A Terrible Mistake Leaders Often Make

As a leader, I find it alarming and disheartening how many leaders make one common mistake.

Often this mistake is overlooked by these leaders and repeated by the people they intend to lead.

According to research, only 11% of leaders in North America are effective. I would attribute this mistake to that discouraging figure, but it’s not isolated to North American leaders alone.

leadership mistakes
Only 11% of leaders in North America are effective.

I’ve had the privilege to lead and teach leaders all over the world. I’ve witnessed this mistake in other countries too.

This mistake really gets under my skin.
This mistake is disrespectful.
This mistake is ignorant.
This mistake causes inefficiency.
This mistake has wasted my time and the time of many well-intentioned leaders.

Did I say this mistake gets under my skin?

Okay…I did and it’s clearly one of my pet peeves!


Well, because it undermines my purpose to help. This mistake undermines the purpose to help for many other leaders too.

This mistake is the main reason you will have to learn things the hard way, even if I forewarned you.

You would hear the warning.
The warning might even make sense…
…but if you make this mistake, you may eventually forget that you were warned.

You would forget, because you didn’t write it down.

The mistake: Failing To Take Notes!

The human brain is wonderful, however it doesn’t retain everything we see and hear, for proper deployment in the future. The brain needs to be reminded or given a prompt.

Yet, so many leaders fail to take notes and make this simple mistake!

Please, please stop making this mistake!

Take notes; in the 21st Century it's so easy to do!
Take notes; in the 21st Century it’s so easy to do!

Take notes!

This past week I attended a number of events where very reputable and successful leaders were providing wisdom. At one of these events, I found myself writing feverishly, to capture as much of this knowledge, as I possibly could. I was having a hard time keeping up. Golden nuggets loaded with decades of acquired intelligence, was being tossed from the stage at too rapid a pace.

Then I had an idea. At the end of the meeting I could exchange notes with someone else in the room, in hopes they caught some of what I may have missed.

I paused my note taking briefly to identify who and where this person might be. My colleagues in the audience all sat in their seats listening intently, but not one of them was putting pen to paper, or typing on a mobile device.

They all just sat there listening, doomed to forget 85% of what they had just heard!

Doomed to re-learn the lessons they were being taught through the tough class of experience.

I was shocked! I wanted to stand to my feet and scream at the top of my lungs, “Take notes!”

I didn’t…
…but now I’m telling you.

When you hear wisdom…take notes!
When someone is speaking to you…take notes!

Just take notes!

The lesson may not be applicable today, however tomorrow that lesson may be exactly what you need to navigate your way out of a problem and into a solution.

Tomorrow those notes might provide inspiration when you need it most.

If you’re guilty of making this mistake, commit to changing.
If you’re not guilty, share this post to ensure more leaders aren’t making this common mistake.

Take notes and stay inspired, it’s a lifestyle choice!

About the Author:

Linal Harris
Global Entrepreneur – Certified Life Coach – Media Personality – Speaker


Linal Harris is a global entrepreneur, certified life coach, author, and media personality. As the founder of Inspirational Perspective® Publishing, LLC and Insights 4 Life™ Coaching, LLC, Harris challenges his global audience and coaching clients to Murder Mediocrity® and live their best life possible. Harris concentrates his work as an ontological coach with clients on what he calls the 4 pillars of life; the relationship we have to ourselves, the relationships we have with others, our relationship to work and money, and the connection we have to our spirit and life’s purpose. Harris coaches CEO’s, executives, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities. Harris is the author of “Slay Your Goals”, where he provides his readers with scientific and research backed tips for achieving their goals. Harris is an expert goal-setter and has been called upon by Fortune 500 companies to assist with setting their strategic priorities, facilitate goal-setting sessions and provide inspirational talks.

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