Rookie Mistakes that make better leaders

rookie mistakes

After working with more than 300 teams as a Principal Consultant for the Table Group, Mike started seeing a pattern emerge. As many of those leaders made their way from managers to executives, they experienced innumerable leadership mistakes along the way.

In creating his book, Rookie Mistakes: Advice from Top Executives on Five Critical Leadership Errors, Mike interviewed hundreds of executives, 25 of whom were willing to share their stories of errors and the lessons learned. These leaders displayed a high level of humility and vulnerability, allowing them to share their wisdom in the hopes it will benefit future leaders.

Rookie Mistakes provides sage advice to leaders who wish to improve their leadership to make their organizations stronger and healthier.


Click here for bulk orders.

“Leadership mistakes are inevitable, and Mike's book helps highlight the most common mistakes that can cause teams to be dysfunctional and well-intentioned work to go off the tracks.”

Robert (Bob) Miller, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Albertsons Companies

“Engaging, uplifting, and practical, Rookie Mistakes is a gem of a little book, and I love it.”

Jim Kouzes, coauthor of The Leadership Challenge, and the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

“Truly great leaders admit their mistakes, work to correct them, and share with others how to avoid them. Rookie Mistakes has 25 great examples that will benefit both the new leader and the veteran leader alike.”

Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and the only two-time #1 Leadership Thinker in the world

“So many books on leadership offer guidance on what to do to become a better leader. Mike McHargue’s Rookie Mistakes offers us a much-needed twist: what not to do to get better. Whether you are a new leader or a seasoned pro, you’ll return to this book again and again.”

Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Servant Leadership in Action

“I typically have pretty low stamina for business books so I really appreciated Mike McHargue’s concise format and real-world stories told by an array of leaders. Learning from the mistakes of others is really impactful, and I enjoyed it!”

Dan Little, Chief Technology Officer, Nordstrom (retired)

Rookie Mistakes provides leaders the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and insights of others and then to reflect on their personal leadership style to avoid the same pitfalls. Strengthen your own leadership by applying the rich principles McHargue teaches in his book!”

Dee Ann Turner, Vice President (retired), Chick-fil-A, Inc. and best-selling author of It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of a Compelling Culture and Extraordinary Talent

“Mike McHargue does a masterful job of sharing ‘quick hit’ stories that will keep you engaged and ready to apply, regardless of your leadership experience.”

Brent Jones, three-time Super Bowl Champion, San Francisco 49ers

“When it comes to leadership, we’re all rookies. Reading this will be a gift—not just to you, but to your team.”

John Ortberg, senior pastor at Menlo Church and author of “I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me”

“‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is the only thing a rookie manager needs to know. Unfortunately, it takes experience to get there! This book can serve as a great reference for anyone in a leadership position, especially rookies.”

David R. Duncan, President and CEO, Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars

“When you face the inevitable conundrum of management and people, just thumb to the page about ‘that problem.’ It is like having a seasoned mentor in your hands.”

David R. Duncan, President and CEO, Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars

 “All leaders, new and experienced, can gain a tremendous amount from these five missteps and how to avoid them.”

Jeff Feeler, Chairman and CEO, US Ecology, Inc.

“Not just another book on leadership, this is a truly useful guide to what leaders can and should do. Critical to leadership effectiveness and building a culture of employee engagement.”

Robert Castan, CEO, Northpoint Recovery, LLC

“While reading my copy of Rookie Mistakes, I was immediately able to apply one of its many lessons to an issue with a new member of our team. It helped me support a top-notch employee and reminded me that even six years into a job, you can still make simple errors.”

Ben Bledsoe, President and CEO, Consumer Direct Care Network

“I have hired Mike McHargue twice to work with our executive team. There are no ‘trust falls’ when you have a session with Mike; he gets right to work and helps you solve problems. His book is fun to read and provides key lessons for leaders of all levels.”

Jason Goldberger, President and CEO, Blue Nile

Rookie Mistakes is a coach/mentor in itself for company leaders committed to improving organizational health.”

Jeff LeDoux, President and CEO, Houston Engineering, Inc.

“McHargue has done brilliant work with my company to help us learn from these lessons, and I’m so pleased to see these ‘gifts’ broadly available in this book. Any leader whose mind is open and curious will gain immensely from these lessons and contribute significantly to the health of their organization.”

Chris Taylor, President and CEO, Fisher’s Technology

 “I wish Mike McHargue had written this book 30 years ago when I was a ‘rookie.’”

LuAnn Bott, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Missouri & Greater Kansas City

“In his work, Mike McHargue creates simple principles and processes to address complex challenges, and he’s done it again with his book Rookie Mistakes. Leaders who apply its simple truths are sure to see a positive impact on their leadership tool kit and ultimately drive better results in their business.”

Andy Heily, President, Continental Mills

“Mike McHargue has a done a masterful job of taking his expertise and interweaving it with first-person accounts from seasoned executives across a wide variety of industries. Their stories significantly enhance the reader’s understanding and accelerate practical application of the principles contained in the book.”

Reid Stephan, VP and Chief Information Officer, St. Luke’s Health System

“Mike McHargue hits the mark on the five mistakes. Each one of them affects the overall culture of the workplace and directly affects the productivity and commitment at all levels of the organization. I recommend this for any level of experienced or inexperienced leader.”

Dan McNamara, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Intel Corporation

“Leaders will undoubtedly find Rookie Mistakes an invaluable resource they will immediately benefit from and wish they had when they started their careers.”

Dave Gillrie, Senior Vice President, Forestry, Lawn, and Garden Division, Blount International

Rookie Mistakes would be a great read for any new leader or any leader taking on a new role.”

Kevin Riley, CEO, First Interstate Bank

“I hate to admit it, but I see myself in all the rookie mistakes this book discusses. Unfortunately, I am not a rookie! This book is a great reminder for me, and it will go on the list of books I need to re-read every year. A great blend of theory and reality, delivered in an easy-to-read, engaging format.”

Marty Cullen, CEO and Owner, Perfect Plumbing, Heating & Air

“The short stories in Rookie Mistakes are designed to get the leader thinking about the way they lead and how they set the tone for their organization.”

Ryan Cantrell, Superintendent, Elementary Principal, and Special Education Director, Bruneau-Grand View School District

“Mike McHargue presents powerful insights on how leaders create clarity through the fabric of their organization, which translates directly to the bottom line.”

Calvin Fillmore, Corporate President, Diamond Line Delivery Systems, Inc.

“Mike McHargue has brought together essential leadership principles with real-life stories that are relatable and illustrate the power of five critical leadership behaviors needed to dramatically improve the health of your organization.”

Tony Bavuso, CEO, Saving Sight

“Mike McHargue nails the essential traits of great leadership and the mistakes we should avoid. The stories are impactful and relatable. This is a must-read for freshly minted graduates and seasoned professionals.”

Adele Oliva, Managing Partner at 1315 Capital, LLC

“This will be the book I give my clients this year.”

Al Amador, Principal Consultant, The Table Group

“Savvy leaders and novice leaders alike will benefit from Mike McHargue’s Rookie Mistakes. No matter what kind of leader you are, you will find yourself in one (or more!) of these stories and will appreciate the advice that sets you on the right path.”

Aaron Howell, President and Founder, Northwest Lineman College

“Mike McHargue speaks to the deepest human connections that leadership can forge—engaging values and vulnerability, expressing gratitude and affirmation, resolving conflict, and inspiring change.”

Father Gerdenio Manuel, S.J., Clinical Psychologist, Professor and Director of University of San Francisco St. Ignatius Institute

“I had the pleasure of working with Mike McHargue for over 10 years. A compassionate and empathetic leader, he is the exact right person to encourage leaders to avoid common mistakes. His Rookie Mistakes will inspire you to think big on your path to becoming a better leader.”

Micaela Breber, Learning Evangelist, Large Enterprise Relationship Manager, LinkedIn

“Regardless of your profession or career stage, you will find something in Rookie Mistakes that resonates.”

Kevin Duffer, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Management Concepts

“Mike McHargue’s access to first-rate leaders and his own hard-won wisdom and perspective make Rookie Mistakes essential reading for people who want to avoid these common leadership errors.”

Mark Traylor, Founder and Executive Pastor, Eastwind Community Church

“Having reported to Mike McHargue for nearly a decade during his early leadership days, I can confirm he made mistakes! However, not being perfect and his dedication to help me learn from his mistakes are what made him such an effective leader and what makes this book so valuable.”

Andy Pederson, Enterprise Sales Executive, Grand Rounds, Inc.

“If you’re leading, you are either making mistakes or worried about them. The humanity in these stories will give you patience with your own struggles and guidance for your growth. Read them.”

David Ross, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, The Table Group

“We can all place ourselves in these quick stories, with the added perspective of someone else’s outcomes. A clever way to force our consideration of our own behaviors and styles.”

Rick McClenning, National Sales Manager, Paul Mueller Company