Attention Executives! Are you leading those YOU lead to be better leaders and stay out of the arena of leading by trial and error? If so, make sure you are avoiding these four foibles of leadership, both in your own efforts and in the efforts of those who report to you, but may lead hundreds more directly than you can see in a day.
My Title is Bigger Than Your Title
Unless your office resides on a playground, this is a game that is better left in the third grade. Titles and leadership are not synonymous elements and no one cares what one title is if they are unable to lead. A leader will emerge regardless of what title the person who is supposed to be in charge might have on their name badge at the time.
Do it Because I Said So
This command began in the Industrial Revolution and this was also likely the last time it was effective. Watch out for this one because some will respond to it with “you’re not my momma, make me” and that might lead to insubordinate behavior that actually was provoked by the leader who overused their authority.
Oh, You Know… “just DO it”
Those who have done the job for years and do it so well that it is almost habit by now, have a hard time realizing that they are no longer gifted in giving directions. If the team is struggling and the leader is telling y he or she is being really clear, yet they still struggle, avoid temptation of thinking it is all on the team. Just do it, is not an accurate, nor detailed, nor actionable, nor clear set of instructions.
“No Really, That’s What He Said!”
Gossip is alive and well and the grapevine at your office is often more accurate than you might like to believe, but when someone is taking credit for a team members idea or giving you a filtered version of the input they have received in a way that is inaccurate, that is a problem. Don’t let a leaders snow you without getting a second opinion, giving it the gut check, or going to that person to hear it first-hand. If you don’t trust the information, chances are it has a degree of “un-trustworthiness.”
Leadership is a daily process and though we know it’s contagious, it’s often the negative stuff that can rub off faster than the positive. Pay attention to what those you lead, who well may have tenure, experience, and the appearance of being “supposed to know how it’s done” are actually leading and then look at well you are leading them to development of their own even more effective skills.
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.