to change and implement change that will last.

This is probably the area where most new leaders struggle the most simply because they lack experience.

As one of my mentors once said, “Jamie, how do you get 20-years of experience? Come see me in 20-years!”

In other words, when you are new there are no shortcuts, you are going to have to get experience and that involves making mistakes and learning as you go. But, education can help and so I want to share with you some great information that will help the learning curve not be so sharp and painful.

I read an article from recently that discussed 4 steps to overcome resistance and implement change.

The first step is to engage with those employees that are resisting the change. It makes sense that overcoming the resistance is job one because until you address the issue you run a significant risk of having all your change efforts being undermined by employees and even customers that are scared, don’t trust you, and don’t fully understand the need for the change in the first place.

I really like one point this article brought out:

“Communicating both early and often is necessary when trying to convey anything to employees. There should be a constant conversation between the C-Suite and the general employees on what is happening day to day, and for what is to come…”

It is essential that this communication is honest and straight-forward. There is no place for ego in this process, yes you are the leader, but that doesn’t mean that you should adopt a “me boss, you listen” attitude.

The Paycor article continued:

“An explanation for why the change is needed is always a good idea. By helping employees better understand why a change is important for the company, it’s easier to get them on board with the change, and it can also encourage them to become an advocate for change. With this, an explanation of “what’s in it for me?” helps employees see the big picture and the benefits of the change, instead of only giving them a narrow view of what is to happen in the near future.”

Sometimes the changes that you are required to make are going to be unpopular with some employees. This is often unavoidable but the more information you give your employees about why the changes are needed and what you hope to accomplish the better.

As you are aware, communication is a “two-way street” which means that although your communication to the employees is very important you must also listen to your employees every step of the way. When I say listen, I mean listen intently to make sure you understand what is being said and what is not being said.

Also, not every suggestion an employee makes is going to be something you will act on. It is important that you explain to the employees why you are acting on some suggestions and not on others. Again, some decisions you make won’t be popular but if the employees feel like they have been heard it will make the change a little less painful.

I like what the Paycor article said:

“Understanding that no two employees are the same is another important tactic to use when trying to understand the employee’s concern. Being able to realize that there are going to be many different reasons for opposition depending on the person is pertinent because then managers can tailor ways to work out these problems.”

It has been my experience that not only are “no two employees the same” but sometimes an employee will have two different opinions that contradict themselves. It takes real skill to learn how to draw out of people what they are really thinking and feeling and to understand what is important and what is not.

One way that you can make it easier on yourself is to implement change in stages.

There is a logical progression when you make a change in your business. First, you must understand what is wrong and then you need to come up with a hypothesis of how to change it for the better. Next, you need to plan how to implement the changes that you believe are needed and execute on that plan and finally, you need to measure the results and adjust as needed.

Communicate with your employees every step of the way and really listen to their feedback.

The reality is that change is going to happen at an ever-increasing rate as technology advances disrupting one industry after another. The better you get at navigating change and getting your employees to support change efforts the more successful you will become.

This brings episode 110 to a conclusion.

I hope you have found this lecture helpful and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to discuss it further. I will be sharing 3 specific things you can do when an employee fails to respond to your leadership in this week’s email so if you haven’t signed up yet go to and subscribe today.

If you are listening to this episode later on in the day it was released or sometime in the future, please go ahead and subscribe and then email me at [email protected] and I will send you the information directly.

Next Episode:

On Tuesday, I am going to introduce you to Tom Libelt. Tom and I had a fascinating conversation about how to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.

Talk to you on Tuesday.

This podcast sponsored by:

Screen2Fit by Pro.file

If you are hiring a new employee, I highly recommend that you use the Screen2Fit recruitment platform by Pro.File.


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Thank you for listening and I look forward to talking with you soon.

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