The 5 Biggest Mistakes New CEOs Make and How to Avoid Them

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / December 16, 2021
CEO mistakes can be costly. Some blunders are unavoidable, but if you know what to look out for, you can steer clear of the really big ones.

Even the best leaders make mistakes when running a company, especially if they’re first-time CEOs. If you’re a new CEO, you’re surely going to make a mistake or two (or three or four) in the beginning.

Some blunders are unavoidable. But if you know what to look out for, you can steer clear of the biggest mistakes new CEOs make.

Biggest Mistakes for New CEOs

Making a mistake is bound to happen at some point. But, you can learn which big blunders to avoid. Without further ado, here are five of the biggest mistakes CEOs make and how to steer clear of them.

1. Not listening to others.

When it comes to being a CEO, it may be hard to take constructive criticism and feedback. But if you’re not willing to listen (and I mean actually listen) to your team and customers, you could wind up making a big blunder.

Instead of pushing away feedback or refusing to listen to others, encourage it. Ask for and sincerely listen to all feedback you get — the good and the bad. Be an active listener during meetings, one-to-ones, etc. And consider creating a way for others to easily give you feedback, like a survey or suggestion box.

Not listening to others or trusting your team’s opinion and expertise could hurt you in the long-run big time. So, listen up, my friends…and don’t take the feedback to heart.

2. Making decisions too quickly.

As a new CEO, you may think you need to make decisions quickly to keep things moving. However, making a decision too quickly could be the wrong move and cost your company.

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Before jumping into any decision-making, carefully consider the pros and cons. And think about the outcomes your decision will have on the company. Also, ask yourself a few questions like:

  • How risky is this decision?
  • Should I consult others’ opinions on what decision to make? (Most likely, yes.)
  • Who will my decision impact?
  • How will it affect the company?
  • Is the decision based on data or emotions?

Carefully consider each and every decision you make — big and small — in your role. Like it or not, your decision impacts every aspect of the business, from your profit margin to employee satisfaction.

3. Doing too much.

As a CEO, you know a lot of responsibilities fall into your lap. After all, it’s part of the job. But, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.

Instead of doing too much and burning yourself out, know when and how to delegate. Yes, this means letting other people in your company take over the reins for some tasks.

Doling out tasks to others can allow you to:

  • focus on higher-level responsibilities;
  • help others in your company learn, grow, and become leaders;
  • develop trust between you and your employees (or co-workers, as I like to call them);
  • boost productivity, efficiency, and time management; and
  • generate higher revenue.

Don’t make the mistake of taking on too many tasks at once or trying to do it all yourself. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later if you delegate, delegate, delegate.

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4. Losing touch with employees.

When you become a CEO, it can be easy to lose touch with employees. And, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is detaching yourself from the reality of your team (a.k.a. the foundation of your business).

The last thing you want to do as a CEO is disconnect yourself from your company’s values, culture, and mentality. Otherwise, you could wind up losing top-notch employees, stunting growth, and losing trust.

Make your team your #1 priority. Understand their needs and wants, listen to what they have to say, and treat them how you want to be treated. Let them know that they are heard, and give them recognition and appreciation.

5. Being a micromanager.

One of the biggest blunders you can make as a new (or even a veteran) CEO is micromanaging. Why? Because it can truly put a damper on your company and team.

It may seem like second nature to micromanage each and every task your team works on as a leader. But, doing so can do more harm than good. In fact, micromanaging can damage trust between you and your team, increase employee turnover, and lead to burnout. Plus, it can be just plain annoying.

Not-so-fun fact: 59% of employees said they’ve worked for a micromanager. Don’t be one of them.

You can stay involved without micromanaging each employee’s every move. Instead of hovering over your employees’ shoulders, trust them to handle tasks on their own and to come to you with questions. Be clear on expectations, and have regular check-ins to see how your team is doing.

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About The Author

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Mike Kappel is the founder and CEO of Patriot Software, LLC. Patriot provides cloud-based accounting software and payroll to American businesses and their accountants.

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