We all know a bad leader from a good leader. It is like a superpower. We just know. How effective or ineffective a leader leads can sometimes hinder the culture of the organization and or performance of the team.
How often do we call out what leaders are doing wrong? How do we know what to look for? It can be tough to identify an exact behavior that makes a leader bad, but over time we normally can spot a bad leader.
As a leader you have to evaluate how you’re leading. Is what you’re doing working? Is your team moving forward and do they trust you? If you were to fall, you would want someone there to pick you up, right? If you reach your hand out, would your team be there to lift you up? A successful team works together and leadership is a crucial role in the journey there. Done wrong and it can work opposite. Here are what I feel are five ways you could be failing as a leader.
You devalue your team members. Every team is diverse. Each person brings a set of skills and experience to the table. A bad leader overlooks talent and experience and undervalues their team members. Teams are not things. They are people. You cannot see people as objects. They hold a different value. They are the life force of any organization. Never underestimate the power of your team. Diversity is a great team asset. It helps teams sharpen their performance. Teams work best when they are used to the best of their abilities. A great leader values the abilities of their team members.
It’s your way or the highway. Not every decision has to be made from you nor does every idea have to generate from you. Part of a leader’s responsibility is to grow others into leading. You cannot do that when you are the only person making decisions or providing ideas. You have to allow others to contribute as well. If you do not use your team or include your team in the decision making process you will end up losing your team. A great leader provides the opportunity for others to contribute.
You do not listen. Communication is a two way street. Your team members may have great ideas and solutions. Sometimes the best solutions come from those around you, but you have to listen. Listening is crucial to interacting with your team. Someone may be having a bad day and it is your responsibility as a leader to help them bounce back. Listening is not just an audible action, it is also a visionary action. Non-verbals matter. Body language, moods and performance can be seen and interpreted. You have got to listen to what others are saying even when they are not actually saying it. Leaders listen.
You’re looking out for yourself above others. Nothing disconnects a leader more as to when they are only looking out for their self. Being a leader is putting others first. Leaders give team members the glory and the recognition. Your team will not succeed if you only look after yourself. Leaders look out and help their team rise to success.
You don’t lead by example. One the most powerful ways to lead is to lead by example. If you enforce a standard for the team and you do not follow it then it just shows that you are above the standard. Just like a child mimicking their parent, a team will mimic their leader. What you do, they will do. What you tolerate becomes the normal. If you have bad habits, they will adopt them because that is the culture you have allowed inside the team. Before you expect others to act the set standard be sure that you are doing so as well. Leaders lead by example.