Being a Good Leader: What Not to Do!

Being a Good Leader

A person in a leadership role is constantly thinking and improvising. How can he make a good strategy better? How can he motivate better? What is the plan for the next quarter? How to stay on track with goals and so on. With so much to think about and focus on, leaders often forget to do a self-analysis. What can they do better to help the employees or what are the practices they should stop doing as leaders for the betterment of the organization?

Things to Stop Doing

1. Stop Hogging the Limelight

  • It is important for leaders to take the backseat once in a while to allow their employees some creative freedom.
  • For example, if during a meeting, a leader is always putting forth his answers and suggestions at the beginning of the meeting itself, it might make the employees hesitant to disagree with him and voice their views.
  • It is important to let the employees take the lead at times, to allow them to come up with solutions instead of always telling them what to do.
  • Even if employees fail, it is necessary to remember that failure too only helps in the long run.
  • Leaders should ideally set the tone for interactive meetings where employees feel comfortable giving their opinions and are allowed the room to experiment.

2. Stop Thinking That One Style of Communication Works for All

  • Many leaders have an open-door policy to aid in better communication.
  • While this is definitely a good move on the leaders’ part, what many fail to understand is that even with this policy sometimes employees may not feel comfortable enough approaching them to discuss issues or share ideas.
  • So, what can be done?
  • One thing the leader can do is meet his employees in their space, casually drop in at their work station and check on how things are going.
  • It is important to tailor communication according to individual employees.

3. Stop Being Unresponsive to E-mails

  • Leadership brings with it so many duties and responsibilities that reading and replying to e-mails is often pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
  • No leader means to leave mails unanswered.
  • It is always something that was meant to be done at a later time which is eventually forgotten during the course of a hectic day or week.
  • Not answering e-mails may not seem like a big deal but it is often about how it is interpreted by the employees that is the issue.
  • An unanswered e-mail may send different messages to the employees – the leader does not have time for them, their mails are not important enough to warrant a response, etc.
  • Sometimes a missed e-mail could have something of importance which could turn into an issue later on.
  • It is important for leaders to set aside sometime to read and respond to messages.
  • An hour at the end of the day, sometime during the weekend or whatever time slot works – employees’ e-mails deserve their leader’s time.

4. Stop Thinking That Work Is Life for Employees

  • Your employees have a life outside work and that life plays a crucial role because it affects them and their work.
  • Leaders should acknowledge and accept this aspect.
  • It is necessary to be in touch with your employees because this is what will promote a culture of openness and communication in the long run.
  • An informal chat, a quick enquiry about their family members, a congratulatory wish on a special occasion, etc. all go a long way towards promoting a good relationship.
  • Employees will come to their leaders with their problems only if a good relationship exists and a culture of communication has always been emphasized on.

5. Stop Delegating Talent Acquisition

  • For an organization’s success, it is important that not just the leader but all the employees understand the vision of the organization.
  • The vision acts a guideline for employees, helping them understand what is important so that they can act accordingly.
  • Nobody is more attuned with the vision than the leaders who have probably played a key role in envisioning the future of the organization and hence there is no one better than a leader to hire talent that is in line with the organization’s vision.
  • Hiring people who align with the vision will automatically contribute to the company’s growth.
  • And while it in understandable that leaders cannot personally oversee every new person being hired, it will help if he stays in touch with talent acquisition and does not completely outsource it.

6. Stop Setting Different Standards

  • Leaders cannot expect employees to do what they themselves are not doing.
  • Nothing leaves employees more demoralized than a leader who does not practice what he preaches.
  • One rule for employees and another rule for a leader is something that will never work.
  • If a leader expects model behaviour, he needs to demonstrate it himself.

Take Away Message

In a lighter vein, to quote a popular line from a famous movie franchise “With great power comes great responsibility.” This line is very apt for those in leadership positions. Leadership is a position of power and influence and sometimes leaders can forget what it feels like to be an employee.

When there is a problem, they start looking critically at the system and the employees instead of beginning with themselves. An unbiased analysis of what went wrong is what is required with the leader taking up responsibility for his choices.

All of us are humans, all of us make mistakes including leaders. When a leader admits his mistake, it only elevates him in the eyes of his employees.