Are You Making These Dumb Mistakes Leading Your Funeral Home?


Einstein said it best, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Taking on the role of a leader in your funeral firm means that you open yourself up to making a few mistakes – and hopefully – learning from them along the way.

Demonstrating leadership within your funeral home is more about behavior than it is about specific skills or knowledge.

The following are seven examples of poor leadership behaviors. See how your actions may be affecting others around you:

Blaming others – or external events – for setbacks. In this way, leaders think that they can maintain some semblance of self-esteem and control. But it’s seen by staff members as just-plain-poor leadership.


Worrying about everything. Good leaders don’t share every concern with their staff. At best, it comes across as lack of confidence, or more likely sounds as if you’re trying to make excuses for possible later failures. Team members want a leader who calms their worries.


Criticizing others. Funeral professionals who speak critically of their staff, client families, or service guests usually have some aspect of self that they find unacceptable. The best leaders are those who are willing to look in the mirror, and learn from what they see.


Complaining about being overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed happens to all of us at one time or another. But, real leaders embrace and manage these feelings, rather than complaining to their staff.


Doing 10 things at a time in a mediocre way. Anyone who claims to be able to do multiple things at a time must never use this as an excuse for poor quality. Your staff will quickly conclude that mediocrity is good enough. Even one task done with mediocrity can be the kiss of death for any funeral home, or any funeral service professional.


Appearing disorganized and managing things haphazardly. A haphazard approach is sure to lead to mistakes, which cost time, money, productivity and morale, and will erode your team’s image of you as a leader. And guess what? Chances are they’ll follow your haphazard, disorganized example.


Failing to see the positives in others. In this economy, it’s extra important to maintain a positive mindset. Quality leadership is all about finding positives, for business growth, competitive advantage, and furthering the development of the staff at your funeral firm.


The Upside to Making Mistakes

OK. We all make mistakes. We’re only human. Can there be an upside to making mistakes?

In One Word: Yes

If a good leader should see the positives, instead of dwelling on the negatives, then what’s the ‘upside’ of making mistakes?

We all must make mistakes in order to learn. And by acknowledging and identifying them correctly, we can improve not only ourselves, but the services we provide our families.

Truthfully, those who try to avoid mistakes tend to steer clear of risks and challenges. And we all know that’s no way to run a funeral home. You’ve got to be willing to take those risks, and meet the everyday challenges. Head on.

So learn from those mistakes. Accept responsibility. Make a commitment to change one behavior, or eliminate one mistake a month.

How many mistakes have you avoided recently? And what mistakes have you learned from? Share your comments below!

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  1. Mike Belsito

    Thanks for this post!  I think these are great tips for any business owner — not just Funeral Directors.  It’s funny how sometimes one needs somebody else to tell them what might be considered “common sense” — but it’s definitely helpful to hear those points from others sometimes.

    Again, thanks.

  2. Kim Stacey

     I’ve got to agree with you Mike – these are nice tips for anyone who’s in a leadership role – or just anyone, really. Who wants to be mediocre, or approach life in a haphazard, disorganized way?! Sounds exhausting to me. And I always do my best to see the positives in other – although it can be challenging, it’s well worth the effort. Sometimes the best I could do was to say to myself they had “nice teeth”, or  a “beautiful smile” – but usually, if I can get that far with it, I can go one step further and find the positives in their work performance. Thanks for the comment, Mike. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

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