5 habits every leader should consciously avoid

There’s nothing like a perfect leader, but you can become a good one by steering clear of these terrible traits. By Satyaki Sarkar

There’s a plethora of things that go into making a great leader and while some take naturally to it, others have to groom themselves. And in the midst of a high stress, challenging environment, like the corporate world, work can often blind you to the harmful traits and habits you are picking up. Subtle as some might be, they can be incredibly detrimental for you, the leader, as well as your team, and ultimately the organisation. So here are five toxic habits that you should definitely steer clear of.

1. Intentionally withholding information
Every leader is aware of the power information and knowledge grants them. That being said, some misuse the privilege by keeping information to themselves so that they can present a more impressive image to others. Unfortunately, this only reveals lack of confidence in yourself and can be extremely detrimental to your employees. A good leader is one who wants to help and raise others to his/her level, and is instrumental in the team’s growth. It’s never a good situation if you need to hurt your team to be able to succeed.

2. Excessive humiliation without appreciation
One expects a leader to be critical of his/her team as well as himself/herself and the work being done. After all the leader is in charge of making sure the work is done, and done well. However, in pursuit of perfection many leaders tend to channel their frustrations on to employees, sometime even humiliating them. Any kind of excessive emotion is a bad idea in a workplace, more so when it comes to negative emotions. Leaders need to respect their team’s limitations and understand that positive reinforcement works much more than excessive criticism. If a team member is to be corrected, do it in private, not in group meetings. Criticism should be constructive, with advice on how to make improvements, while appreciation and acknowledgement should also be handed out for a job done well.

3. Favouritism
As a leader, you might have team members you are fonder of, be it for their work or their attitude. But if you let that affect how you treat them, then you will lose respect in the eyes of the rest of your team. A leader should treat all team members equally and fairly.  Not only does that bring you closer to your team, it also reinforces the trust and goodwill that your team has in you.

4. Unclear expectations
Leaders need to provide a clear vision as well as a roadmap to their team to ensure efficient execution. Employees should be aware of their roles and responsibilities within the organisation as well as the group so that they can excel at their jobs. Any ambiguity will lead to confusion and that is detrimental to productivity. So provide clear targets with precise instructions as to the way ahead, so that employees can realise the goal.

5. Inconsistency
A good leader knows to stand by his words and actions through thick and thin, no matter what, instead of changing his position when put in a tough spot. Be it the instructions you give to your team, your opinions, methods, or beliefs, you need to be resolute and unwavering, irrespective of the situation. A leader who changes his tune every time higher management gets involved, using his own team as a scapegoat, quickly loses any trust they might have had in him.

Photograph: Katemangostar/ 

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