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10 Common Leadership and Management Mistakes to Avoid 

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Managing and leading a digital agency team isn’t always easy. Even seasoned agency owners, managers and leaders make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, this can hold even the strongest agencies back from reaching their full potential. 

If you want to give your digital agency the best possible shot at long term success, you need to know where agency leaders often go wrong, and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.  

Here are the key mistakes to avoid. 

#1: Delegating a Task but Not Checking Midway Through the Planned Delivery Time 

Delegation is an essential skill for any manager. Although many managers can delegate tasks with ease, this isn’t always a fool-proof process. Delegating tasks to team members without checking on their progress at regular intervals can be a recipe for disaster, especially if these team members aren’t 100% sure of their responsibilities or your expectations.  

When you delegate tasks, it’s absolutely crucial that you check on their progress before the deadline arrives. This gives you a chance to assess the quality and quantity of the work done well before you run out of time to correct errors and ensure that the project is aligned with your expectations – and your clients’ ones too! 

#2: Thinking People Will Understand a Task by a Simple Email or Slack Message Alone 

Misunderstandings and miscommunications are the bane of any digital agency. They can lead to project delays, client frustration, and even situations in which you have to throw out an entire project and start again from scratch.  

The key to understanding why this happens is to know that an email or instant message alone isn’t enough to inform your team members of exactly what you want them to do, produce, or achieve.  

Emails are easy to misinterpret, which means that email should never be your first line of communication when it comes to project instructions. Instead, explain your expectations to your team clearly in person or via phone call, and make sure that they know that they can contact you through these mediums with any questions they may have. It’s also a good idea to give them the freedom to choose how they communicate with you. 

#3: Avoiding Conflict 

As a leader, it’s your job to handle conflict within your agency, even though it’s not the most enjoyable task. Conflict is unavoidable but setting some ground rules for your business will help you to handle it effectively and in a way that lasts.  

Step One:

Create and communicate rules for how your agency should work and function, and how your team members should communicate and behave.  

Step Two:

Shift your team’s perspective from focusing on their own goals to achieving the team’s goals.  

Step Three:

Promote a mentality that makes it clear that you and your team are in this together. It’s not one person versus another, or you versus a team member. It’s you and your team against the problem. These perspectives will help to resolve conflict and foster unity within your team.  

#4: Always Being Reactive Instead of Proactive 

There are instances in which it’s important to act reactively, like when you and your team are exploring new, innovative, and unproven features or methods, or handling an unexpected issue. However, reactivity can’t be your only plan of action if you want to run a successful agency.  

You need to be able to solve issues before they become issues. You can do this by anticipating what will happen in the future and acting to minimise risk. This will ensure that you and your team know how to handle any predicted challenges that arise. 

#5: Not Taking Time to Bond with People 

Bonding with your team members and encouraging them to bond with each other can offer your business a wealth of benefits. It can improve your team’s performance, boost morale and creativity, and ensure that your employees feel supported, even when times are tough. There are many ways to bond with your team, ranging from team-building lunches and games to after-work meet ups and charity events.  

No matter how you do it, the important thing is that you get to know each of your team members on a personal level. This will give you the power to communicate effectively with them and give them the support they need, when they need it. 

#6: Not Recognising Employee Achievements 

Praise is one of the most powerful things a leader can offer their team. When delivered well, praise gives people the drive and motivation to continue producing the calibre of work you want to see.  

Give your team members feedback as soon as possible after they do something well and keep it positive and specific. Praise them for reaching project milestones, encourage them to praise each other, and pass on positive comments from outside your department to your employees. There’s no better way to reinforce the productivity and behaviour you’re looking for. 

#7: Failing to Set Goals 

It’s difficult to work towards something when you don’t really know what it is to begin with. This is why setting goals is crucial. Your goals will provide your agency and your team with direction and motivation and ensure that they know exactly what they are working towards. 

Solid goals should be specific and detailed, achievable, and ideally incremental instead of huge and intimidating. You should be able to measure your progress towards your goal too, which will motivate your team to keep pushing towards it. 

#8: Not Communicating Effectively 

Effective communication is the glue that holds your team and your agency together. It encourages collaboration, promotes motivation, and gives your team’s problem-solving abilities a considerable boost. It isn’t always easy to communicate with people. But if you take the time and effort to do so, you might be surprised at how innovative, creative and proactive your talent can be. 

#9: Not Delegating 

Delegation is non-negotiable if you want to build a successful agency. No leader can do everything themselves, and your team is probably waiting for the chance to prove just how much initiative they can take.  

Delegating tasks frees up your time, encourages task prioritisation, and empowers your employees to use their existing skills and abilities and develop new ones. 

#10: Poor Cash Flow Management 

How is your cash management?  

Optimising this vital business process can save you time and money and reduce the risk of financial losses. Plus, it can slash your labour costs by minimising financial touchpoints and provide valuable insights into the standing of your assets and finances.  

Mastering Agency Management 

Leading and managing a digital agency takes nerves of steel, strategic thinking, and dedication to your employees and your progress.  

Avoid these 10 common leadership and management mistakes to give your agency and your team members the chance to reach their full potential! 

  • 👉 #1: Delegate tasks but check progress regularly before the deadline to avoid errors and ensure alignment with expectations
  • 👉 #2: Avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications by explaining expectations clearly in person or via phone call, and give your team the freedom to choose how they communicate with you
  • 👉 #3: Handle conflict within your agency by creating and communicating rules, shifting your team’s perspective from focusing on their own goals to achieving team goals, and promoting a team mentality
  • 👉 #4: Be proactive by anticipating future challenges and acting to minimize risk
  • 👉 #5: Bond with your team members through team-building activities to improve performance, boost morale and creativity, and ensure employees feel supported
  • 👉 #6: Recognize employee achievements through positive and specific feedback to reinforce productivity and behavior
  • 👉 #7: Set specific, achievable, and measurable goals to provide direction and motivation for your team
  • 👉 #8: Communicate effectively to encourage collaboration, promote motivation, and boost problem-solving abilities
  • 👉 #9: Delegate tasks to free up time, encourage task prioritization, and empower your employees
  • 👉 #10: Manage cash flow effectively to save time and money, reduce financial losses, and gain valuable insights into the standing of your assets and finances