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Exceptional Leaders Never Do These 20 Things (but Always Do This Instead)


Ex Anambra State Gov., Peter Obi

The best leaders have a unique opportunity to create an environment that reflects their own values while maximizing individual strengths.

Unfortunately, many individuals in leadership positions lack the self-awareness necessary to become exceptional at inspiring others.

If you want to take the next step in your leadership development, avoid these 20 mistakes:

1. Speaking like a politician instead of a person.

Between Trump, Clinton, and congress, we have enough masquerades to last until 2020.

What employees crave is someone who’s authentic, genuine, and not afraid to answer questions with honesty and transparency.

2. Putting people on the spot in front of others to make them feel embarrassed.

Calling someone out in front of their peers leads to isolation and shame, quickly creating a dynamic of secretes instead of open communication.

3. Using titles or experience to justify your behaviors instead of logic.

The best way to convey your values and philosophy to your company is explaining your thought processes behind important decisions.

Hiding behind your resume is an appeal to authority that builds resentment and divides team members.

4. Seeking arguments with coworkers you know you’ll win.

We get it–you know more than the rest of us, there’s no need to go the extra mile–it only builds resentment.

5. Allowing negativity in your personal life to infiltrate the workplace.

When you have a bad weekend and then bring that negative energy into the workplace it decreases productivity and makes everyone feel on edge.

6. Blaming others instead of taking ownership and responsibility.

The best leaders hold themselves accountable because it models the ability to own up to your mistakes and shows that no one is except from personal and collective responsibility.

7. Telling people to do something that you haven’t done.

When you haven’t experienced something, it’s important that you value the opinions of people who have.

8. Displacing your frustration onto employees rather than its source.

Having control over the workplace but not your personal life leads to the re-creation of family-like chaos in a corporate environment, which is bad for business and emotional wellbeing.

9. Enforcing policies without explaining the reason for their implementation.

Stop wasting opportunities to get people on the same page. No one wants to do something that feels arbitrary and without reason.

10. Reducing employee satisfaction to a dollar value instead of prioritizing workplace cohesion.

Give back to your employees instead of pinching them for every dollar and cent. When you make employees feel valued and aligned with your core values, they want to work for you instead of the competition.

11. Not being approachable.

Whether it’s the cleaning staff or the investors, leaders need to be open and actively seeking out engagement with others.

12. Not taking action to solve and resolve employee complaints.

When you ask for feedback and then do nothing about it, you’re communicating that people’s opinions don’t matter.

Even something as simple as showing the top complaints and your plan to address it is sometimes enough validation to buy time and respect.

13. Excessively emphasizing the company’s bright future to minimize current suffering.

Stop dangling the carrot and start acknowledging what’s happening right now.

14. Not truly listening to their employees.

Great leaders listen and value the opinions of their employees.

15. Shaming workers for lacking your same level of dedication to work.

Expecting other people to care as much about their work as you do is setting yourself up for frustration.

16. Being out of touch with the experiences of entry level workers.

When you’re driving a car, you need to know what’s happening on the ground so you can avoid potholes.

17. Saying one thing and then doing another.

If you want your words to be valued, you need to increase not decrease your integrity.

18. Failing to acknowledge and reward above-and-beyond performance.

When you go above and beyond acknowledging and appreciating good performance, it becomes a great recruiting tool and motivates current employees to work harder.

19. Keeping underperforming friends and family in the business.

Establish a meritocracy. If your friends and family don’t keep up, you can’t reward them without undermining everyone else.

20. Being rude and inconsiderate in digital communications.

Be thoughtful with your words–they set the precedent for everyone else.

Exceptional leaders do what they say, practice what they preach, and lead by example. They immerse themselves in self development practices because they know that they must embody the values they wish to instill in others.

They behave according to their values, treat all people with warmth and respect, encourage conversation, and they recognize their own limitations.

If you want to be the best leader you can become and have the most significant impact on your company, then you need to work on refining yourself–because your business is a reflection of yourself.