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Top 5 Leadership Faux Pas

April 16, 2012

There are many ways in which leaders get the best from their teams; likewise there are some common leadership “don’ts” that can stop your team from performing at their best, whatever your leadership style.

Micro management example

Attention to detail is a good quality to possess in many roles but leaders must be able to trust their team to take care of the details while they attend to strategy

Here are our top 5 leadership don’ts:

1. Unclear Vision
Teams need to understand clearly their reason for being, where they are heading and why it’s important that they succeed. Managers who fail to restate their vision repeatedly will find that their teams lack motivation and that team members will often expend time and energy working on unimportant tasks, rather than tackling the work that matters most and which drives the organisation forward.

2. Failing to Listen
Whilst it sounds obvious that a manager’s primary role is to manage, one of the most common mistakes leaders make is to fill their schedules with activities that keep them away from their team. The best leaders carve out a significant portion of their time for formal and informal conversations with members of their team. They ask powerful questions that elicit critical information, enabling the leader to take good decisions.

3. Not Giving Feedback
These conversations also provide an opportunity to monitor progress and keep team members on track. Like a good coach the best leaders set clear goals with their team. As these goals are achieved they use praise and recognition to motivate, knowing that “behaviour that’s rewarded is repeated”.

4. Poor Recruitment
Less confident managers are fearful of hiring people that are brighter or more experienced than themselves. This not only holds the team back, it often leads to lowered expectations across the team. Consequently the best people move on to a more challenging environment leaving underperformers in post.

5. Micro management
Attention to detail is a good quality to possess in many roles but leaders must be able to trust their team to take care of the details while they attend to strategy (the big picture). Probably one of the greatest frustrations team members report is that their manager constantly questions their work, appearing to doubt their ability or assuming that because they approach their work in a different way, it must be the wrong approach.

Our top five might not be the same as yours, so if you think we’ve missed a leadership howler, why not get in touch.

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