Research leadership and you’ll find thousands of articles, videos, books, etc. that describe steps we can take to improve our positive influence. But rarely do we think about our leadership influence from the perceptive of steering away from those habits or traps that actually make us poor leaders. Or ask our teams and they may even call us lousy leaders.
So this week’s blog will take a turn from the norm and share three ways we can lose our team. They may show up every day but emotionally and mentally, they are no longer following us. So we do we lose our team members?
#1 Command and control is our “go to” style
Let’s face it. Everyone has some form of control issue. We like things the way we like them whether it is an approach to work or how we like our team to function. But when it comes to leading our team that tendency to want to control how they do their job must take a back burner. Once a team member understands his/her expectations, it is their responsibility to perform in their way or style. Curious if you struggle with this behavior? Ask yourself this question. When assigning work to the team do you use this phrase: “You can do this task anyway you want; but if I were you I would do it ‘this’ way.” Regardless of the best of intentions, a sense of “do it my way” is being communicated to the team. It is a style that will slowly drive your team away.
#2 We don’t explain the “why”
In today’s fast-paced environment, more and more business functions are inter-connected. There is a complexity to organizations today. So when it is time to assign work, the more your team can understand why the task is important and how it links to the bigger goals of the team, department or organization. It’s that small step of “connecting the dots” that gains buy-in and strengthens commitment and understanding to your vision. While most of us would say we never say, “because I said so” to our team. But secretly, do we sometimes think it? If so, explaining the “why” to the team may not be our natural behavior. Watch to see the results when this important question is answered.
#3 What you see is not what you get
Finally, the biggest trap good-to-lousy leaders fall into is themselves. How consistent is our demeanor each day? Is every day a “good” day to be approached or is it a guessing game leaving the team wondering “which leader showed up today?”. Now, understandably, there is no such thing as perfection but our team should not wonder each morning if today is okay to approach us. Secondly, ensure you have a system in place that helps you remain consistent in the promises or commitments made and your follow through. When that checks and balance is missing, over time when we say, “I’ll take care of that,” translators to “yeah, right” in the teams’ minds.
Lousy leaders. Each of us would quickly say that’s not a reputation we want. But as with any reputation, it can be tarnished in an instant if it is not guarded. So, what are we doing to ensure we are good-to-great leaders instead of good-to-lousy. For me, it starts with intentionality. What about you?