Being a leader in a large or even small organization is no straightforward task. A big part of being a leader is that you’ll find yourself constantly making mistakes. And that’s okay, it comes with the territory. You need to first gain an initial trust from your workers so sometimes showing a little humility can be a good thing because it’s relatable. You always want to be showing that as a group (the business itself) we’re are moving forward. Progression should be a top priority, even if it comes in small incremental bits, it’s still showing signs of growth. A leader should be demonstrating that they have the knowledge to lead their pack in the right direction. Many workers have a follower mentality and are highly dependent on others to move things forward, so it’s important to recognize behaviors that will alienate and disengage a leader’s supporters.
Here are the 9 most self-sabotaging behaviors a leader can exhibit.
1. Inauthenticity – An authentic leader remains true to the values that got them to where they are in the first place. Often times this is a character trait developed over time through none other than hardship and adversities. If they take the alternative route, almost all employee’s today can spot when a leader is faking it, or blatantly lying. Having an open and honest approach is really the only way to gain trust and respect from everyone. Eventually, all truths are uncovered through word of mouth or simply being uncovered in the workflow processes themselves. So if the leader was trying to take shortcuts or take some kind of dishonest business route, it will almost always float up to the surface for at least one person to notice, if not everyone.
2. False Promises – Probably one of the more common unethical business practices, but then again, business is business as they say. Whether it’s with clients or leaders making claims to their team, this is apparent in every industry. Failing to deliver on a promise will completely compromise the trust of an employee pretty much instantly, and regaining that trust isn’t exactly an easy task either. Of course, its good to get your employees excited about the progress and vision you have for the business, but not delivering at all on any of it can be detrimental. Remember, it has been said that it’s “better to underpromise and overdeliver” versus “overpromising, and underdelivering”. Maybe this isn’t the best mantra for a salesperson prospecting for new business, but for your own employee’s, it absolutely is best practice.
3. Ambiguity – Ambiguity signals a simple lack of clarity in communication and overall direction. Employee’s need specificity when it comes to the direction they are receiving. Without it, mistrust and skepticism can become apparent within the workforce. The more clear one is regarding vision and direction, the faster and more easily you’ll be able to engage everyone around you.
4. One-Way Communication – Back in the day, businesses were structured in a more hierarchical sense. Today every employee can have a say in something if they feel it isn’t being done right or could be improved upon. If a leader today has the whole “my way or the highway” attitude, then they are missing out on a lot of potentially valuable input from their employee’s. This whole oneway street of communication is retro and no longer relevant in today’s modern business world.
5. Personal Agenda’s/Ego-Driven Leadership – Going right along with #4, bringing your ego into the equation won’t contribute to anything productive in business today. Business leaders today are better leaving their egos at the door in the morning. To be a leader you do need thick skin, strength to power through setbacks, and strong self-confidence. More often then not, these traits coexist in those with big ego’s. Finding the right balance within a leadership role is the challenge.
6. Anger – A raging lunatic boss who can’t control his or her frustrations and takes it out on their workers usually results in one devastating outcome, everyone quitting. Enough said here. Maybe watch the movie Anger Management for some light-hearted insight into the importance of controlling one’s temper.
7. Refusing to Delegate/Empower – Leadership today in business is more of a team effort. Putting a lot of trust and faith into a worker can be a hard choice, but can pay off in the end. Employees have something to prove, and not just the leader, so let them take on some of the daily burdens, it may ultimately benefit everyone on the same team and project in the end.
8. Lack of Appreciation – There’s something called re-recruiting. It means showing appreciation to a worker who’s been around a while and has consistently done a good job. If this person is never acknowledged for their work and dedication, it leaves them a bit empty. Reinforcing the fact that the company runs better because of their direct contributions gives this person more incentive to continue the high standard of work they’ve been producing. Giving gratitude, awards, prizes, bonuses, anything, can keep your seasoned workers on board, appreciated, and above all, happy.
9. Favoritism – A very real problem that occurs often in business today. Perhaps it’s human nature, but it shouldn’t go on in a professional environment under any circumstance. It’s better today for companies to aim towards being more “process-centric” as opposed to being “hero-centric”. It can be very demoralizing to employees when favoritism is clearly visible and right in everyone’s face. It’s better to remove this altogether and show appreciation when it’s due, but not make it continuous. It’s fine to acknowledge achievements and appreciation towards an individual, but playing favorites on a consistent basis is a recipe for disaster. Give credit where and when it’s due, but leaders today must draw the line there.
Every leader today will at some point exhibit at least one of these at some point or another. Leadership is hard, and it just happens, we’re human. The number 1 focus point for a business leader today for continuous self-improvement is self-awareness. The more aware you are, and how others perceive you, the easier it will be to recognize when you might be making one of the 9 mistakes listed here today.
To help your HR leaders grow more every day, Corban One Source has you covered.