5 ways leaders sabotage their teams

Get rid of these practices that are lowering morale, eroding trust, and killing innovation. By Priya Prakasan

Building a high performing, strong team isn’t an easy feat. There are a lot of factors to consider, especially concerning your own behaviour. Smart leaders engage employees, promote trust and fair play, encourage collaboration and inspire employees to put their best foot forward. So how do you get yourself there? By steering clear of these leadership behaviours that undermine team performance and prevent you from building an elite team.

1. Micromanaging
Do you often find yourself managing every little step that your team makes? Often telling what they should do and how they should do it? Micromanaging sends out a strong message to your team that you don’t trust their abilities. The more you exert control and hover over them the less confident your team will become and more resentful of micromanaging. This will affect the rapport and trust that you share as employees will feel judged and made to feel incompetent. You’ve hired and trained these team members, so trust in your abilities and in theirs to do their job well. Let employees take ownership of their roles and tasks. This will boost their productivity and encourage them to take on bigger tasks.

2. Focussing only on output
Focusing solely results to the exclusion of all else is a dangerous mistake for leaders. While results are important, so is how they are achieved. By prioritising output you’re creating an overly competitive culture where team members are disengaged. Smart leaders understand the importance of recognising positive behaviours irrespective of the output generated. Show employees that along with the output, the processes used and values expressed are also important. How they achieve results is important too. Appreciate their efforts with rewards and recognition based on value-driven contributions.

3. Turning a blind eye to learning opportunities
To build a high performing team, a leader needs to encourage, motivate, and instil the value of constant learning. You cannot have innovation without learning and developmental opportunities. Good leaders focus their energy on developing their team members and saying yes to opportunities that help them learn and grow both professionally and personally. This investment will show team members that you care about them and are interested in helping them perform optimally and succeed. Failure to capitalise on these opportunities means you’re setting your team up for failure.

4. Hero leader syndrome
Another reason your team might feel disrespected and relegated to the sidelines is if you try to be the hero and save the day by yourself all the time. Do you seek advice or input from your team members? Do you value their council? Take a good hard look at your leadership style. Smart leaders create strong teams by build a healthy culture of learning. And the learning being discussed isn’t just for employees, it’s for leaders too. Create opportunities that foster collaboration between all members of the team, including yourself. Turn to them for help, advice or guidance when you’re problem solving. Take their inputs into consideration when planning strategies, team road maps and other elements that impact the whole team. By doing this you’re showing that you value their inputs and trust them to assist you.

5. Doing away with rewards and recognition
This might be one of the most overlooked ways of destroying an optimally performing team. Employees often look up to their leaders for reassurance. Recognition, praise, and rewards go a long way towards making employees feel valued and influencing their behaviour. A leader who provides a year-end bonus but is aloof, distant, and uncommunicative with employees will soon learn that the bonus doesn’t count for much. Employees are motivated through recognition, public as well as private. They want to know that they’re contributing towards the larger goals, that their work has purpose. So create a system to recognise individual employee as well as team accomplishments. Reward behaviours and celebrate achievements, especially those that align with the organisation’s goals. The annual performance review should not be the only way to recognise performance and appreciate achievements.


Categories:   Work Buzz


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.