LEADERSHIP / MAY. 29, 2015
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6 Leadership Habits that Stifle Your Success

mortdecai johnny depp

You may be at a top position at your workplace, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing everything right. As a leader, it’s even more important for you to maintain control of your manners and to treat employees fairly, since not doing so is going to mean a dip in morale that can translate into lowered productivity in the office.

See Also: How to Answer "What are the Qualities of a Bad Leader?"

If you’re guilty of any of the following bad leadership habits, it’s time to fix them.

1. Micromanaging

If you’re taking on the lion’s share of the work load in the office, you’re not tapping into your team’s skills in a way that could help the company move forward. Whether you’re unable to delegate tasks or you stand over your employees’ shoulders as they do their work, you’re essentially micromanaging. That’s bound to get under an employee’s skin and could even breed bad blood among you. Not only that, try to imagine how much more you could be doing for your company if you had enough trust in your employees to let them do their jobs.

2. Not crediting your team

Maybe you micromanage because you need to be the hotshot in the company. Maybe you crave approval. Whatever it is, taking all the credit for the efforts of your team is going to breed resentment among your staff. Sure, employees should be intrinsically motivated to do a good job just for the sake of doing good work -- but everyone deserves a pat on the back from time to time. With extrinsic rewards, your employees may be more motivated to work harder or to strive for the next level of excellence.

Try doling out a bit more praise, as well as giving credit where credit is due.

3. Poor communication

Some bosses keep all details about company happenings a secret, or use a "need to know" philosophy. On the flip side, other bosses over share, cc’ing all middle managers on all communications, for example. With a lack of communication, employees can feel adrift and may lack a feeling of investment in the company. With too much sharing, they may tune out and thus miss important details. In either case, you need to work on your communication style.

So what does good communication look like? It means sharing information about the company goals, as soon as possible. It also means talking to your employees and figuring out their concerns. It means giving them important information, but at the same time sparing them all the needless details.

4. Lack of flexibility

The modern workplace doesn’t necessarily operate on a nine-to-five basis, and unless there’s a good reason to do so, you’re doing your company a disservice by being inflexible about hours, schedules and work flow. Instead of fussing about employees’ schedules, make your workplace more about meeting goals, suggests business strategist S. Slade Sundar. So long as employees are being productive, try being a bit more flexible with scheduling.

Likewise, try to be a bit more flexible in general, which can show employees that you value their opinions and are willing to adjust operations, budgets and other elements for the overall good of the company. Rigid bosses are not well-liked, and employees may resist an authoritarian attitude.

5. Refusing to grow

You may have made it to the corner office, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have things to learn. As a human, you’re bound to have shortcomings or areas in which you can continue to improve. Showing your employees that you’re invested in a continual process of learning can encourage them to do the same, which can result in more educated, more effective employees.

Read books, attend leadership conferences, and continue to keep yourself abreast of changes in your industry in order to be a leader your employees admire and want to work with.

6. Bad manners

Yelling, cursing and being overly negative are just some of the poor habits you probably learned to avoid when you were still in grammar school -- so why are you still letting them creep in now? If you’re the type to get angry when something goes wrong, teach yourself to walk away and not to return unitl you’ve cooled down. If you’re inclined toward negativity, resist the urge to share your negative thoughts until you’ve seen how the situation is going to play out. You don’t need to be right all the time!

Your bad manners are not something your employees are going to easily write off, and they’ll lose respect for you should it keep up. And if you’re showing those bad manners in public, you’re painting your company in a bad light too.

See Also: Why Leaders Need Feedback to Create a Fair Workplace

As a leader in the workplace, you don’t have to be best friends with your employees -- but you do have to treat them in a way that will foster productivity and respect. Your career -- and your company’s success -- depend on it.

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