New Year’s resolutions are usually things you want to start doing to improve yourself, such as working out more, eating more healthy foods, or reading more good books. But when it comes to being a better leader, it’s actually those behaviours that you stop doing that will bring about far more prosperity in the New Year than anything you can start doing.
In fact, research has shown that when it comes to influencing and leading others, eliminating negative behaviours is far more important than adding positive ones. This means that leaders who wish their employees were more committed to their work and to the organization’s objectives must first take a critical look at their own leadership habits and shake off the bad ones.
Here are a few examples of how the behaviours that managers stop doing will have far more impact on employee engagement (morale, initiative, and commitment) than anything else they start doing. Most employees:
- May be able to perform well with a manager who rarely gives them any positive feedback (most people are used to it), but they are almost certainly not going to perform well for a manager who is overly critical.
- Don’t expect their manager to be consistently optimistic, but they will quickly lose their enthusiasm under an overly-pessimistic one.
- Can work for a boss with whom they don’t agree all the time, but few can work long for a boss who does not allow them to voice their opinions.
- Can handle a boss who holds uninspiring meetings, but they are sure to resent a boss who belittles their ideas in meetings.
- May be a little disappointed when they don’t receive the kudos they felt they deserved for their good idea, but they will never forgive their boss for stealing the credit for their idea.
I didn’t used to read people’s social media posts that ranted about all the things they detested about their boss. Frankly, I don’t need that negativity in my life. But after unsuccessfully avoiding several ‘Top 10 Worst Boss Behaviour’ blog posts, I started to notice that they contained some common themes. Intrigued, I began reading more of these ‘top 10 lists’ until I had read close to 50 social media posts, books, and academic articles each presenting their own list of worst leadership habits. I then distilled common themes into an ‘ultimate’ list of demotivating leadership tendencies and organized it into a self-evaluation which can help leaders to focus on eliminating those behaviours that will make the most impact on employee engagement.
The top most demotivating leadership tendencies are as follows:
- Know-It-All Attitude
- Dictatorial Approach
- Avoiding Confrontation
- Remaining Impersonal
- Failing to Develop Others
While it may be interesting to know what the most demotivating leadership tendencies are, it’s much more helpful to know exactly what behaviours contribute to each specific tendency. Leaders who know what behaviours they should avoid can begin recognizing and, hopefully, eliminating them.
Over the next 6 weeks I will write about each of the top 6 Leadership Blind Spots. I will show how most of them stem from a genuine desire to be a good leader, but are based on underlying misconceptions that can wreak havoc when unchecked. I will also show you how to rethink and adjust your assumptions so they don’t grow into a leadership blind spot.
Take the FREE Leadership Blind Spots Self-Evaluation and try to identify a few New Year’s “Don’t Do” resolutions for yourself.