The Things Leaders Must Stop Doing
Every week, leaders work hard to help people and organizations move forward. To our own detriment, we have practices that halt the very progress we hope to achieve. Here are few things that leaders must stop doing.
Stop yelling. You don’t think you are yelling, being too intense, or intimidating. But if everyone else is cowering, scurrying, looking worried, and has no intelligent reply… then you might be yelling. At least in your tone if not in your volume. Take a deep breath and help people hear what you think.
Moving the target. Leaders should set goals and then celebrate when they are met. But if you constantly move the target then everyone will stop aiming. They will degrade into just being mindless automatons that try to get logistical work done.
Changing things for the sake of keeping people on their toes. You must decide how forward-thinking your team is. It is the leader’s role to keep everyone ready for the unexpected. It is not you job, however, to be the change boogeyman. If you want an innovative team, celebrate creativity. If you want a nervous team, just randomly change stuff.
Exclusively platform yourself. Being in a position of leadership will naturally lead to the perception that you are getting things done. People in your organization have no problem with you being recognized in such a way… unless, you actually believe everything truly relies on you. Leaders must stop building a platform for one and instead build a platform for all involved.
Refusing to celebrate each win. I recently read “Profitable Growth” by Ram Charan and he offered a great bit of wisdom. He described that all organizations should periodically have a “home run” but that we should consistently aim for, achieve, and celebrate when the team hits a single or a double. Don’t despise the small wins. Cheer on your team and build on every victory.
Abandon work to others. Delegation is a necessary part of leadership development. Abandonment of responsibilities to others is the leadership malpractice. Even when you delegate a responsibility, you are still the leader. Check in on those who are doing the work.
Emphasize unity without doing work that unifies. From the pinnacle of the organization, unity looks easy. Everyone stay between the boundary markers, go to meetings together, and produce the product. But, unifying people is much more difficult. If you want unity, you cannot just talk up a big vision. Get down in there with the people and help them learn how to value one another.
Stop being bored. I get it. You’re the leader and you don’t like the “down in the weeds” details. But remember that the team members who do detail work are striving for excellence. It is important to them. So, when you’re in a meeting with them, stop checking your email when they are talking. Without that person who does procurement, fulfillment, copy editing, writing computer code, and the like, the vision will fail.
As you lead today, think about what should change in your life. You might be a CEO, a parent, a pastor, or a shift manager. All of have room for growth and ways to make those around us successful.