Let’s face it. For leaders there are questions, boxes, ideas, people, and issues to keep up with daily. Yet, this post is about dangers and avoiding them in the face of all those elements, at all costs. Well, costs are relative, so is the concept of danger. Perhaps it’s best to suggest, and clarify, that these five dangers could cost one a career, financial security, and any and all promotion probability. Dangerous? Only if one has any shred of ambition. Proceed with caution as a leader, in each of these five areas.
This is a danger of all recovering control freaks and those currently practicing the habit. Exercise patience in the time frame provided for others to learn. Recognize that when learning occurs, results usually take a downturn temporarily before rising above where they were initially. Employees have to have to time to practice the new skills and the leader who jerks tasks out of their hands prematurely, insisting they do it all themselves, trains employees to never again take any real interest in initiative. Going it alone might be faster and feel more efficient, but in the long run, it’s a recipe for having fewer skilled team members.
What a leader says is heard by others. No kidding. Let’s be more specific. What a leader says is heard, analyzed, examined, repeated, sometimes followed, sometimes debated, maybe questioned and if said with no filter, used to keep score for retribution at a later. Feel like creating a ticking time bomb in which employees look for opportunities to either celebrate leader defeats or participate in those moments? Then continue to speak with no filter and no active monitoring of how what one says could be interpreted.
Gone are the days when employees follow blindly and do everything the big boss says. With a focus on innovation, creativity, and the needs of a new workplace generation, leaders who are wise, recognize they must lead in more than the one way that feels comfortable and easy. Type A leaders can’t continue to bark orders at their analytical employees. Leaders in need of appreciation can no longer afford to take every corporate change personally. Leadership is a conscious, daily changing, non auto-pilot, nimble, and agile effort. Learn how to lead in ways that work for those being led and those providing leadership direction.
While it may seem to be a logical effort, score keeping and resentment will not serve a leader well in a workplace environment. The speed of change has increased. Carrying what happened yesterday into tomorrow only leaves room for errors, mistakes, conflicts, and slow performance to happen in the future. Find a fast and effective way to address each issue without rushing involved parties to have the same perspective. Respect differences and align on common values and for the love of all things leadership, keep moving forward.
Forward momentum may not also happen at the speed of one’s desired progress. Learning can be a slower than preferred progress and sometimes learning occurs in the most difficult of moments. Giving up divorces the leader from opportunities to learn what is needed to obtain or achieve what he or she is really after. Giving up and staying put is even worse. Avoid quitting mentally while still pretending to be working. Either dive in and commit to get through it or choose to lead at another company or location. Leaders always have choices. Giving up is simply not a helpful one.
Many of the best leadership books are a collection of lessons from mistakes those leaders have made. Contagious Leadership is no exception. It took years to learn those lessons and they now also serve as the source of caution to avoid these five dangers. Rather than learn the hard way through one’s own experience, take a moment to apply the wisdom from the experiences of someone who was there, just a little earlier.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.