The best magazine
5 Bad Leadership Habits
It doesn't matter if you're new to the role of leadership or you're a senior leader, these pitfalls can cost more than you think.
Very often as I'm working with leaders helping them develop greater self awareness and the capacity to deal with more complexity, one or more of these will show up.
Which one is your Achilles heel? 1) The most common bad habit is focusing too heavily on the details.
20% of new leaders tend to succumb to this, compared to 15% of senior leaders.
Getting too bogged down in the minutiae of what's going on begs the question - 'who's focusing on the bigger picture'? Think of it this way you can't be in the helicopter and on the ground at the same time.
Neither should you have to keep landing and taking off all the time.
Metaphorically speaking it's about your ability to communicate from your helicopter to the crew on the ground and make sense of incoming reports.
2) The second most common issue is your reaction to criticism.
There are always those who can tell you what's wrong and never what's right.
However if it's genuine feedback then asking them "what would you rather see?" after their review of what was wrong, gives you something positive to work with.
It'll also gradually teach those that just like to complain to shut up if they've nothing productive to contribute.
If you react negatively to criticism then you're giving the signal that you're insecure, or you only want to work with yes men, or that you believe you're perfect.
All 3 being huge downfalls for a leader.
3) Intimidating others.
Sometimes this is down to your style of leadership, other times it's your confidence that can be intimidating to others around you, especially if you've just moved in to a new job and they don't know you.
Equally as your job title becomes more senior then that in its self can intimidate people.
They could have known you for years, but then the latest promotion could change everything.
They see your job title and position and now decide that they can't share with you like they could before.
Understand their perception and uncertainty and let that guide your communication and their self development.
4) How often do you find yourself jumping to conclusions? You overhear a comment in the corridor or someone else passes on half a story and before you know it you've derived a conclusion and you're working from that.
If you hear something and find yourself moving in to action with emotion, stop a moment and ask yourself, "do I have all sides/perspectives here?" In my work inside other organisations I see people jump to conclusions and 'shoot their mouth off" or become so attached to their decision that they act with blinkers on.
Neither behaviour is very good, but it's even less forgivable when you're the leader.
Meddling in all the details of how something should be done and doing some of these tasks yourself sends a strong signal that you don't trust the person who should be doing the task.
If you're delegating correctly you know the experience and level of support your staff need in order to be able to successfully complete their work.