Cheryl A. Moore, PsyD

CEO, Prestige Countertops & Services

Last month in Opportunities and Obstacles in 2021, I alluded to the importance of employees and the role they play in our businesses. We were faced with unprecedented challenges in the year 2020, and with these challenges, businesses were forced to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of our customers. The abilities of leaders and employees to meet these challenges is what sets some businesses apart. Do you have a set leadership style or are you able to adapt and overcome the obstacles we are faced with today? 

What is  YOUR  leadership style?One of the top organizations I have witnessed making new changes, in accommodating their customers, are the Chick-fil-A restaurants. Not only has Chick-fil-A set up a process that gets their customers through their expansive drive-thru lines, they also aligned their employees in new positions that make them very accommodating to their customers. I would not hesitate to guess that when their employees originally signed on they did not expect to be physically taking the orders out in the drive-thru lines or delivering the meals car to car or curbside. The leadership in this company did an excellent job with critical thinking and meeting the ever-changing needs of their customers. The one thing that warrants mention, however, is this organization did not just require their employees to make these new changes. The organization gave the employees the tools needed to do their jobs while being respectful to their needs as well. For example, the inferred heaters, the fans, the awnings, the covered cash booths, these are all tools provided for the comfort, safety, and success of their employees for working in their new environment.

So what is your leadership style?  Do you lead each of your employees the same?  Do you have a strong or a toxic organizational culture?  There are too many variables that effect leadership to mention in this short article, but these are questions to consider. Have you ever stepped back and tried to look from the outside in to observe your leadership style and identify any errors you may be making?

After drawing upon current research, and from personal experience, I would like to present the following six common leadership errors that are made. Whether you are an owner, a leader, or a manager, you have a responsibility to the employees who work under you. Good leaders recognize the importance of building successful teams. Each person in your organization was hired to satisfy a recognized need and the end game is about successfully leading and guiding those you are responsible for.

Organizational Power and Employee Empowerment

Change in an organization can see greater success when a leader includes other team members through influence and persuasion. When a leader invokes his or her formal power of authority, they tend to prevent even the best worker from seeing the vision of the organization and alienate those who are essential to the mission. Successful change comes from engaging and empowering others to add their insight, wisdom, and talents, while keeping them motivated.


 Leaders will often, whether through arrogance or a need to micro-manage others, try to direct and control every aspect of the organization or department. A better approach would be to assess their own weaknesses and to identify others in the department whose expertise would complement theirs and make the department stronger. Delegation and empowerment require trust, support, and open communication. When you delegate duties, and then try to control everything, you impede new efforts and ideas. 

Open communication, about all aspects, encourages thoughts and ideas. Most importantly, leaders need to be willing to accept responsibility for any outcome.

Greater Visibility

A visible leader is an approachable leader, and an approachable leader is revered as a caring leader. A flattened hierarchy is not necessarily a bad thing. When an employee feels they can talk to those is in a higher position, without going through several layers to get there, it gives them a sense of belonging and that they are an important part of the team. This can be especially important when things get tough, like we are seeing now. 

Leaders need to be careful to not get so involved in trying to come up with new solutions that they lose sight of those around them.

Recognition and the Importance of Every Contribution

Many researchers have posited that it is not always about the paycheck but also recognition for a job well done. Employees can start to disengage when they feel their efforts are going un-noticed or are unappreciated. The efforts of every employee should tie into the mission of the organization. Good leaders should make sure every worker understands the importance of his or her role in the organization and are sufficiently recognized for their efforts. Good leadership also means taking the time to understand your employees and what they want in terms of a career with your company and helping them develop a plan to get there.

A visible leader is  an approachable leader, and an approachable leader is revered as a caring leaderProcesses Can Change When Looking for Progress

Employees and leaders can get too mechanized in the processes and the “way of doing things’ that they forget good old-fashioned common-sense decisions. Processes are a required tool for consistency, but do not be the leader who falls into the trap of saying “we’ve never done it that way” or “this is how we have always done it”.
As a leader you need to look past processes and be open to new ideas and suggestions. This is something that is becoming more prominent as we are seeing multi-generations in the workplace and increasing technological advances.

Addressing Underperformers

 Some leaders do not like confrontation and find it hard to have the difficult conversations with underperformers. There is a tendency to think they are giving the underperformer a chance to succeed, when in reality they are setting the person up for failure. When underperformance goes unaddressed, it effects the entire organization and demonstrates a lack of accountability. Not addressing the underperformers weighs on those working around them as they pick up the underperformers slack. 

The key to successful leadership is getting employees invested in the vision and goals of the organization through open communication and empowerment. Researchers have shown that effective leaders are most likely critical thinkers who choose to lead employees from a position of influence rather than a position of power. Whatever your leadership style, remember that there is not one cookie cutter approach in working with all employees. Each employee in your team wants different things when it comes to motivation, autonomy, empowerment, and recognition. It is up to you to figure out what leadership style works best for each one.

Cheryl Moore is the CEO of Prestige Countertops & Services, Inc. and an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Mercyhurst University. If you would like additional information, please email her at