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6 Habits Great Leaders Kick To Be Most Effective

successful leader

Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all got foibles and flaws, and we all do our best to overcome them – or at least confine them to our personal lives. However, professionally-minded people need to be exceedingly aware of some habits that truly have no place in a work environment – especially if you have leadership responsibilities. Here are six bad habits that leaders need to kick to the curb in order to be their most effective selves.

Pretending You Know It All

Nobody wants to appear stupid or uneducated to their friends, family members, or work colleagues. However, habitually pretending to know everything about everything is a terrible habit if you’re in a leadership position.

If you’re so preoccupied with appearing intelligent and informed, your need to demonstrate your knowledge can have a deleterious effect on the regard your team members have for you. This goes double if you insist that your information is true, as this earns you a reputation for being a misguided fool – which is what you wanted to avoid in the first place.

Being Inauthentic to Hide Your Flaws

Closely related to pretending you know it all, being inauthentic to hide your perceived flaws is also an excellent way to erode the trust your team needs to have in you if you’re going to lead them effectively.

Presenting a false front in interpersonal relationships isn’t going to be effective in hiding any flaws you think you have. In fact, doing so is going to simply reinforce the fact that you’re acting in an inauthentic manner, creating an air of distrust and unapproachability around you that’s hard to mitigate.

Not Embracing Conflict and/or Confrontation

Nobody relishes the idea of having hard conversations, whether they’re with friends or colleagues. However, sometimes confrontation or conflict becomes inevitable – unless you do your best to duck your responsibilities to do so.

Need to correct a team member for inappropriate conduct, or go to bat for one of them in a conversation with a superior? Avoiding these painful but necessary confrontations and conflicts diminishes your authority, earning you a reputation as a pushover – or worse, a coward.

Being a Perfectionist

In a business environment, it’s natural to take pride in providing or producing high-quality products or services. However, if you have a perfectionist streak, this can create negativity when your team’s output “isn’t good enough” to meet your unrealistic quality thresholds.

Not wanting to be held responsible for low-quality work is a positive trait, but pushing too hard and too far for results that are impractical or impossible destroys team morale. Letting go of your perfectionism and instead adopting reasonable goals is a better option.

Not Leading From the Front

Being an effective leader involves knowing the value of delegation. However, simply assigning tasks to team members is often not enough – accomplishing tasks on time often requires deeper participation, leading the charge from the front lines and getting things done alongside team members.

Being reticent to engage fully in your team’s tasks not only diminishes the overall quality of the end result but can also create resentment among hard-working team members who wonder what you do all day in your office while they’re killing themselves. It sets a bad precedent – one to be avoided.

Not Maintaining a Professional Demeanor

There’s nothing wrong with developing good relationships with your team members. In fact, doing so is integral to fostering a well-functioning team that trusts one another. However, developing relationships by engaging in unprofessional demeanor can be a recipe for disaster.

While it may feel good to be seen as “one of the boys” in the eyes of your team members, at the end of the day you’re the one in charge – and the one responsible. Maintaining a level of professional detachment reinforces your leadership role and contributes to your team’s overall success.


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Posted by Mellie Goolsby Mathis on September 7, 2017

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