LEADERSHIP: 6 Things Leaders Don't Do

Claude’s question is. . . .

Dear Gerry,

You’ve shared some of the attributes that are critical to leadership, but throughout my career I’ve had more than my share of bad bosses. Can you cover some areas that managers need to avoid in order to become good leaders?




Well Claude, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had some bad experience with your past bosses. Though, I’m glad that you’re looking to learn more about Leadership and maybe provide a different experience for YOUR team. One thing I should highlight right up front is that there’s something to be learned even from the worst managers. It’s great when we learn from our mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others. The mistakes don’t have to be our own for us to be able to extract a gold nugget of wisdom from the experience.


So, what behaviors should Leaders avoid?


  1. Focus on self.

Once we make the transition from individual contributor into Leadership it’s critical that our focus goes from ourselves to our team. It’s at this juncture that we’re measured not on our own accomplishments but our teams’. This demands that we focus on “service above self” and work to ensure the success of our team by providing a clear vision, a good culture and removing obstacles before they impact forward momentum.


 A good leader knows that their success is inextricably intertwined with the success of their team.


  1. Failing to, “walk the talk.”

We can’t expect to say one thing to our team and not adhere to the same standards ourselves. Leaders inevitably spend a lot of time in the spotlight although that should never be the goal. It’s important that they always behave in a way that’s in alignment with the expectations they’ve set for their team. Although it sounds cliché, “lead by example” does apply in this case. Our team is constantly looking to us for guidance and reassurance. It’s important that the guidance we provide, whether intentional or not, represents the message we really intended.

One way we can, “walk the talk” is to be self-aware and ensure we have a clear understanding of what our predisposed behaviors are and work to regulate those behaviors. Negative emotion will tear down the credibility and respect we’ve built with our team with a single incidence of rash or impulsive behavior.


  1. Not making time for the team.

Our team is our biggest asset. It’s important that they have access to their leader in times of need. We’re never going to have spare time, so it’s important that we MAKE the time. We make time to provide direction, reassurance, and remove obstacles for our team. When a team has access to their leader they often flag problems earlier and feel more comfortable sharing new ideas. If our team is to have a voice, then it’s important that we make the time to hear it.


  1. Being too hands off.

The opposite of micro-management is no management at all. Sometimes we don’t know what to do so we do nothing. Or we want to be the “cool” boss who allows his team “room to roam.” Empowerment is a wonderful thing, but that’s not what we’re talking about. I’m talking about not checking in with your team at regular intervals. This can lead to completion of a task or project only to find out that the original direction was misunderstood resulting in an outcome that doesn’t meet the requirement.


  1. Lack of vision.

Leaders need to understand where they’re going, how they’re going to get there, and why they’re going there in the first place. They need to communicate this vision to their team regularly. A team is more likely to engage their discretionary effort in pursuit of an ideal or to contribute to the grander scheme. Engaging our team becomes increasingly difficult without a clear vision.


  1. Not delegating effectively.

We’ve covered this subject in other training so I won’t dwell on it too much. You should check out our training on how to delegate, as well as the top delegation myths. Leaders who are immersed in tactical activities have less time for higher priority strategic tasks. This behavior also detracts from the efficiency of the team. It’s impossible to optimize efficiency if tasks are not addressed at the right level. Additionally, it robs our teams of the opportunity to evolve and grow through exposure to new activities and stretching themselves beyond their comfort zone.


Bringing it all together.

The key to success as a leader is to not focus on our own success but to focus on our team. Give to your team and they will give back, to the company, and to you. Take the time to connect with your team and they’ll truly engage, producing levels of efficiency that otherwise would be impossible. You can struggle alone or you can have an army at your side. YOU DECIDE!


Do you agree? Let me know what you think. I would love to hear your unique perspective.


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