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Brain Circuits

Do you recognize yourself in any of these flawed leadership behaviors?

IbyIMD+Published 13 June 2023 in Brain Circuits • 3 min read

Does your company or team suffer from high attrition rates or were you suddenly surprised when a valued employee chose to leave? These can be signs that you may need to change your leadership style. The good news is that this is a solvable problem if you are open to self-reflection. Consider these behaviors and how muchs you recognize yourself in them:

“Red-pencil” behavior: Do you feel it is important to check everything your reports do before anyone else sees their work? This is a huge red flag that you are a micromanager, even if you don’t realize it. It probably means you are far more anxious than you realize and are suffering from ‘the illusion of control.’ The result of this is your team is inevitably going to feel like you don’t trust them to do the job you hired them to do.

What to do: The next time a direct report sends you a presentation or document consider telling them to go ahead with it, you trust them. Repeat this until you believe it yourself. Once you realize that you can trust your employees to perform, you will find fewer things on your plate, meaning it won’t just be your team that is happier, you will be too.

 A negative focus: Do you find yourself always pointing out how colleagues and team members can improve their performance? Giving feedback and identifying areas for improvement is an important process, but it must be a balanced one. It is critical to separate the person from the problem and recognize that the individual, as a person, is OK. Constructive feedback and praise are just as important to enhance performance and success.

What to do: The next time you find yourself making a mental note of something someone does “wrong” or could be improved upon, stop and identify some things they are doing well. Look for disconfirming data.

Also, before you point out someone else’s mistakes, stop and evaluate whether your input is necessary at that moment. Consider whether they are aware of the behavior and whether they may be taking corrective action on their own.

Finally, make it a point to focus on one thing you can complement each team member on and do it both individually and publicly. This makes deposits in the emotional ‘goodwill account.’ You may be surprised at how quickly the atmosphere at work starts to change when people feel accepted and appreciated.

Always working: Are you usually the first one at the office and the last one to leave? Perhaps this is a source of pride to you, indicating you are the most dedicated, dependable person at the company. But consider this: it might also be sending a message that you don’t know how to prioritize, delegate, or perform well. Everyone finds themselves in crunch time occasionally, requiring more time and attention to work than normal. However, if you are always in crunch time, then it’s time to consider that your behavior might be part of the problem.

What to do: Start by looking at whether there are things you can delegate to others. Next, try to stop working at a certain time each day and stick to that unless there is an exception required. At the end of the week evaluate whether it really hurt the business.

Remember, the first step to changing the atmosphere at your workplace involves you freeing your mind by questioning the roots of your behavior.

Further Reading:

Finding a new way to lead by Susan Goldsworthy


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