As a leadership consultant and coach, I have had the privilege of coaching leaders in hundreds of organizations. Through that experience, I have come to see that a leader’s beliefs are powerful enough to affect not only the leader but the overall performance of their team—and potentially their entire organization.
When leaders have confidence and high expectations for their team, the results typically rise to meet those expectations. But when a leader’s attitudes are grounded in toxic beliefs, it will likely damage their leadership and sabotage those they are leading.
Here are six of the most common toxic beliefs that hold leaders back. Be mindful of these beliefs; don’t allow them to derail your own leadership and the work of those around you.
Assuming that tenure equals ability. You may have been in your position for a long time, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify you to stay there. Times are changing and changing fast—leaders who think they know it all and don’t have to learn anything new are incredibly damaging.
Needing to always be right. If you think you’re always right, eventually you’ll be wrong. In leadership the aim is to be successful together, so setting up false right-and-wrong thinking that ends with one person (usually you) feeling validated and another feeling shut out will harm your team. It will also erode your own ability to learn new things and move forward with creativity and innovation.
Keeping people feeling that their jobs are at risk. Most of us have experienced a leader, boss, or manager who always threatens people who don’t blindly follow or meet expectations out the gate. Jeopardizing other people’s careers isn’t leadership—it’s manipulation, and it doesn’t serve anyone well.
Believing it’s OK to hoard information. I have stopped counting how many leaders I’ve encountered who feel people don’t need to know what’s going on in their organization. Far too many leaders feel it’s not necessary to share information and that their people should just trust them. People need to know what’s happening around them. When they don’t, confusion and rumors abound and morale suffers. This is among the most damaging toxic thoughts a leader can hold.
Thinking the grass is always greener on the other side. If your attitude is that other people always seem to be in a better situation than you, you’re undermining your organization. A defeatist attitude can destroy a team, do serious harm to a company, and wipe out any respect the people around you may hold for you.
Presuming that mistakes will disqualify you from leading. If you think leaders should never make a mistake, it’s time to rethink what you know about leadership and success. Failures and mistakes can erode your self-confidence, but they can also show you how to achieve something greater than you thought possible. So if you want your leadership to succeed, you need to take risks, make mistakes and accept your failures as a requirement for doing something worthwhile. Don’t allow a failure to stop you from believing you have the ability to succeed and lead.
You may be susceptible to other toxic thoughts. But whatever form they take, being aware of them is the first step in obliterating them from your leadership.
Lead from within: It’s amazing what happens when we remove toxic thoughts from our leadership. Leaders succeed, teams thrive and companies flourish.
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.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
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.