Our previous post focused on the importance of strong leadership when developing and sustaining high-performing teams.
Strong leaders provide the initial and ongoing energy for change and improvement, and people will only follow leaders if they trust them, if they see the need for change, if they believe improvement will benefit “all” parties, and if they are involved in creating the change.
Here are several behaviors from SmartBrief and Gallup that those in leadership roles should avoid if they hope to enjoy sustainable success:
“You can tell me anything, but…!” This statement is made (without the “but”) to solicit input or feedback on a particular idea or course of action. But, sometimes leaders will completely discount the idea or opinion offered, especially if it’s something with which they don’t immediately agree.
Giving feedback at the wrong time and in the wrong place. The proper place to give any kind of negative feedback is in private! Some leaders feel it is appropriate to give negative or critical feedback to a person on the spot and in front of others. Some of these managers have said that they like giving feedback in this way because it is motivating to others. But in reality, such behavior strikes fear into the heart of any conscious team member who learns to dread interactions with these managers or leaders. Sharing negative or critical feedback in front of others is highly disrespectful and does not inspire candor or openness. In fact, it will likely cause people to keep bad news to themselves and hide their mistakes.
Failing to provide any feedback. People crave feedback, In fact, in one Gallup poll, the most engaged team members say that they receive feedback from their immediate supervisor on a weekly (if not more frequent) basis!
Coercing support. Sometimes in an attempt to win approval for an idea or decision, leaders will say something like, “I need you to support my position today in the meeting. You have to back me up!” Often there’s an implied, “Or else.” Such behavior destroys candor, honesty and team morale.
Solicitation or decision making without action. Simply stated, solicitation implies action. When a leader asks for ideas or solutions, it is implied that the leader will do something with the ideas or solutions that are provided. This doesn’t mean that a leader has to implement or take action on every idea that is offered, but it does require that the leader share what they might do and why. This reinforces the importance of contribution and collaboration. To solicit ideas or input for decisions and then do nothing signals to individuals that their ideas are not important. Do this, and it won’t be long before people quit speaking up or offering ideas.
Manipulation. Sometimes a leader will ask people for ideas and then use them as evidence that the leader’s original idea was the best idea. This ends up feeling like manipulation. If leaders ask for ideas, then they should be open to exploring those ideas.