Employees look to leaders for reassurance, insight and feedback. As a leader, the four bad leadership behaviors below can create morale problems and worse, stifle ideas from your employees, who likely know the business best:
Interrupting. Wait for the other party to finish first. This works best for three reasons:
- You allow yourself and others a chance to listen and form more valid and insightful opinions
- Some team members may need time to “warm up,” and jumping in too soon could derail a potentially valuable breakthrough
- Everybody roots for the underdog; helping someone save a little face will maintain a team-focused atmosphere
Interrogating. Nobody likes to be cross-examined, nor do they like to see this happening to anyone else. Healthy morale and team-building is possible simply by fleshing out problems together.
Judging. Instead of judging any ideas on the spot, try taking notes on all of them. Then regroup to discuss those that made the cut, or just announce your decision after the fact. Avoid making powerful non-verbal signs of disagreement, such as eye rolling or frowning.
Pretending. Turning on the charm with clients and higher-ups one minute, then being prickly with your direct reports is superficial and arrogant. People notice this game and will respect leaders who are firm, fair and treat all reciprocally and with respect.