If you don’t break your annoying habits you will never become the leader you want to be.
We all tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions, but one of the things required of great leaders is a significant level of self-awareness. You have to be able to step back and assess your own behavior, just as you would a team member’s, and look objectively at how that behavior influences your team and its work.
Here are some of the most common things leaders do to annoy and alienate the people around them. Check yourself against this list and start today to make any changes you need. When you do, you’ll be improving your leadership—and setting a great example for your team.
1. Having to feel like the smartest person in the room. Sure, it feels good, but it intimidates others and makes them less likely to share their ideas and opinions.
2. Blaming others and finding fault. When there’s a problem, do you gather the team to find solutions and look together how to prevent a recurrence, or do you just start pointing fingers? Few things infuriate team members more.
3. Speaking more than you listen. If you’re speaking, you’re not listening. And if you’re not listening, you’re cutting yourself off from important information—and connection with your team.
4. Being stuck in the past. It’s natural to want to hold on to what’s familiar, and it’s definitely important to learn from the past. But if you’re not focused on the future, the people around you will eventually move on without you.
5. Butting in. if you need to add your two cents to every decision, discussion, or development, you will be known as a micromanager, not a leader.
6. Negativity and opposition. Nobody sets out to be negative, but it’s a habit that’s easy to develop, and few forces are more destructive. When people see that their ideas will be immediately shot down, innovation stops completely.
7. Playing favorites. It’s great to admire and appreciate team members, and it’s fine to reward individuals for extraordinary efforts or achievements. But when you routinely single out one person or a few favorites at the expense of everyone else, it creates feelings of alienation and resentment.
8. Making excuses. Excuses and defensiveness are the last thing people want to hear when they’re focused on solving a problem.
9. Taking undue credit. We know nothing gets done alone—it takes a group of talented people to create success. Giving yourself all the credit is one of the most demoralizing things you can do.
10. Making derogatory comments and shaming others. You may think of yourself as “telling it like it is,” but when you use derogatory and demeaning language, you’re going to be seen as nothing more than a bully.
11. Making mountains out of molehills. If every problem is a disaster and every detail the most important thing in the world, you are wearing your team out with all the drama.
12. Passing the buck. Trust is the foundation of leadership, and when you fail to hold yourself accountable and take personal responsibility for your work and your leaership, you make yourself untrustworthy.
13. Making assumptions and passing judgment. When you judge others, you’re already in risky territory. And when you judge them on the basis of assumptions instead of working to understand the facts and context, you’re being genuinely unfair.
14. Losing your temper. When you speak out of anger or yell when things upset you, you lose sight of one of the most important elements of leadership: respect for others.
15. Withholding information. Refusing to share information not only shows a lack of trust but also tells those around you that you don’t care about interfering with their ability to do their job.
16. Focusing exclusively on winning. It’s great to win, and it’s important to motivate people. But even when things don’t work out, there are things to be learned and hard work to be rewarded.
17. Refusing to apologize. When you’re in the wrong and refuse to own up and apologize, you undermine trust, respect, and accountability, and alienate those you’ve wronged.
18. Killing the messenger. If people are afraid to tell you the the truth to speak up with candor, you’re creating a climate of fear and repression that makes it all but impossible to do great work.
19. Lacking appreciation and praise. Treat great effort as nothing special, and they will have little motivation and no allegiance.
Lead From Within: In leadership, our annoying habits aren’t just personal issues. They interfere with our ability to build a team and accomplish great things together, and we suffer the consequences along with everyone else. We owe it not just to our teams, but to ourselves, to make ourselves the best leaders we can be.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.