It’s important to realize that just because someone holds a position of leadership, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are effective leaders. Put another way, not all leaders are created equal. As a leader or an emerging leader in your organization you may have run across one of these leaders that just doesn’t seem to have a “knack” for the position.
While there may be obvious factors that these people possess that earn them the label of 'bad leader', like playing favorites within a team, micro-managing or disregarding employee input. They may also have other traits that are more indefinable in nature, that have an equally negative impact on an entire organization.
Understanding the traits of poor leaders can help you avoid leadership pitfalls and strengthen the positive leadership skills you already possess.
- You don’t listen to why processes exist before shifting paradigms. Transformational leaders often try to challenge the status quo in order to motivate their teams, but there are times when processes exist for good reason – whether it’s increased efficiencies, compliance issues or some other policy. Before embarking on a trek to trek to effect change, learn why the rules are in place.
- You fall into the hindrance trap. The leadership culture can often lead you into a trap, where the lack of honest feedback and string of nominal successes fail to inspire progress. Self-reflection is the most important tool for getting out of the trap, so start by looking at your leadership style. Identify the role you play in helping your team meet and exceed goals. Consider how often you request feedback from your group and put their ideas into motion.
- You cling to outdated organizational processes. Another aspect hindering your success is refusing to move on from initiatives that are no longer useful for your organization. Eliminate these programs by listing them, then assigning them a color based on their fit within the company’s mission. If a certain initiative doesn’t deliver value to customers, communicate a positive brand message or otherwise benefit your organization, it’s time to make way for new programs.
- You’re not worried that you don’t fit. When you’re a leader that doesn’t have a rapport with your team, you’re almost certain to fail. Fitting in goes beyond effective communication to actually being able to harness team effort and point it towards a common goal.
- You stay the course, no matter what. Following a “tried and true” method just because it’s worked in the past or in a different scenario is setting yourself up for failure. The process may not necessarily be the best for the team, and a poor leader won’t consider the consequences. To be an effective leader, be willing to change your approach as necessary based on team feedback.
If you find yourself falling into any of these bad habits categories, it’s not too late to make changes that will pave the way to success at your new leadership position. These tips can help you turn things around and become an effective, transformational leader that motivates teams and earns their respect. If you want to learn even more leadership skills, check out our new eBook, 5 Simple Tips to Thrive in a VUCA World, and don't miss out on Thunderbird's new Transformational Global Leadership Journey.