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Bad Leadership Habits to Leave Behind in 2021

by Roveen Anyango
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The year 2021 has come to an end, marking the second complete year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we have bid goodbye to last year, however, there are some bad leadership habits that we need to leave behind as we move forward. The work culture, just like every other part of our world right now, is undergoing a shift and if you are a leader, you need to get with the program.

So, below are some bad leadership habits to leave behind.

Shaming failure

We have often heard of the phrase ‘failure is not an option said by people in leadership trying to encourage their teams.

Yet, this phrase, rather than motivating, actually harms morale. What it does is discourage the making of mistakes and shut down conversations about how things can be improved.

Instead, as a leader, encourage your team to try things. If they fail, make it a learning opportunity for them. Rather than discourage failure, use failure to give back constructive criticism.

Disregard for employees

We have heard of the phrase ‘the customer is always right. Often, managers will tell this to their subordinates.

However, this kind of attitude not only encourages bad habits among customers, but it also reduces the morale of your employees since it shows that you are not willing to understand their well-being and are more concerned about satisfying your customer, no matter how unreasonable they are being.

Rather than dismiss your employees when they complain about insane customer demands, listen to them. Once employees become comfortable in the workplace, they will be competent at what they do and thus, can tell when a customer is being unreasonable. Listen to them and show them that the management has their back and will not automatically take the customer’s side. This motivates them to work better.

Teamwork beyond individualism

‘There is no I in this company/team’. We have all heard this phrase, which is often meant to encourage teamwork.

However, this one-size-fits-all approach to leadership is detrimental because many people right now always want to be acknowledged for their unique talents and outputs.

Rather than try to fit all people into what you want them to be, have discussions with them about their personal skills and talents, then let them know how that can be well utilized within the company/team.

Lack of communication with staff

‘I’ll handle it or ‘we will come back to that are no longer reassuring words for members of staff who raise complaints or who make a point in a meeting.

Try to make it a habit to close the feedback loop. If someone gives a suggestion or raises an issue, address their comments. If it’s not possible to do that instantly, create a specific time of when to best address it.

Good leadership is now no longer just about returns and profits. Knowing how to deal with people is now paramount.

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