The workplace has changed. Or has it? Most of our leaders are in the baby boomer era or learned from baby boomers and were brought up with very disciplined and neo-Victorian standards of leadership.
These were based on fear and getting respect just because you were a leader (as opposed to earning it), handing out consequences and expecting everyone to automatically tow the line because he or she were told to.
But things have changed. And they seem to have changed around these autocratic leaders without them noticing or even caring.
My last article looked at 7 Signs of Poor Leadership. There was a global outpouring as the article seemed to resonate with so many people. I had over 85,000 Views and 1,000 Shares. So many have suffered at the hands of Poor Leadership. On reading the Comments I was asked to define more of each aspect and delve into what it meant and how to deal with them. Here’s a brief summary and notes for our leaders:
1. Threatening Behavior
Doesn’t work anymore. People want to be led, not bullied. The truth be known, I don’t think it really ever worked. People kept their heads down, creativity and initiative were squashed and people talked behind closed doors. This also used to be the way Coaches worked. Few successful coaches use this anymore. We need to encourage, set targets and expectations and help people realize they can measure themselves on their own performance by being accountable…see 6. below >>>
2. Never Apologizing
Also doesn’t work anymore. No-one is 100% right all of the time, and to pretend we are just makes us lose credibility with others. Once we lose credibility, we lose respect and then trust. No worthwhile relationship can survive that decline. When we are wrong say so…try it!
3. Micro Management
One of the hardest things to do as a leader is trust that others can do what you always have done well and think you are the best at it. Even more, believe they might actually be able to do it better…this isn’t a loss to us. It’s a gain, as not only do we develop others but we have more time to do the things that really matter…like running the business, setting strategy and looking to the future.
4. Lack of Discipline
Constantly changing the target, processes, and measures frustrates people. Everyone (including us) deserves to know where we stand. Minor tweaks are fine. The only way to change things is if the changes are recommended by the team not driven downwards with no input. Once a plan has been agreed too, it must be worked and reviewed and adjusted regularly…together.
5. Nebulous Expectations
Often, we are so into changing things and moving on to the next shiny object we forget to brief our people and explain why we are making changes and why it’s in THEIR interest as well as ours. Successful leaders focus on the things that matter and ensure everyone else is too.
6. Lack of Motivation
To a large extent this is linked back to “threatening behavior” as leaders that DO threaten see no reason to motivate as they believe the “threatening behavior” will suffice. Wrong. Lack of motivation is best overcome by making people accountable. I wrote an article about this recently. Here’s a link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-accountability-cant-forced-peter-m-beaumont
7. Bad Communication
George Bernard Shaw famously once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
I have historically not listened properly to what my employees told me. The negatives are that we miss vital pieces of information, they don’t feel they can contribute nor feel valued. We can often make a decision that they don’t agree with, but if they feel they have been fairly listened to and had sufficient ‘air time’ then they will more readily get behind the decision. Furthermore, we can miss obvious opportunities. Ensure we make eye contact, ask questions, listen, agree on the options, and then agree action required by individuals.
Does this help? Do you think we can change poor leadership? What have you tried? What have you observed?
Let me know if I can help, advise or coach: peter.beaumont@ConnXN.net, leave a comment or message me here on LinkedIn…
Peter M. Beaumont is the Founder and Principal of ConnXN Consulting. He is also the author of The Relationship Roadmap, a comprehensive guide to building relationships with strategic clients. Find out more at www.ConnXN.net