Warning labels. From “handle with care” to “highly flammable”, we see them everywhere. A warning label is a label attached to an item, or contained in an item’s instruction manual, warning the user about risks associated with the use of the item. Sadly enough, warning labels sometimes apply to leaders. This week’s chat will take a turn from the norm of positive steps and practices and instead share three ways we may indirectly tell others we really don’t deserve to wear that leadership hat.
Command and control is your “go to” style
Let’s face it. Everyone has some form of control issue. We like things the way we like them whether it is an approach to work or how we like our team to function. But when it comes to leading our team that tendency to want to control how they do their job must take a back burner. Once a team member understands his/her expectations, it is their responsibility to perform in their way or style. Curious if you struggle with this behavior? Ask yourself this question. When assigning work to the team do you use this phrase: “You can do this task anyway you want; but if I were you I would do it ‘this’ way.” Regardless of the best of intentions, a sense of “do it my way” is being communicated to the team and will slowly shut down your team.
We don’t explain the “why”
Do you ever say the phrase, “Because I said so” to your team? For every task your team performs, they must know how it fits into the bigger picture. Why? The more they understand why the task is important and how it links to the bigger goals of the team the more buy-in occurs. So why don’t leaders explain the why? Some may not know the linkage to broader goals which may speak to a lack of critical thinking or connection to the strategy (which speaks to an incompetence). Or perhaps it’s a game of control. When too much emphasis or importance is placed on your job title, an attitude of entitlement can creep in (which speaks to character).
The Team Never Knows the “You” They Will Get
Finally, the biggest enemy leaders have sometimes are simply themselves. How consistent is your demeanor each day? Is every day a “good” day to be approached or is it a guessing game each day leaving the team wondering “which leader showed up today?”.
Leadership warning labels. Each of us would quickly say that’s not a reputation we want. But as with any reputation, it can be tarnished in an instant if it is not guarded. So, what are you doing to ensure your labels are positive. It’s critical to have a strategy. After all, we are all wearing something; the question is what does my leadership label say?
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