ARE YOU /DO YOU HAVE A BAD BOSS?
Managers manage things, while leaders inspire people. If you are in a management position, it is important to note the difference. The goal should be to make sure that we are great leaders, inspiring people to want to follow us to success. This is gut check time. If the only reason people are following you is because you are a positional leader ( a person called a leader because of his/her title) and not because you are able to get your team motivated to be creative, passionate and energized for the goals you have set; this post is for you. I am going to spell out some leadership style challenges and accompanying corrections. Fasten your seatbelt. Or feel free to anonymously forward this to your manager!
CHALLENGE – Fearful/Timid – Not enough confidence to lead at the level you are in. Do you lack confidence in making big decisions? The phrase analysis paralysis comes to mind. Often times you try to stockpile information on a subject, but somehow you can never get enough data to feel comfortable in making a decision. You may be so afraid to make the wrong decision that you make no decision and soon time runs out. Opportunities will pass with no decision being made and nothing gets done. This fosters resentment in your team. You maintain the status quo at best, but in most cases, this inaction lessens productivity. This is not a good look. Your team knows that you are fearful and it will slow down their morale and job performance. It also shows you as weak. They know that when you say you are going to do something, a few well-placed oppositions will stop you in your tracks.
FIX – Make a Decision – It is easier to recover from a poor decision than no decision. The lost opportunities to the organization can be huge, not to mention the loss of respect from colleagues.
CHALLENGE – Arrogant – This type of leader believes that his/her opinion is always the right answer.
This opinion is not based on research or historical data, but merely because the opinion originated from them. This type of leader always assumes that they are the smartest person in the room – usually because they have limited exposure to smart people. They don’t recruit the best people because they feel that smarter people would be a threat to their command and sense of control. Arrogance is the best way to derail your career because if you think you have all of the right answers, you are really missing out on the wealth of experience, talent and ingenuity that probably exists (or at least existed) on your team.
FIX – Get over Yourself – If the coach is the best player on the team, the team is going to lose. Realize that the smarter your team is, the better you look. Profit/Loss doesn’t care whose decision it was, what matters is that the best decision is made. Get over yourself and grow a team of superstars. Facilitate the success and watch your stock rise.
CHALLENGE – Disorganized – This type of leader can never make an appointment on time. Schedules meetings with people, but ends up canceling after team mates arrive, because the meeting was forgotten. And… will always say “I never got the email” when their name is the first on the company email list. People will completely lose confidence in your ability to lead and will feel that they have to make up for your lack. This isn’t a good thing. Staffers that have to do your work are seriously less motivated to do their own, and are waiting for you to be found out. Many times organizations that allow this type of leader to remain in place are also disorganized and are quickly losing profitability. This creates lethargy in staff. “If the leader is so unorganized why should I try to be my best”.
FIX – Focus -There are all types of scheduling software to help with organization, but you have to commit to doing the work. Many creative people are not naturally orderly. If this is your problem, get an assistant who is very organized and follow their lead. Work with your assistant to come up with a plan that works for you and stick to it. But, if the real problem is that you are just not motivated anymore, and the disorganization comes from a true lack of effort and passion, it is time for you to seriously look at changing careers. Better you find something that you are passionate in and do it well, than to be known as a professional slacker. This isn’t good for you or your career.
CHALLENGE – Untrustworthy – This leader says one thing and then does something completely different. This person is cunning and manipulative and usually only concerned about themselves.
FIX – Honesty – Leaders must be committed to integrity so that we don’t erode trust in our team. You have to do what’s right because it is right. Why would your staff do the right thing if they see you constantly being dishonest? Remember you are either building or tearing down trust with every conversation/action. Also, this doesn’t net you long term job or life security. Take cues from ENRON, Bernie Madoff and others.
CHALLENGE – Over Promises/Under Delivers– This is close to the Untrustworthy leader, but the motives are usually different. In an effort to motivate the team, this leader will sell a “pie in the sky” vision in hopes of getting the team onboard. They may not be consciously telling untruths, but the goals are usually not based on reality or thoroughly researched goals. Eventually your team won’t believe anything you say, and you will have to increasing over promise in an effort to get the motivated. But, they will never try to reach goals that they know are impossible.
FIX – Reality – Don’t sell the team a bag of goods that can’t be delivered. But, don’t sandbag by super under-promising. Be as diligent as possible about researching outcomes and be clear about what is expected. Use statistics that are grounded in fact and share your discoveries with your team. Allow them to collaborate in what the goals should be and how the incentive structure should be based. This gets them invested in the goals and gives you more credibility.
CHALLENGE – No Clear Vision – Of all of the leadership characteristics, this one is the most important. Leaders must have vision. That is a key component of transformational leadership. Think of the great leaders in history. Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and others had a vision of what they hoped would be the future and were able to amass large groups of people to follow in that vision. As a leader you have to have a clear picture of where you want your team to go. You must also be able to communicate that vision to the people who are to follow. Think of it this way, no one wants to be in a car with someone who has no idea where they want to go and no directions to get there.
FIX – Research, develop, collaborate and analyze – Research a plan of action. Develop a plan of small actions that are connected to the vision to get you there. Share your plan with the team and allow them to collaborate in creating the master plan. Analyze the results and remain flexible to any changes that need to be made. You should have this as your mantra for almost ever function of the organization.
This may seem like a daunting process at first, but it works! It is so much better to self correct, than to think about all the things you could have done better as you sit at home looking in the want ads. The reason these posts exist is to help you become the amazing leader that you are destined to be! Need more help? Check out this post. You can be that leader that inspires, surpasses every goal, and creates highly effective work teams. I am here to help! –MJ
Want more? Because I didn’t want to overload you guys with too much info in one post, there is a BAD LEADERS Part 2 coming soon. Sign up Today to get it as soon as it comes out! If you are already part of the Leadership Collective, you already know that as soon as I hit send, it’s in your inbox!
Did I miss anything? Share your best tips and questions with the group. FYI This is a collective and it’s about building community. I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. Also, help me spread the love! Share via the links provided. Thanks for reading. I do this because I believe in you! –MJ