Leadership behaviors can drive success or strife
It seems obvious that the success of a company is dependent on the people that work there. And certainly, senior leaders understand the importance of said “people”– individual contributors or lower-level managers, right? Wrong. Intellectually many leaders acknowledge the importance of their own behavior in cultivating workplace satisfaction. And yet, when things go wrong, it still isn’t second nature for many leaders to focus on their people and their growth. Rather the instinct is generally to find who made the “mistake” so they can be blamed or create another procedure in order to “mistake-proof.” This creates a mindless organization where people are either afraid to take risks for fear of making a mistake or fail to think beyond what is written down or, worse, both. Our approach to leadership is people (and their imperfections) forward, and we believe that the following leadership behaviors can help create an environment where everyone is working together for the good of the company.
Your leadership behaviors speak volumes about how your team views you. Poor or inconsistent leadership behavior leads to employees that aren’t fully engaged. This results in low employee retention rates, a large disconnect between management and teams, and often, a mass exodus of your top talent. Let’s face it, it’s never the crappy employees that leave first.
Integrity and high-level leadership can’t be faked
Your people are pretty smart, and a leader acting out of integrity with what they truly value can only be hidden for so long before they start to see the cracks in the facade. You can’t just play a part. You must BE the part.
Not only do inconsistent leadership habits and behaviors affect your employees negatively, but they also have a detrimental effect on your own personal peace and well-being. No one wants to come to work each day with feelings of stress, overwhelm, or anxiety because they’re not walking their talk. That just perpetuates a nauseating carousel ride of those same feelings.
If your employees sense hypocrisy or chaos in your leadership style and behaviors, they tend to “play it safe” when it comes to executing tasks and projects.
Instead of offering up creative and innovative ideas and solutions, your team will begin to act like automatons, simply going through the necessary motions to get their jobs done as quickly as possible and disconnecting from the team.
Not all bad leadership behaviors are blatantly obvious
Sometimes poor leadership behaviors are more subtle (often unintentional), less noticeable things that are hard to put our fingers on. Simple things, like sending emails during off-hours or on weekends, when employees are supposed to be enjoying much-needed and much-deserved downtime, can send the message that they should be working during off-hours and undermine your stated desire for employees to have a life outside of work. How about when your team members are struggling to find a solution or a workaround to a problem that arises? Do you just step in and fix it yourself or give them the solution versus offering them the support and patience needed to navigate a solution on their own? Stepping in and offering the answers may seem like great leadership behavior, but it actually detracts from your team’s independence.
Another damaging leadership behavior that we see an abundance of in many corporate environments is rewarding results over process. Think of a sales scenario in which the person or people leading the deal treat their team with condescension or disrespect. But, when the deal is signed and the money is made, congratulations are passed around, and pats on the back are plentiful for the person who was in the lead.
Rarely is any mention made of correcting actions and behaviors in order to foster a more respectful and positive environment. This is a prime example of bad leadership behavior.
6 top leadership behaviors
While there are many effective leadership behaviors, here are our top picks:
1. Reward candor
One of the toughest leadership behaviors that you can master is the art of inviting people to give you honest feedback, whether positive or negative. Learn to sit, listen, and thank people for their candor. It’s hard for employees to be truly honest with management without the fear of persecution.
Even harder is to be a manager and receive less than stellar feedback without wanting to defend yourself. It is, however, the mark of a truly excellent leader.
2. Determine motivations
Learn that “one-size-fits-all” management doesn’t work. Every person on your team responds and thinks uniquely. Caring about individuals personally and tailoring your reactions, responses, and approaches to them will help you become a highly effective and respected leader. Learning what motivates a person and communicating in ways that allow them to want to follow you and do a great job will be invaluable.
3. Be mindful of your personal time and your team’s
Resist the urge to send emails on off-hours, weekends, vacations, and holidays. Understand and honor that each of your team members has a life outside of the office, and so do you. By setting strict boundaries and living within them, you will be able to better enjoy your much-deserved downtime and fully take a break from work. It’s imperative to your mental and emotional health and that of your team to have time to decompress.
4. Take time for self-care
Along the same lines as the behavior listed above, set aside time to do something that truly brings you relaxation or joy, something completely unrelated to work. Remember how much you used to love to ______? Consider exercise, proper sleep, a massage, or even something as simple as going to a movie and shutting off your phone, all as excellent forms of self-care. Even reading a book is a great option. Pick something that relaxes you and commit to doing it regularly, even schedule it if you have to. Have someone hold you accountable so you don’t skip out on it.
5. Practice autonomy
Your team is made up of competent adults. Each of them was selected to work with your organization based on their ability to complete tasks and projects on time. So let them! Stop micromanaging every step of the process and stand back and let them do their thing. Once they realize that you have faith in their capabilities, they’ll continuously rise to the task to get the job done right and on time (and you can breathe out a little bit).
6. Talk through mistakes
Mistakes happen. It’s unavoidable when working with humans in any capacity. When this happens, it’s best to offer feedback and solutions as close to the event as possible, don’t wait! Keep in mind, however, that we are big fans of praising in public but correcting in private. Celebrate all the wins with your entire team, but when it comes to correcting mistakes or behaviors, give your people the opportunity to have privacy. No one likes to feel called out or reprimanded in front of the whole class.
What are effective leadership behaviors for you?
Are you feeling anxious, out of sync, or out of balance when it comes to your most effective leadership behaviors? Looking to cultivate effective strategies that tell your team you are a top-level manager who deserves loyalty and respect? Not sure how to get started? We can help you.
We are here to provide in-person assessments of your current workplace environment, goals, challenges, and objectives. We then use a personalized and tailored approach to help you foster the leadership behaviors that are most important to and most effective for you.
Contact us to find out how to quickly gain a semblance of peace, authenticity, and inspiration in your professional and personal life by implementing the best leadership behaviors. Don’t waste another minute letting your workday control you. It’s time to control your workday.