To Lead or Not to Lead

(It's not really a question)

Leaders come from all backgrounds and experiences--teachers, parents, mentors, coaches, and more. Chances are that you're a leader to someone in your life, even if you don't have a direct leadership role at work. Great leaders motivate and inspire, but the following habits and mindsets can decrease team morale and engagement, and make team members feel unappreciated and undervalued.


A Look at Leadership Oops-es

A leader is much more than a boss or supervisor-and those terms aren't mutually exclusive. Have you ever made, or watched someone make, any of these leadership mistakes? How did you feel if you were on the receiving end? What did you learn if you were the one who made the mistake?


Leadership Oops #1: Getting Hung Up on the How

Micromanaging is a great way to decrease engagement and make employees feel like worker drones. Becoming too wrapped up in the tactical, day-to-day to-do's is not you doing your best work-you're there to provide vision and strategy to your team and organization, instead of getting stuck in the trenches with your team. This is especially tricky for new leaders making the transition from team member to front-line leader--your instinct is to help your team get stuff done by, well, doing the work and staying close to it instead of helping and empowering your team to take it over. Start delegating well and train up the right team members by helping them understand the "What" and "Why" of a project or task, but letting them have a say in the "How."


Leadership Oops #2: Assuming You Know the Answer

Leaders like to be problem solvers, but no one knows all the answers. If your team is experiencing pain, have a problem-solving discussion together. Your team has valuable insight from a different perspective--invite them to share their thoughts and ideas, and keep lines of communication open and transparent. Your team will appreciate your accessibility, and they'll feel like their opinion is valued and appreciated. This also brings team members closer to solutions by giving them ownership in the outcome, thus increasing accountability. It's a paradigm shift from "This is what I've decided" to "This is what we decided together."

Team meetings are great moments to ask for thoughts from your team--you might not get something new every week, but if you get in the habit of soliciting

 input on a regular basis, sometimes you'll walk away with great aha's!


Leadership Oops #3: Delegating Poorly

Don't give a team member a To-Do just to get it off your plate if you can help it. Delegating tasks is an important skill not to be taken lightly--choose the Do-er carefully by considering your team members' strengths, bandwidth, and interests whenever and wherever possible. They'll appreciate the challenge and your faith in them, and, you'll strategically and steadily expand their skillset.


Leadership Oops #4: Taking Too Much Credit

Success is a team effort! You couldn't do what you do without your team--make sure everyone else in your organization knows that when a project goes well, your team made it happen. Make sure your team members know you value and appreciate them--"Thank you" is an integral part of a great leader's vocabulary, and they enthusiastically shine the spotlight on good work (and good workers) to others in the organization.


We hope these leadership Don'ts give you a better idea of what not to do! If you want to learn more about anything in this week's newsletter, come see us!

Topics: Leadership, General Business, YP

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


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