Things You Should Never Do as a Leader

If leading were easy, everyone would do it. Some people have a natural knack for persuasion and the gift of charisma which make it seem like it comes effortlessly to them. Others study and train themselves to be ready when the opportunity to lead arrives. Either way, there is no fool-proof direction to lead well in every circumstance. Rather, it can be helpful to focus on bad habits to avoid when you become in charge.

Discipline an Employee Publicly

Cutting down an employee in front of their colleagues is one of the most flagrant examples of poor leadership. Not only is it demoralizing, but it is also usually ineffective. Treat mistakes as a teachable opportunity. Address them one-on-one with the staff member in question. Taken a step further, it is counter-productive to vaguely allude to an issue in front of the staff and hope it will catch on with the one person who needs to hear it. Be direct, thoughtful, and private when addressing performance issues.

Refuse to Accept Responsibility

A key component of leadership is accountability. Leaders are responsible for their actions, and those of their team. Poor leaders never want to be blamed for problems, and try to “throw people under the bus,” deflecting responsibility. This is one of the easiest ways to lose the confidence of your team. Here’s a helpful tip: focus more on solutions and less on blame.

Seek and Take Credit

Conversely, great leaders understand that their success is tied to their team. Bad leaders want all the credit for everything good that comes from their employees. Humility is a crucial leadership attribute. Leaders should support and nurture their staff, not steal credit for their success. Check your ego and give credit where it’s due. It won’t be long before coworkers understand that this approach demonstrates the part you play in the organization’s wins. 

Set a Bad Example

Finally, it’s often been said that people emulate their leaders. If you’re setting an excellent example, that’s a good thing. On the other hand, if you’re constantly disappearing from the office, showing up late, leaving early, or taking long lunches, you can’t be surprised if your team starts doing the same. Great leadership is leadership by example. Set a high standard for yourself, and your staff will usually follow.

Great leaders are made, not born. Through experience, both good and bad, they forge their management style. These examples of behaviors to avoid should help you be a successful and powerful leader. 

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