When your employees are on their way to work, what do you think goes through their minds? Are they dreading the coming day? Are they excited? Ask yourself these questions, and then ask yourself “Is there anything I can do to make it the latter?”
There are many characteristics that make up a good leader, but it’s not always that easy to keep them in mind when you are in a leadership role. When talking to employees, it’s easy to say and do things that you think are just part of the job, but many of the tactics managers use have the opposite effect they want.
Here are five examples of poor leadership ideals that you can learn from, and turn into good habits to make you more influential.
1. “I have to establish my dominance in order to get any respect.”
This is not true. Sure, you have to set boundaries and enforce rules and protocols, but being a leader is not a license to act as an overlord.
Respect is, has been, and always will be earned.
Morale is the number one key to earning respect from employees. If they are happy, they will want to come to work. If they want to come to work, they will care about their job more, and do it more efficiently. Barking orders at employees will work against you more than help you, especially when directed at an older or more tenured employee.
There is no getting around it, going from working with an older or more experienced person to being their manager can be a hard transition for both you and them, and the best way to approach them is with humility.
As important as it is to establish yourself as a leader, it is even more important to allow the people you are leading to grow accustom to you as a leader. This transition will not happen overnight, but the more open and honest you are, the more respect you will get in return.
2. “I’m the boss, and you have to listen to me.”
How this should be said is, “I’m the boss, and I have to listen to you.”
If you are looking to do your job to the fullest, then you need your employees and their input. Everyone knows that they are supposed to do what their manager tells them to do, but it’s the managers who don’t always understand that listening is a two way street. If you listen to their thoughts and ideas they will feel more appreciated and be more open to your directions.
What you say isn’t always as important as how you say it.
A condescending tone can easily tarnish the most genuine of compliments. Make sure both your voice and body language are non-threatening when addressing your workers. If they feel like they can approach you without worrying about what you are going to say or do, odds are they will be much more receptive to the orders you give them.
3. “You do it my way.”
If there is one thing that I have learned from my past managers, it’s that they tend to think they always know what’s best. Now, I’m sure that you have been trained to do things in a particular way, and that you are used to doing things in a specific manner, but how do you truly know that your way is the best?
There is the possibility that your employees have found a better, quicker, and/or more efficient way to do something.
The ability to accept new ideas will put you in a place of authority, and they will begin to trust you more.
After all, in order to exercise new innovations, you must have new ideas, and the people you have doing the work are the perfect place to get them. Don’t let your position get in the way of a good idea, despite where or who it came from.
4. “You don’t get to teach me anything.”
Accepting the fact that you don’t know everything is a big part of being a good leader.
Some may perceive this as weakness and proof that you shouldn’t have been given the position, but the act of pretending to know everything can and will do more damage than admitting that you don’t know. You might have to deal with a situation where one of your employees knows more than you do; and that’s okay!
This is a prime opportunity to learn something new, and earn a little respect at the same time. If you can show them that you are not above learning from them, you will make them feel like a valued member of the team, and now you have learned what to do so that you can teach another employee the next time the situation arises.
5. “You don’t need to know why, just do it.”
There will be times when you can’t divulge every detail of every request, but lack of communication is a fast track to distrust, and loss of motivation. People don’t like being left in the dark, especially when they don’t know what effect their actions will have.
When they have a goal to work towards, they might have more enthusiasm and drive to accomplish a job because they have something to strive for, rather than just simply doing the job. If you make your goals their goals, it will portray to them that you want their help, and they will be more diligent in their tasks.
One last point to keep in mind, always try and keep your attitude in check.
The people working under you will always pick up on your mood, and that can quickly sway the vibe for everyone working within your proximity.
Emotions can run high in any work setting, but learning how to control your emotions is an essential part of becoming the best leader that you can be.
Being a leader is hard work. It takes patience, dedication, and selflessness. If you want to be the best leader you can be, the key is helping your team to succeed, and never stop learning how to get better.
Making sure that your team is equipped to do their job, and taking control of morale will be huge factors in how your employees respond to you. It is a different concept than what society teaches us, but by doing this you have the power to make your workplace a productive, desirable place to work.
Mykael Ray is a freelance writer whose best working years were spent in management. Learning most of his management tactics by observing both the successes of his previous managers as well as their drastic failures, his entire goal was to be the best manager he was capable of being. Now, he hopes to help others to be the best that they can be.