7 Habits of Bad Leaders In the corporate world, especially in the past few years, there have been a number of high-profile examples of leaders failing their employees and organizations says Peter Decaprio.
Here are seven habits some leaders seem to practice that cause them to fall – sometimes even spectacularly:
Habit 1: Thinking you’re Unique
One way that some leaders think they stand out from others is by thinking that they’re unique or special in some way. They may do this by talking about themselves constantly; deflecting questions about their opinions with statements like “I’m not sure I can answer that question,” or “That’s above my pay grade.” They refuse to acknowledge mistakes or shortcomings, or even the possibility that they have flaws.
Habit 2: Falling in Love with Your Vision
Another way some leaders set themselves apart, at least in their own minds, is by having a very clear vision for where they’re taking their employees and organizations – what’s known as “having a firm grasp on where you are going.” Unfortunately, it’s not hard to see how this becomes problematic. A leader could become so enamored of his vision that he becomes blind to other options or possibilities; he may refuse to listen to other opinions about the best course forward because he thinks his view is superior. He can also ignore certain realities because they don’t fit into his overblown vision for the future – leading to poor decisions that set the organization up for failure explains Peter Decaprio.
Habit 3: Believing in the Tooth Fairy
Seeing your employees as extensions of yourself is another way some leaders go wrong. This kind of blurring of professional boundaries can lead to all kinds of problems, not least because it tends to create a culture where it’s hard for other people to speak up or disagree with you – something that becomes especially problematic when there are difficult decisions to make. Besides, if you think one person can be several different things at once (a friend, an advisor, an unquestioning subordinate), then you’re kidding yourself.
Habit 4: Failing to Recognize That the Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else
Noticed how some leaders keep asking their employees what they think about possible career opportunities within the organization? It may seem like a good idea at first, but there’s a big problem with this line of inquiry: it makes it harder for employees to commit wholeheartedly to their current roles. And when your people are looking for ways to get out of their current jobs, then you know that they’re not engaged in what they do – which is always bad news.
Habit 5: Being Inconsistent
Consider two leaders who behave totally differently in all kinds of situations; how do they come across to their teams? Well, some members will feel more comfortable than others because they can predict what might happen next. But if the leader acts inconsistently (i.e., sometimes supportive and sometimes harsh), few people on the team will feel like they know where they stand. This ambiguity can create feelings of mistrust – and also make it nearly impossible to get things done says Peter Decaprio.
Habit 6: Not Listening to the Little Voices
How many leaders do you know who never listen? They may be great at giving directions, but once that’s done, they don’t hear any more voices; this means they miss out on all kinds of valuable information (and ideas). That could help them do their jobs better. Psychologists say that listening is a form of emotional intelligence. So if someone doesn’t care enough about their employees to pay attention when they speak. Does it really matter how smart or talented he or she is?
Habit 7: Believing the Hype
It’s easy to get caught up in your own hype. Especially when you’re surrounded by sycophants who tell you that everything you do is brilliant. But really, this just sets you up for failure. Because there will always be people out there waiting to take you down a peg or two. And the bigger your ego gets the more damage these kinds of encounters can cause.
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