Being an effective leader requires not only a senior level of job competency, skillset and knowledge, but also a range of personal characteristics that are essential to achieve professional success. They know how to behave and, more importantly, how not to. Here are our top 5 things true leaders will never do;
1) Avoid making tough decisions
Managers who dodge making business-necessary unpopular decisions for fear of agitating their staff are often favouring being liked by their team over being respected. They fail to comprehend that understanding of a decision is more important than agreement, and that the key factor is explanation of the rationale. True leaders will explain business reasoning for difficult decisions, usually resulting in their employees accepting the change even if they personally disagree with it.
2) Take credit for their team’s success
These managers are effectively sending the message that they only care about their own image and reputation, and are ruthless enough to sacrifice their team for personal recognition. Not very inspiring or motivational. The best leaders will give credit when their team succeed, and assume accountability when they fail. Rather than feeling frustrated by this paradox, they understand that their ability to bring out the best of people is what they are being evaluated for. In the words of Lao Tzu ;“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”.
3) React to people who emotionally react to them
Leaders who cannot control their emotional reactions in challenging situations instantly demonstrate a weakness in character. Emotions overtake your ability to think clearly and make rational objective responses in the heat of the moment. By choosing to react instead of respond, such managers are ‘justifiably’ being carried away by strong feelings like passion, anger and frustration, which undermine professional credibility. Emotionally intelligent leaders will take responsibility for their role in the situation, will be in tune with what they are feeling and why, and will consciously respond through appropriate words, thoughts and behaviours.
4) Refuse to admit they were wrong
Leaders who cannot acknowledge and address their mistakes make themselves hard to relate to. Or even worse, they blame another when something doesn’t go to plan. Such managers may condemn failure generally, which is the first step to killing innovation. True leaders understand that they are only human, as fallible as anyone else and are not afraid to admit it. They openly highlight their own mistakes as a learning tool for others and will often rectify mistakes their staff never even knew they made.
5) Think they have all the answers
One thing that leaders can struggle with the most is the acknowledgement that they don’t have to know it all to be an effective manager. In fact it’s usually the exact opposite. Poor leadership models are evident when there is no recognition or utilization of, or reliance on individuals’ strengths and expertise within the team. A manager who believes they have all the answers effectively prohibits debate and perspective; the foundations of objective
reasoning and effective decision-making. Alternatively, strong leaders will surround themselves with the smartest and most talented people they can recruit and, rather than competing over who knows more, will rely on their individual areas of expertise in order to make better-informed decisions and build a stronger more potent team.
Our Leadership training courses and management coaching builds humility, resilience, confidence and objectivity. If you know a Leader in your organisation who could benefit, contact us for more information.