By William Arruda – Forbes
The most successful leaders make their team a priority. They eliminate any roadblocks to their employees’ success. Here are eight of the most egregious leadership don’ts.
1. Putting money before people
If all you care about is the bottom line, you’re saying to your people, “Money is more important than you.” Adopt a more measured approach that looks at the return on investment in things like attending a training session or team-building activities. If you’re too stingy for a holiday party or a team off-site, you’re impeding your ability to build stronger relationships with your people and to have them build better connections with each other. Being “penny wise, pound foolish” can actually hurt the bottom line.
2. Giving them the answer
When you deprive your people of the chance to learn and grow, you are also missing an opportunity to build their confidence and resolve. Dianna Anderson, CEO of Cylient, a pioneer in infusing corporate cultures with a coaching mindset, put it this way. “Smart leaders know that igniting insight, by asking questions and offering different perspectives for consideration, teaches people to think for themselves. If you provide all the answers, you’re training your team to use your brain instead of their own.” The coaching approach creates engagement; telling people what to do stifles innovation and results in mere compliance.
3. Assuming they are all the same
Your people want different things, value different experiences, have different lives and cultures. Uncover your people’s values individually. What’s important to them. What are their non-negotiables? What motivates them? What’s the biggest pet peeve? When you understand what makes your people tick, you can lead them more effectively.
4. Waiting for the formal feedback process
Your people need regular prods, acknowledgment, and constructive feedback from you so they can know if they are on the right track and moving forward. If the only time you provide feedback is during the annual review, you’re stealing their opportunity to make incremental yet measurable improvements in their contributions to the organization.
5. Assuming they want your job
Get clear about your people’s aspirations. The move they want to make may not be the logical next rung on the ladder. When you’re clear about their ultimate career goals, you can give them opportunities to build skills that will help them attain those goals. If you stop seeing them as your apprentices, you can be on the lookout for opportunities in the organization that are better stepping stones to help them reach that ultimate goal. When you take a genuine interest in their career trajectory, they’ll deliver better results for you, and they’ll remember you as the one who helped them find the right role, helping you form a strong partnership within the organization and preventing the company from losing a valuable person.
6. Waiting for them to come to you
Your people may be hesitant to bother you, or they may be unclear about what to bring to you versus what to work on independently. Getting in the habit of regular check-ins – phone calls, stopping by their desk, sending “how’s it going” texts is a way to show you care about their success while ensuring they have what they need to move forward in support of your team’s mission.
7. Focusing exclusively on internal activities
One of the most valuable things your people can deliver is a powerful network and a brand reputation that extends beyond the walls of your company. Encouraging your people to build their external network helps them learn and grow, benchmark processes, and source staff – all valuable to both your employee and your team.
8. Showing favoritism
Nothing kills your morale more than watching your boss shower praise and perks on the chosen ones – and knowing you’re not one of them. Sure, as a leader, there will be stars on your team, and you might respect them because they are assertive or their POV is interesting. But your public admiration must be based on merit. If you pick favorites based on who shares your personal interests or who has a personality that jibes with yours, you’re planting the seeds of misery and under-performance among the rest of the team. A great team delivers its best when you make sure all members feel just as valuable as their peers.