The Leadership ‘What Not to Do’ List

There are many great articles about how to be an outstanding leader, the essentials for creating a high performance team, to-do lists for new managers, and books on management principles. But what is forgotten and can be equally important is the What Not to Do list. Despite a leader’s best intention, there are quite a few leadership mistakes that are easy to make.

  • You Are Doing Great (Um not!):  It is important to give your team members high fives, ‘great jobs,’ and praise to make them feel great about the work they are doing. What gets missed is if they do something wrong and you do not say anything because you want to be seen as the “best boss” and protect your relationship with that person. However, you reach your breaking point with that person and then as you are filling out their performance evaluation, you let your honest assessment about their work come out all at once basically blindsiding them.
  • Treat Your Direct Reports like Babies:  You lead as if your direct reports are not smarter than you and they do not know nearly as much as you do. You shield them from projects where they have to assume any responsibility and prevent them from making any mistakes at all. You always provide extra structure than necessary because you are unsure about their ability to create their own.  Bottom-line you do not empower your employees to do the job.
  • Play Enforcer:  You act as if your job as a manager is not to get things done; it is to enforce every rule in the employee handbook. So you do not wait for an issue or employee behavioral pattern to surface before you jump to conclusions. After all, it is your responsible to nip this in the bud and set a precedent for the rest, right? And as leaders, we certainly do not want to point out when someone has done well. No way do we want our employees to get big egos.
  • Focus on the 20%:  You neglect the high performers because you rationalize that they do not need any help, attention, or feedback from you.  They are already doing great all on their own.  Instead, you waste 80% of your energy on those 20% who are showing up late, giving attitude and missing deadlines.  You rationalize that if you cannot engage them, it is your fault and make excuses for them and try harder to make a bad employee a good employee.  All the time forgetting to praise the high performers so they continue to perform.

Have you seen this before?  Please share any other Leadership mistakes that you have experienced.

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About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

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