7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders Effective Leadership Principles

1) You’re the leader. You get the credit.

You’ve worked hard to achieve that leadership position. You need to remain successful and competitive amongst your peers. You're the first person everyone asks for if there's a challenge, new initiative, or a promotion comes up.

Taking credit is the best way to ensure your name continues to come up. You ran the team and you hit the numbers… you deserve the credit. Your direct reports couldn’t have done it without your leadership. They love hearing you take the credit on that conference call or during those update meetings. You like to say, “my analysis.” This lets your direct reports know their work is providing value to the company. I mean, the fact that they work for you is a privilege. They are learning from the master!

No. Give credit to your team. “No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” – Andrew Carnegie

2) There’s no “why,” there’s only “do.”

Your team doesn’t need to know why. They just get it done. You made the decision, they trust you, and it will get done ... and done well. They will learn and develop by performing the task.

Plus, you're a busy person. There’s no time to explain why the decision was made. Any outstanding factors considered. Or, how the decision making process worked. They work for you. It's a need to know basis.

No. I understand that sometimes things just need to get done immediately. Try spending just 5 minutes to explain why. This can happen before or after a decision or task. Walking your team through the “why” will provide a tremendous impact to their development.

3) You’ve shown appreciation just by hiring them

 You’ve taken a chance by hiring them. They're making money, paying bills and have 2 weeks vacation. This alone shows how much you appreciate them. They look forward to working for you. They love hearing you say “good night and I’ll see you tomorrow” as you walk out of the office and they stay behind. 

No. I don’t know about you, but I receive tons of email on a daily basis. These days, all I get in my snail mailbox are credit card offers. You know what’s special? When I receive a handwritten letter. Someone actually took 3 minutes to personally write me something … with a pen ... that uses ink! Go to the local store. Buy a pack of blank "Thank You" cards. Spend 3 minutes writing a thank you note specific to a task. If you can, hand deliver it to the person. If not, mail it. 

4) Leadership through fear helps develop thick skin. Your team can handle any stressful situation

You yell to show power. Also, it alerts your team to the serious nature of the situation. They immediately spring into action and do as you command. You're strong and have thick skin. This will help them develop the same thick skin. As a result, they can handle / control any stressful situation. It was part of your development, now it’s part of theirs.

As they grow into a leadership role, the tool of leading by fear will help them control their team. Their team will do exactly what they want and without question. 

No. There’s a difference between a fair, but tough leader and an asshole that leads through fear. The fair, but tough leader will be the first person to kick you in gear. They're also the first to celebrate success with you! They embrace failure and help you learn through it. An asshole is just that … a cancer that needs a quick exit. So if you're an asshole, try adjusting to a fair and tough leader.

Have you ever seen a quiet leader in action? In a room full of debate and discussion the quiet leader sits and listens. Everyone tries to speak over the next person. Then, that quiet leader starts speaking. They speak so softly that the entire room comes to a halt, sits, and listens. Sometimes being the calm, collected, and quite leader is the best route. 

5) Measuring my team’s "time in the office" helps me measure performance

If my team is in the office morning, noon, and night, I know they're working at their max potential. They're committed to the company and the team's goals. Time spent in the office is a reflection of increased performance.

The longer in the office, the more they can grow. They can't network with colleagues and meet the needs of our customers if they're not in the office. 

No. If you believe that time in office correlates with performance … wake up. As a leader, you’ll set specific goals, expectations, and deadlines. Be clear on the importance of in-person meetings and face time. Hold them accountable for their actions, but treat them as adults. If you do this, 8-5 is less of a priority. Meeting the needs of your clients and getting the job done moves to the front of the line. Don’t measure time in office. Instead, measure and hold your employees accountable for results.

6) Whatever my boss asks for, we get done. No questions asked.

 If the boss asks for it, then we do it! No questions asked. We can take it ALL on. Everything. We'll even knock it out of the park! I lead the best team in the company. Everyone knows it. I’ll receive recognition for my leadership.

If someone leaves because there's too much work, then they weren’t cut out for this job. Plenty of people are waiting in the line for a job. We’ll find someone to replace them.

No. Just like you, your team has priorities, goals, and expectations. Just like you, your team has workload limits. They have a personal life too. Of course you have to pick your battles and not cross the insubordination line. As a leader you don't dump everything on your team. It's time to manage-up. 

Maintain a list of priorities, goals, and expectations with your boss. As the work increases review the list. Provide him/her a reprioritized list, plus the cause / effect of adding more. Remember, you are providing a solution, not complaining. The reprioritized list allows for comment and suggestion based on his/her respected knowledge. 

7) What motivates a direct report’s personal life has nothing to do with work

Personal life has nothing to do with work. Sure, I’ll get to know you on a surface level, maybe even ask you about your weekend. But deep down, I don’t care.

You're here to get a job done. The fact that you enjoy kayaking doesn’t matter to me. I don’t know anything about kayaking. I have no idea why that matters in the office. 

No. Kayaking might be their passion. It could be the reason they work so hard. They want to buy a better kayak or pay for the next amazing trip. This has a direct impact on motivation. Kayaking could be the way they relieve stress and prepare for the next work week. Take 5 minutes, go on Wikipedia, and read a little bit about kayaking. Ask them about it. Find out what they’ve learned from kayaking. Next thing you know, they’ll be thinking, “gee, my boss takes an interest in me as a person. I’m not just a number, I’m a human. I like my boss.”  

We all know that leadership is a journey. Don't try to make huge change. Find a few things you can work on at one time. Test those changes and ask for open feedback. Never stop learning, testing, and adjusting. Each position or team will need you to adjust a little. 

Hopefully this post helps. Feel free to provide feedback. What do I need to clarify or go deeper on? What would you add or change? Also, don’t be scared! Share this post with your friends and networks. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Stewart Swayze