Everyone has habits. Some are good, some are bad and they range in how severely they affect your daily life. As a smoking habit can hurt you and your loved ones, a non-productive habit you keep in the workplace can do major damage. As a leader, its important to be aware and concentrate on the habits you have that negatively affect others.
No habit regardless of how engrained it is in your daily activities, is easy to change. In order to have a shot at changing it, you first have to be aware of the habit and what routine is causing it.
For me, the habit was talking too much, and the routine was team meetings. I would talk at my team instead of with them and it gave me no chance to listen and observe. It kept me inside of my own head, unable to learn and gain perspective from others. I shouldn’t have been surprised to watch them begin to shut down, get frustrated with meetings, and lose their creativity.
Here are 5 simple habits making you a bad leader:
- Getting to the Office After Your Team – In a recent meeting with a friend, he shared how frustrating it was for his leader to show up at the office at 10AM everyday when the rest of the team was there at 8:30AM. Even though he stayed much later than the team at night, it negatively impacted his teams performance and mindset. One of the perks of a leadership position is being able to control your own schedule. Unfortunately, this can have negative consequences in how your team perceives you as a leader.
- Talking Too Much- I documented my bad habit of talking too much in meetings but this is a common bad habit for many leaders. Since many decisions have to be made by a leader, it’s natural to dictate and dominate conversations. Unfortunately, this stifles innovation and creativity, which are two of the keys to being successful in any business. Often times, leaders can come up with great ideas by observing and listening.
- Sitting Behind the Iron Throne- A mentor of mine told me something I will never forget, “You can’t kill an elk from the lodge, you have to get out in the woods.” When leaders sit behind their Iron Throne (desk), they stay at the lodge instead of getting out in the woods where all the action is. Team members and clients need and want interaction. Losing sight of this is a surefire way to stagnant results and be a bad leader.
- Consistent Pessimism- You hate nagging clients, flat growth, long hours, the co-worker who doesn’t perform and everything in between. At every opportunity you speak up with a negative remark to certain team members. Pessimism is contagious and draining. How can you lead effectively if your team looks at you as negative? If there is one thing I have learned from leadership, it’s that people need positivity and constant encouragement in order to perform at their best. This doesn’t mean you can’t expect great things from your team. It just needs to be done with an optimistic attitude.
- Not Holding Your Team Accountable- You might think you are doing people a favor by allowing them the freedom to determine the quality or success of their work. On the contrary, staying too hands-off is doing more harm than good. People need accountability in order to be at their best.
Regardless if you are guilty of all of these or just a few, these habits are causing you to be a bad leader. The best part is we can change our habits and now that you’re aware of them, you can change your routine to fix them.
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John Eades is the President of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on snapchat @johngeades.