You recognize leaders based on their personal performance. You know them by what they do. So, it follows that real leaders are people with good habits, not bad. If you wish to be recognized as a leader, here are five bad habits you should avoid at work.
The Addison Group, a leading staffing provider and consultant, reports that surveyed workers want managers to be leaders who:
- Offer consistent and honest feedback (63%)
- Trust them to perform, deliver, and contribute (56%)
- Form personal relationships (37%)
- Create a collaborative environment (36%)
- Demonstrate experience in their field and ability to align that experience with core values (58%)
In short, employees imagine a leader who avoids these five bad habits:1. Absence
Problem: You cannot lead a business from the golf course. Even in the largest corporations, people notice the comings and goings of business executives. Delegating duties to subordinates, even senior level executives, is one thing, but it can also be an abrogation of leadership. Shifting responsibilities does not do away with the leader’s accountability.
Executives need to be physically present and immersed in the work of the business. Authority does not entitle them to miss meetings, close doors, or pass the buck. It does not permit them to disconnect from employees, functions, and processes.
Solution: Occasional appearances on the work floor do not have the same effect as participating in the work, attending team meetings, and taking notes on employee feedback opportunities. Being present takes more than nodding warmly; it takes conversation, input, listening, and responsiveness.
Problem: Inconsistency creates anxiety, and anxiety builds stress. Playing favorites, losing temper, mood swings, unexpected swings in policy, such habits increase tension, and anxiety, stress, and tension are not consistent with good work and productivity.
Inconsistency diminishes energy, redirects interest, and discourages risk and innovation. Creating an edgy and hostile environment only inhibits and discourages. The most it can achieve is a flat unresponsive workforce producing competent work out of fear.
Solution: Psychological and emotional fitness are key characteristics of the effective leader. Leaders are at once confidently self-possessed and self-aware of the tone and image they convey. They understand that they are medium as well as message. And, they know that consistency is the real source of their credibility and authority.
Problem: Balance is the key to all good things. Micromanagement is a style that upsets that balance. It is good to be present in the workplace, but being intrusive is a bad habit. Micromanagement stifles disagreement, disrupts processes, and disrespects the work and commitment of others.
Micromanagement shows up as small-mindedness. It lacks vision, slows work, introduces inconsistent values, and sets employee against employee. It promotes self-interest and alienates appointed managers. And, all this has immediate negative impact on performance and productivity.
Solution: Leaders work to know and understand the managers under their influence. They work to grow in confidence with the subordinates’ abilities and, then, trusts the manager to run the process or team. They listen constructively and actively. It is reasonable for leaders to select talent that aligns with their corporate objectives, but they create a collaborative atmosphere with room for failure that leads to success.
Problem: Too many business executives hoard company plans and strategies as if they were trade secrets. They want to know it all and own what others have done. And, they blame others for mistakes, delays, or failures.
Such people show their responsibility by denying the autonomy of others. They have an answer for everything which silences dissent and initiative. And, as they covet power, they fail to empower.
Solution: Leaders are relentlessly optimistic and open to suggestion. They ask questions, share experiences, and stand aside to observe. They speak to issues of corporate focus, credit others for their good work, and take the heat when problems hit the fan.
Problem: Business executives can be nearsighted, lacking strategic perspective. Controlling from a position in the hierarchy, they manage down. Ability to run a mechanism is not the same as directing it towards a future. Obsessed with immediate goals, they approach every process as a project.
They remain oblivious to values in change and innovation. They link success to the maintenance of the status quo. And, because they lack vision and do not see the big picture of things, they fail to inspire.
Solution: Leaders understand their job is to remove the barriers that inhibit or prevent the success of their teams. Understanding that they do not have all the answers, they empower others to join and follow their momentum.
Best leadership practices:
Gallup polls reported in 2015 revealed some surprises about the connection between employee engagement, performance, and management style:
- People want to feel safe enough to experiment, challenge, share, and support.
- They want to feel cared about by managers genuinely interested in their work and lives.
- Employees want and expect to be led, but they equate that with motivation and inspiration.
- They engage in work common to a number of employees, but want to be respected as individuals.
People want to be led. Correctly or incorrectly, they are confident in their skills and abilities, but they welcome relationships that improve their chances, that listen responsively, and that model the organization’s values. Employees are open to advice on priorities, collaborative participation, and opportunities to grow.
Leaders excel in meeting and exceeding such expectations. They form relationships that model core values, nurture strengths, and open doors and windows to let employees breathe. They engage rather than boss and monitor rather than micromanage. Leaders see over walls and around corners with such clarity and fearlessness that people want to follow.
It has been argued that leaders are born, and it does seem true that leaders breed and cultivate others. However, leadership is a learned behavior. Proven leaders demonstrate key behaviors that can be analyzed, practiced, and adopted by those who are psychological and emotionally ready and willing to make the change. That change includes dealing with these five bad habits leaders avoid at work.
Feel free to share ideas that worked for you in this matter.