Everyone who is in a position of leadership in an organization wants to believe that they are doing things right. They want to believe that they inspire and motivate their team. They want to believe that they are tough but fair. They want to believe that they have an effective management style. They truth is that everyone who is in a position of leadership has strengths and weaknesses. What about you? You are a good leader but what can you do better? Here are seven signs that you are doing leadership wrong so that you can make changes do things right.
- Trying to Keep All the Work (and the Credit) for Yourself.
What is it about some people in positions of authority that makes them incapable of delegation? You are the leader, that means leading. It doesn’t mean trying to do everything yourself while complaining that the people under you don’t seem to contribute enough. One of the most important aspects of leadership is delegating. You need to trust your people and avoid micromanaging. That also means giving them proper credit for their contributions. A good leader knows that their people work best when you trust them to get the job done. Let them focus on their jobs while you focus on your job; which is leading!
- Can You Hear Me Now?
One of the hallmarks of poor leadership is a lack of communication. Good leaders know how to effectively articulate the goals the want their team to achieve. They know how to adjust their communication style when necessary. Different people have different ways of communicating. You need to realize that the way you communicate with one member of your team might not be the best way to communicate with another member of your team. You also need to develop the best communication skill of all- listening. Good leaders know how put aside their own ego and their own thoughts in order to really listen to what their employees are telling them.
- I’m Not Indecisive- I Just Can’t Decide.
If you can’t make difficult decision in a timely fashion, then you have no business being in a position of leadership. A good leader is prepared to take responsibility for the tough choices. Harry Truman famously had a sign that said, “The buck stops here.” As the leader, you must prioritize and set goals. Then you must see those goals are achieved. Don’t be wishy-washy because if you don’t make the decisions you can be sure someone else will. Then you won’t be the leader.
- Do You Need Some Ritalin with Your Coffee?
Good leaders know how to focus. If you are constantly changing what your goals are that is confusing. You can’t expect people to follow you if you are constantly zig-zagging and making it impossible for them to know what you expect of them from day to day. They will also come to resent you if you never follow through with the goals you set. Nobody wants to begin a project and then be told the project doesn’t matter after they have already put in work on it. Nobody wants to try to achieve vague or constantly changing goals. Good leaders know how to stay focused on what is important.
- Are You Low Energy?
As a leader you set the pace at your organization. If you would rather be hitting the golf course and having three martini lunches than working you might not be setting the right pace. As the leader it is up to you set an example of the kind of work ethic you want within your organization. Both your energy and your creativity are important aspects of good leadership. If you are feeling low on energy or lacking in the creative vision your ability to lead might be compromised. You need to bring your passion to your work and encourage the passion that your team has for their work.
- Perfection is Just a State of Mind.
Leaders are often perfectionists. It is perfectly understandable why they would be. It takes someone who pays attention to detail and demands a lot of themselves and the people that work for them to lead. However, there is a limit to what being a perfectionist can achieve. Sometimes it crosses the line from pushing yourself and others to achieve at a high level to asking the impossible. Part of being a good leader is finding that line. The truth is that perfection isn’t really possible in the real world but the pursuit of it, in the right way, is part of being a good leader.
- Take a Chill Pill.
Being hot-tempered is not conducive to good leadership. We are all familiar with the image of the drill instructor yelling at recruits to motivate them. Bear in mind that most organizations are not the military and most employees are not recruits. Screaming and throwing things is not normally the best way to let people know that they’ve made a mistake or to start fixing that mistake. Effective leaders can make their displeasure with mistakes known without raising their voices. They can also motivate their team without hurling insults at them. Watch your temper and find a more measured leadership style.