Avoid these Leadership Pitfalls

Keep an eye out for these behaviors

Watch out for these leadership pitfalls in your new role! It’s easy to fall into these traps as a new leader. Often our first instinct is to model what we’ve seen before, but then you can wake up one day feeling like a charade instead of the leader you want to be.

5 Leadership Pitfalls

  1. Agreeing with their fellow leaders in order to fit in.
  2. Modeling past leaders that acted harsh to show power.
  3. Canceling and rescheduling meetings with their staff for “more important” meetings.
  4. Shrouding themselves in secrecy.
  5. Dismissing complaints of staff.

Your first leadership role can feel lonely because it’s the first time you feel that distance from your peers. Some new leaders lean into that distance and shroud themselves in secrecy as a way to feel powerful or to hide their insecurity. However, transparency and trust are two essential elements of good leadership.

It seems easy to cancel and reschedule your staff’s check-ins since you know their schedules are flexible, but constantly shuffling time with your team communicates that they are less important to you. This erodes trust and leads to staff turnover.

As a new leader, it’s hard to disagree with your new leadership team, especially if you are the youngest member—but you must stand up for what you believe in. Luckily, we have a free resource to identify and live by your leadership values! Your values strengthen your resolve to avoid this leadership pitfall.

When you’re a new leader, you gain a wider perspective of the organizational issues, which can lead to dismissing staff complaints as “they just don’t get it.” But you’re missing a key piece of the puzzle! Inclusion of all staff in important decisions and culture-building is a powerful force for creating org-wide impact and increasing staff retention.

Lastly, we start new jobs by modeling what we have seen and experienced before. But what if we start leadership with an eye toward innovation? We know that current leadership models do not work for a modern workplace.

Employees want to work at a place that values their health and wellbeing instead of treating them like replaceable machines. As a new leader, you can pave the way for a culture where everyone can thrive!

Let’s work together to help you be the leader you’ve always wanted to be.


Shannon Bowen, Founder + CEO of Monsoon Leadership is a career advancement coach, job search expert, salary whisperer, nonprofit executive, and a lifelong straight-talker. She's dedicated to helping nonprofit professionals land their dream job and dream salary!


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