By Steve Feld
Recently I was speaking with a group of business owners from a variety of industries. Many of them believed they were the greatest manager ever. After asking them some basic questions, their analysis of themselves could be questioned.
A few years ago, I read an article by Marcel Schwantes, who conducted a workplace survey on LinkedIn, by asking only one question – “What is the ONE mistake leaders make, more frequently than others?” I am highlighting the top eight most common mistakes according to the survey. Or in other words, the eight biggest mistakes managers/leaders make to irk their staff.
You all probably guessed this one, so no surprise here. Leaders who dominate people, decisions, and processes, lead by fear, and lack vision. Micromanaging is a killer to your teams moral, motivation, creativity, enjoyment, and much more. You hired good people to do a job for you – let them do that job.
2. Leading from a position of power or ego.
These are those leaders that know everything and make sure we all know it as well. They don’t take any responsibility for their own actions. They are never wrong and will always take credit for the good things-even if they had nothing to do with it. Another destroyer of morale, no humility, and will use anyone around them to help themselves.
3. Not listening.
What we are talking about here is true authentic listening. Not, I hear what you are saying, remember hearing and listening are two different things. Great managers/leaders know authentic listening is an underutilized and underdeveloped leadership skill.
4. Not valuing followers.
Any manager/leader that believes anyone within their organization (except themselves) is dispensable and just a cog in the machine that can be replaced at any moment, really and truly does not care about anyone but themselves. Great leaders invest in developing their staff to not only improve their productivity, but their personal lives as well. Making sure to identify each person’s own unique skills and strengths, and use them to grow the business as a whole,
5. Failing to grow themselves as leaders.
All leaders, no matter what level they are on in the organization but always proactive in developing themselves. Many of them have some self-entitlement issues about growing and developing themselves. Maybe it’s due to the fact they have a low self-awareness of themselves. Or, they have some communication issues. Or, they have an ego issue by having all the answers and refuting any input.
6. Lacking boundaries.
What about that leader that tried to be a buddy with subordinates? This can lead to many leaders compromising their own integrity by becoming too friendly with superiors and subordinates. Everyone sees when the boundary becomes blurred and the results of this lack of professionalism. As a leader you can be personable, and close to your staff, while at the same time being professional, fair, and respectful.
7. Not providing or receiving feedback.
It’s crazy that leaders do not solicit the feedback and ideas from those on the front line and in the trenches with the customers, processes, etc. Leaders need to gain their staffs trust by asking for their input, buy-ins, advise, suggestions, feedback heard from the clients. Great leaders support this input and foster a culture of trust, openness, providing their staff the ability to contribute ideas and share concerns in a safe environment to assist all stakeholders.
These leaders get defensive when they are receiving any type of feedback, and if they do receive feedback, they are not asking clarifying or deep questions to grow. Many of them just have a negative reaction to any feedback and provide great answers and excuses to any question or issue that arises. These leaders believe they know what everyone wants and needs without asking them.
8. Not sharing leadership.
Leaders that “hoard” all the leadership knowledge are not doing their organization any service, but in turn harming the company on all levels. A great example of sharing leadership can be found in the book by David Marquet in Turn the Ship Around. He proved how leaders can empower those around them to make great decisions because those folks have more knowledge of the subject matter than leaders do
“In the end, we don't need to demonize the leaders who are the subject of many of these responses; they are humans too, and not out to deliberately destroy the lives of their followers. They should be treated with grace, and empowered to succeed with the proper development.”
If you're having doubts about your employee relations or feel there's room for improvement, we have SCORE mentors who have been where you are. And they offer their advice for free!