When it comes to leadership we are always being told what we should do; be passionate, be proactive, be positive! And that’s all well and good, but what about those bad habits nobody talks about…
It’s almost become taboo to mention anything negative in the field of leadership, so we decided to flip things around and list some things you should NOT be doing in order to become a better leader.
1) Moving forward without a common goal: Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, what is the purpose of my leadership?
It’s a very fundamental question, but one that is often overlooked. One of your main roles as a leader is to ensure that all members of your organization are aligned toward the achievement of a common goal. It’s really easy for people to become siloed; different teams, business units, functions, or even geographical location are all opportunities for a barrier to be put up.
When people are rowing in opposite directions, your boat will go nowhere. This makes people paddle harder, which only serves to push everyone further apart. You need to ensure everyone is rowing in unison and in the same direction, and that starts with defining a common goal and understanding the purpose of your leadership.
2) Micromanaging: Your role as a leader is not to micromanage the individual but to empower them. Stop telling people what it is they need to do and guide them to find their own way. Stop worrying if people make a mistake, rather understand that this is an opportunity for them to learn and develop. Stop putting your energy into tasks that are not your responsibility, rather put your trust in others whose responsibility it is. And most definitely stop scribbling over the small details, rather stand back and help paint the big picture. Simply put, stop micromanaging!
3) Always having an answer: We live in a world where we must always have an answer. And that’s a shame, because sometimes we just don’t know. Our education system punished us for not knowing an answer rather than rewarding us for asking for help. I love it when I ask someone a question and they say “I don’t know”. Why?
Because it is one of the strongest signs of mutual trust. It shows this person feels truly comfortable and can discuss quite openly. And in turn, it’s a sign that everything this person says is straight-up honest and trustworthy. So rather than always trying to come up with an answer on your own, just say I don’t know, and use this as an opportunity to co-create a solution together. Because that’s totally ok; you don’t always need to have an answer to everything.
4) Being indecisive: The only thing worse than making a wrong decision is making no decision at all. As a leader, you are required to be able to make confident decisions, quickly. And by a confident and quick decision, I don’t mean going with your gut. Data-driven decision making is used in almost all fields and now we must ensure that leadership follows suit.
The path to becoming more decisive requires engaging all your key people in the decision making process and being able to analyze that data in order to make better decisions, quickly. Another part of being indecisive is to make too many decisions that overrule your previous decisions continuously – it’s yet another form of indecisiveness.
5) Ignoring what people have to say: By this, I don’t mean ignoring someone when they ask your help or when they give their opinion. By ignoring people I mean not asking them in the first place. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers, just like you don’t have to always know the right solutions.
This is all about engagement and building a more collaborative culture across your entire organization. The digitalization of leadership provides a platform for you to align everyone towards the achievement of a common goal and empower individuals to influence the decisions affecting them.
6) Being all talk, no action: After all this, the worst thing a leader can do is nothing. You must be able to take the results of the previous five points and turn them into action and outcomes.
A leader who talks the talk but can’t walk the walk will quickly find the boat is no longer moving even though you have aligned everyone to row together in a common direction, which is a sure fire way to lose all that trust you have spent a lot of time building.
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