Common Decision & Leadership Errors

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  • 0:04 Failure at the Front-Line
  • 1:02 Common Leadership Errors
  • 2:36 More Leadership Errors
  • 5:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Front-line managers make many important decisions day to day, but mistakes can also occur. In this lesson, you'll learn more about some common decision and leadership errors that front-line managers make.

Failure at the Front-Line

Tracie works at popular restaurant known as Burg's Burgers in her hometown. She's a relatively new employee, having started this position a month back. Her manager, Carrie, is a bit difficult to work with, as she hasn't been in a leadership role for long. Her communication with Tracie has led to Tracie and her fellow servers not understanding the right processes for closing down the restaurant each evening. As a result, some money has been misplaced, parts of the kitchen have been left unclean, and no one was there to oversee an important delivery. None of that makes the owner of the restaurant, Burg himself, a very happy restaurateur. To compensate, he has started coming in to the restaurant just before closing every evening.

Though it's a fictional example of a common leadership error, poor communication, it's an all-too-real scenario that many front-line managers are struggling with daily. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at some other common decision and leadership errors that can have negatively impact the workplace.

Common Leadership Errors

No one sets out to be a bad or ineffective leader, yet it happens all the time. Here are some of the errors that plague most front-line managers:

Poor communication

We touched on this in the opening example, but poor communication really can impact the success of those being managed. Teams who receive little direction in the form of communication may not fully realize their job requirements, meet business objectives, or realize their full potential. In fact, poor communication can be such a roadblock that it can affect things like deadlines, project completion, and even the company's bottom line.


Unfairly favoring one thing in the workplace can be tricky because it comes in many forms, both glaring and less obvious. Cognitive biases, which are systematic errors that adversely affect our judgment and decision making, in particular, can impact the way managers make decisions. For example, one type of cognitive bias is confirmation bias, which happens when we only listen to information that confirms our preconceptions. In the workplace, that might mean choosing to discipline an employee who didn't deserve it, based on ''evidence'' we've found to support our opinion of that employee. That type of error can negatively impact an entire team. Another type of cognitive bias is anchoring bias. With this bias, leaders rely too heavily on only one experience or limited information when making decisions. Once they are ''anchored'' in this belief, it may make leaders over-confident in their own decision-making abilities, leading to poor leadership decisions.

More Leadership Errors

Emotion-Based Decision Making

In business, decision-making should be a logical and rational process, not based on a manager's own feelings or emotions. Emotion-based decision-making can be damaging, particularly in scenarios that might lead to hiring or firing decisions. It can also create problems in team morale when your employees perceive a decision to be made based on emotion rather than logic and rational thinking.

Failure to Reward or Recognize

Nothing demoralizes employees more than a manager neglecting to reward and recognize achievements and positive behaviors. It may not seem like a mistake or an error, but failing to remember this crucial management role can lead to disengaged employees, higher turnover rates due to resentment and frustration, and falling short of reaching business goals.

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