However, it’s also worthwhile taking the time to understand what bad leaders do so that we can learn what to avoid which can be just as helpful.
Over my 25 years in leaderships, here are some of the habits of unsuccessful and ineffectual leaders that I have seen, and in some cases, their justification for having them.
These are habits best avoided, if possible!
They know that the reason that they have been put in charge is that they are smarter and better than everyone else. So when it comes to deciding strategy, solving problems, or resolving issues, there is no need, or point in involving anyone else.
Driven by their emotions, they react quickly to situations without worrying about facts or the repercussions of their actions.
They can always show good emotional intelligence by apologizing later.
They like to gamble and take big risks. Believing in the adage “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” and that Smart Risk taking is for wimps.
When I questioned a decision that one boss was taking his response was, “that’s not your concern I get paid big bucks to take the big risks and make the tough calls.”
Personally, I though he got paid the big bucks to take the right risks and to be successful, but what did I know.
I always remember the first boss I worked for, when the CEO asked him how it was going, he said: “It’s going great, we have been discussing the problem for two days now.” The only problem was that was two days that the business couldn’t operate, and we were no closer to finding a solution.
It’s better to know who’s fault it is so that we can fire them and make sure this doesn’t happen again.
There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance; the former helps build trust in the leader, the latter destroys it. As soon as you start to believe your own PR, then you are leaning more towards arrogance and starting down a path that is going to end in tears.
Sometimes you just have to dive and get it done. Don’t worry about what’s involved, or whether you’re focused on the symptom or root cause, just do it. My favorite comment was “we can afford to spend time and money on planning; we just need to get started”.
Which was interesting because we found the time and money to do it again correctly, after that first attempt failed badly.
As a leader, it is critical that you are the most skillful and knowledgeable member of the team, that way everyone can focus on their job rather than working out how they could replace you.
I worked at one company where the boss told me that he liked to recruit from the bottom quartile because it kept the costs down. He then added, “the only problem with that was the results sucked.”
It’s all about results, and if we find that they are not coming, then we need to move quickly on to another topic.
They believe that a lot of short-term success will lead to long-terms success.
Don’t worry about the details, focus on the big picture, as that will keep you motivated. We all know the devil is in the details, but that could lead to concerns, a lack of belief and even worse de-motivation.
As leaders we cannot have or show any weaknesses, so we need to work on eliminating them, or failing that, hiding them.
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a great approach to achieving results.
However you’re bordering on stubbornness if your approach is failing but you refuse to change it.
It’s hard to play well with others when you adapt a command and control approach to leadership. People like to be led not managed.
It’s ok to praise people once we have achieved success, but praising people just to keep them happy is not a good approach to building a strong, resilient team. We’ve got to be mean to keep them keen, and praising people too often makes a team soft.
The more we take, the more we have, that’s how winners are made.
It’s a dog eat dog world, and we have to fight for our share.
If you want people to improve, you need to point out their mistakes quickly and clearly. It’s also best to do this publicly so that others can learn too.
Never content with their current goals they are constantly looking for the next big thing that the get involved in. I think the reason for this is it’s much easier to start something new than to finish something important.
There are a million and one reasons why things don’t work out as planned, so it’s not always our fault, and we need to remember that so as we don’t become too de-motivated. One boss told me never ever accept responsibility it could be career limiting, always have someone ready to blame or a good excuse handy.
It’s hard to trust everyone, so by micro-managing your staff, you can keep a close eye on things, and look to offer advice or step in if things start to go wrong.
It’s great to be inconsistent because it keeps your team guessing, which in turn keeps them on their toes. Predictability, on the other hand, can lead to complacency.
Originally published at www.inc.com