By Esmée Hardwick-Slack
As a leader, your employees look to you for guidance. Leading by example is something every leader should strive for, but bad habits in the workplace can and will make you a weaker manager. It’s important to be mindful of any bad habits you may be practicing and start working to replace them. When you can recognise these habits, you then have the power to improve for yourself and your company.
Here are some of the more common poor habits of leaders that you should try to avoid:
Being too Busy and Isolating Yourself
Try not to act like a victim to your busyness. Complaining about schedules, travel and meetings to your team, is giving yourself an excuse not to engage or check in with them. On top of this, locking yourself away in your office will send a message of privilege and insecurity and shows that you’re unwilling to communicate.
Mistrust creates an uneasy and demoralising atmosphere in any office. A manager who regularly demonstrates the belief that employees either cannot or will not perform or reach goals, with micro-management tactics or with a suspicious attitude, invites employees to underperform and stunts employee growth.
Constructive criticism builds a great workforce, but it’s not limited to your employees. Every good leader should allow those around them to give both positive and negative feedback. Rejecting employees’ feedback leads to missing out on opportunities to make positive changes to your team and signals to employees that their opinions and good ideas don’t matter.
Without strong communication skills it’s impossible to become a strong leader. If you can’t communicate, you can’t connect with your employees. The ability to speak, write and listen effectively is among the most important leadership skills.
Communication is especially important when it comes to those important and/or difficult conversations. Many leaders and managers find the concept of tricky conversations daunting, leading to them putting it off or avoiding them all together. These discussions may involve raising issues with people’s behaviour, holding people account for certain things, or just raising issues that are likely to cause conflict. These conversation don’t need to be ‘difficult’ but they are important. Take them as an opportunity to coach or mentor the individual you’re talking to, consider areas of common ground and work from there. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, as a leader, you need to influence performance positively and do the right thing by your team and organisation. Your employees need to know they can talk to you about both the good and bad, so don’t avoid them.