Great leaders demonstrate specific characteristics and behaviors that set them apart and help them to lead their employees in a manner that cultivates productivity. These leaders should be respected rather than feared in order to inspire employees to follow their leadership. However, there are several things that real leaders would never do because they want to inspire respect and develop productive professionals in the workplace. If you aspire to become a great leader, consider some of the following things that such an individual would never do.
1. Constantly Insult Their Employees
A real leader knows how to encourage and motivate employees to succeed so they would never engage in behavior that constantly insults these individuals. If a leader opts to operate under a mindset of heavy-handed leadership techniques that tear employees down rather than build them up, they won’t build an effective and productive team. Employees need to be nurtured and given positive encouragement so that their motivation to succeed and work to their optimal potential continues to grow and help them develop into professionals. Great leaders would never choose to call employees “stupid” or “idiotic”, even if those things might be grounded in some truth. They would never use disparaging words to insult an employee’s character. Rather, these leaders would find words to continue to encourage character development. They see that words have power and they need to plant positive seeds for growth in their employees’ lives by calling them “effective” and “productive” instead.
2. Take Undue Credit as Their Own
As a real leader, you would never take undue credit for things that your employees accomplished and say that you did it all. When you speak to your client regarding work that was done on a marketing project, you would never say that you got the job done all by yourself. A great leader would say that the entire team worked together to complete the project and created an innovative plan to get the best results for the client’s marketing needs. Effective leadership takes skill and an ability to be humble while trying to lead a group of various talented employees. Great leaders are able to see passed their own egos to accept the fact that their employees may achieve great things and complete projects while excelling in their work. Taking undue credit for some accomplishment that your employee achieves shows your insecurity as a leader. A real leader relishes in the many accomplishments that their employees achieve and sees how those achievements work toward the greater good of the entire team and company.
3. Blame Others for Their Own Mistakes
Blaming others for your own mistakes is not something that a great leader would do. Great leaders would not call an employee out and blame him for causing the team to miss the project deadline, when in fact the leader was actually at fault for the progress failure. Rather, great leaders know how to take full responsibility for their actions and for the productivity of the team. If employees start to become unproductive and ineffective, these leaders accept responsibility for that lack of productivity and try to figure out how to make positive changes. They understand that an effective leader knows how to learn from their own mistakes and help their team members to do the same thing. Real leaders are not afraid of making mistakes and realize that they will happen. How you deal with those mistakes, however, is what matters.
4. Ignore Their Employees' Opinions
A leader who never listens to their employees is ineffective and not in touch with reality. If a leader wants to be classified as effective and real, he needs to focus on listening to what his employees are saying, both verbally and through nonverbal communication. Great leaders would never turn an employee away when he or she has something vital to add to the project. If an employee came to see a leader with an urgent call to action regarding a glitch he found in the computer programming project the team was working on, the leader would take the time to listen. He wouldn’t ignore the employee simply due to having a strict deadline and being rushed to complete the project. All creative ideas for increased productivity are vital to success in the workplace, whether the idea comes from a lower level employee or someone in upper management. Great leaders know how to humble themselves to actively listen to what their employees have to say.
5. Cause Needless Chaos Among Employees
Chaos in the workplace only ever drains employees’ motivation to succeed and hinders productivity. A great leader will never cause needless chaos among their staff. These leaders would never intentionally manipulate an employee by telling him he would be next in line for a promotion if he kept an eye on what the other employees were doing on a daily basis. Rather, they know that instigating divisiveness is wrong and will only set their employees up for failure. Great leaders would never create situations where one employee is pitted against another because it would only promote favoritism and end in disaster. Causing chaos simply for the sake of seeing how your employees react to each other is not how a real leader would operate in the workplace.
6. Arrive to the Office Late Every Day
Punctuality is important and a leader would never arrive to the office late every day because it would be a poor example for their employees to follow. In order to instill motivation for employees to work diligently and arrive to the office early to get off to a good start each day, a great leader needs to show up first at the office. Great leaders lead by example and if they are breathlessly running into the office late each day, they won’t inspire employees to follow them. Their employees would then start to follow that example and not care about arriving early to work either.
7. Fear Change and Avoid Taking Risks
Change is good even though we don’t always enjoy the process. Part of change is the act of taking risks in order to receive great rewards. This acceptance of change and taking risks is an important part of how a real leader needs to lead their team. A great leader would not fear change but would rather embrace it and become an example to their employees to do the same. When a situation arises for the company to make a risky move with regard to adding a new product line, the real leader would do a proper risk analysis and take a calculated risk to succeed, rather than avoid embracing change because of fear. Real leaders do not avoid taking risks but understand that it is sometimes important to take them to advance their business.
If a leader wants to be effective and to create an environment for his employees to grow and develop as professionals, he needs to focus on what not to do in the workplace. Leading by example is important if he wants to create future leaders and employees who know how to innovate, create and cultivate productivity in the workplace.
If you are a leader or would like to be one, what are some things that you would never do in the workplace?