Leadership requires humility, patience, openness and a free mind. When you are using any of the 12 sins of leadership and holding them ever so tightly to your very being you are not acting like a leader. These are the behaviors that kids hold on to, that teenagers hold on to and that successful leaders have learned to relinquish.The 12 sins of leadership that you need to relinquish to be a better leader:
1) The need to always be right
There are so many people who have to be right all the time. They will argue their point until there is tangible evidence that shows they were wrong and even then they don’t apologize. They throw their hands up in the air and walk away.
Leaders don’t need to always be right, they need to always do what is right. The next time you have the urge to be right, step back and take a 360 view of the situation. Weigh the potential outcomes of your perspective against the other perspectives. Do what is right even if that means you were wrong.
2) The need for command and control
Command and control leadership is irrelevant today. Leaders today must use a variety of leadership styles based on the person they are leading and the situation. Leaders today must empower employees and provide them with the tools to take ownership over their areas and in turn lead others. This cannot happen under command and control where you are creating mindless automatons. Act less like a commander and more like a mentor.
3) The need to find outward blame
Everything starts and ends with leadership and when something fails there is no one to blame but the leader. Leaders cannot look outward to find blame and instead must look at how their role caused it. It will either be lack of communication, lack of direction, lack of follow-up/through or even the values the leader possesses. When looking to troubleshoot something, look at these areas first to see where you fell short and make the necessary corrections from there.
4) The need to complain
Let go of your need to complain about the many people, situations and events that might not be going the way you think they should. Complaining is contagious but becomes an epidemic when the leader participates in it. Protect your employees from the frustrations you may feel and find a neutral party like a coach or mentor that you can vent to. Stop teaching others that complaining is OK and instead help them and yourself find the positives.
5) The need to enlist others into your misery through criticism
When you don’t like the direction the company is going or the way others are leading their teams, don’t enlist others through public criticism. Stop spreading your misery around and enlisting allies around something that more than likely has no impact on you and your team. Take a step back and evaluate how what they may be doing is working and then praise that.
6) The need to impress others
When you stop focusing on impressing people and start focusing on being the best you possible and leading your team the best way others will naturally be impressed. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. If your goal is merely to impress others you will surely fail. Working to impress others indicates selfish behavior. When you are being selfish you can’t serve others.
7) The need to fight change
Change is good. Change is what moves us from point A to point B and beyond. A change, while scary, is what makes improvements in our lives and the lives of those around us. Change is what takes us to that next great thing we are meant to be a part of. Stop resisting it, embrace it, welcome it and invite it in.
8) The need to attach labels to people and ideas
Labels are attached to people, things and events that we don’t understand or that we are afraid of. Open your mind; embrace the weird or foreign ideas. Take time to understand the why’s behind them and help others to learn that weird and different are what makes the world work so beautifully.
9) The need to lead through fear
Leading through fear is not leading at all. Leading through fear forces followers to go down your path but eventually you will turn around and see no one is following you (because they are hiding in the trees). Fear doesn’t motivate and fear doesn’t help you win.
Leaders use fear as a way to establish urgency but overtime will give life to mistrust and cynicism which erodes morale.
Leaders use fear to shame, anger or scare people into behavior change and desired outcomes.
Leaders use fear when they are afraid and unable to hide it. Leaders using fear when they are afraid simply aren’t disciplined enough to stop that fear from flowing out to their employees. Leaders who lead with fear are suffering from insecurities, self-esteem issues or simply blind to the fact that their approach uses fear as the driving force.
10) The need to always have an excuse
Stop limiting yourself and your team with excuses. Instead of growing your dictionary of excuses, staying stuck and lying to yourself admit where you’re falling short, correct it and move on.
11) The need to see the present as the past
The present isn’t the past by nature. When the present is the past it usually indicates that you are doing the same thing and expecting different results. When the present looks and feels like the past, don’t repeat what you did and instead find another way. Become the architect of the day and build something different.
12) The need to have others be just like you
The goal and hope for any leader should be to grow other leaders. However, they shouldn’t be leaders like you. They should be leaders who have taken all the great things you do and expanded on them and in the process become a little better than you. This is especially important if you suffer from any of the 12 sins of leadership.It is not to late to relinquish the leadership sins from your style start today and be a better leader. The first step is to stop denying that you do them. The second step is to enlist a coach or mentor to help you change your behavior. The last step is to ask your employees for honest feedback on your progress in changing them. Stop living in leadership sin. Did I miss any sins of leadership? Use the comments below to add yours.
More Actionable Advice:
Latest posts by Jason Cortel (see all)
- A Better Way to Have a Difficult Conversation - June 13, 2015
- Add These Tips from Grandma to Your Leadership Tool Kit - May 30, 2015
- Tuesday Tip: Start the Day with Clarity - May 26, 2015