10 Commandments for Leadership failure
You are a great leader or so you think. Here are 10 things you may be currently doing that are guaranteed to be demotivating your staff and ruining your business!
1. Lack humility
You probably have a nice office with the door shut most of the time because you are too busy! You usually take all the credit for success yourself, that way your boss thinks you are great and without you the business will fail. You prefer not to mix with your team on any social activities and especially avoid corporate events like annual parties or sports days. Yes, you are a big boss and big bosses only talk to other big bosses! You like to isolate yourself away from your team as much as possible and create your own pretentious executive bubble.
2. Limit innovation
Especially works well if you lack humility. If any of your team have good ideas; either take them yourself and the credit that will come with it, or tell them it is a bad idea and get on with what you’re paid to do. That way there is no threat to your position by some rising star in your team. Initiatives and innovation only disturb the delicate balance you have created in this little empire of yours. You have always done it this way so why change it now? The status quo is fine thank you very much!
3. Lack emotional restraint
This works really well in Thailand. If ever you want to damage your relationship with your staff, get angry with them! Yes, turn into the Incredible Hulk, that will really make for good team bonding! Your team have not hit their targets, not reached the deadline, your new staff keeps asking you the same questions – get emotional, show impatience, and don’t take time to think. You will be highly effective at demotivating your team and isolating yourself to business failure.
4. Be inconsistent
You are a Jekyll and Hyde type character, one moment you are somebody’s best friend the next you are giving them ‘evil eyes’ across the office. Or maybe you are someone who likes to moan about everybody’s time keeping only for you to come in late every day. You might be someone who has office favorites, usually anyone who is making you money at that time. Consequently they can do what they want, whereas those employees trying their best looking for your support are on their own. Continue being inconsistent, it is a great way to fail as a leader!
5. Poor communication
You don’t listen. Yes, you are there in the meetings with your staff but you don’t listen to what they are saying! You don’t know what problems they are having, you don’t know what they are trying to solve and you have no idea why they are failing. You also don’t give your team feedback so they lack confidence and direction.
6. Don’t get buy in
An extension of poor communication, you constantly tell people they need to do this and that and then you are confused and angry when it is never carried out or achieved? You fail to read your team’s ‘blank’ expression’s and take your sub-ordinates ‘yes’ for actual consensus. Failure to communicate effectively on goal setting is a great way not to get ‘buy in’ or ownership from your subordinate!
7. Be inflexible
You don’t take into consideration the different generations, cultures, mindsets in your organization and treat everyone the same. You wouldn’t consider that different people may be motivated or demotivated differently. You have honed your leadership style down to ‘one size fits all’. It is ‘your way or the highway’ and you will be damned if you should adapt to anyone!
8. Lack integrity
You will fail if you do not have the trust of your colleagues, employee and customers. If you openly show no ethics, lack of principles or transparency then you will not inspire much trust. Be careful of the race to win and be successful at all costs at the expense of doing the right thing. Once trust is broken there is no way back.
9. Be Mr. Know it all
Being ‘Mr. Know it all’ is easy, you are always right! You are someone who knows many things, and even the thing you know little about…you still probably have the correct opinion. Woe betide those that challenge your opinion as ‘they will be shot down to pieces’! Don’t ever admit when you are actually wrong. You can always blame it on someone else. Be careful of your infallibility because it may just be your downfall.
10. Lose your passion
If you really want to fail, lose your passion. Come in to work every day with that look on your face that says, ‘Get me out of here’. Every time you face a challenge or things get tough, lose that passion and desire because that will kill your business. If you have lost sight of what you want to achieve then don’t expect your team to follow you. If you don’t love what you do, don’t expect your customer to buy from you. If you are not excited by your brand, then don’t expect anyone else to care either.
So if you think you are excelling at any of these points, well done, give yourself a pat on the back and continue because you are on a fast track to losing your job and destroying your business!
…Or perhaps it is not too late. You have recognized and accepted you may have some ‘skill gaps’ to close. Now take the first steps towards being a better leader.
*Inspired by Donald Keough’s excellent book, ‘The 10 commandments for business failure’.