At the same time a leader needs to be aware of the common problems and pitfalls that detract from their effectiveness.
Here are 12 of them:
1. Winning at any cost. Winning matters. How you create the win matters, too. If you destroy morale, burn out team members and damage relationships, you’ve paid too much.
2. Inattention to the impact of programs on people. Good programs are good for the people who execute them. Programs that frustrate others unduly and cause burnout probably aren’t good program.
3. Proving “smartness.” Let your intelligence speak for itself through your ideas and behaviors. Proving smartness also proves an unhealthy need for attention.
4. Criticizing. Feedback is far more effective for creating improvement. The critic often identifies what is wrong but has not ideas how to fix it. Feedback focuses on behavior or changes that can be made to make things better.
5. Discounting ideas. Good ideas are where you find them. Sometimes the ideas is discounted because of its source. Anybody can have a good idea. And everybody should.
6. Talking behind another’s back. A smart listener knows that when they’re listening to gossip they will likely be the source of it to someone else later.
7. Not noticing good work. If you’re too busy to notice and appreciate good work, you’re just too busy.
8. Blaming. Hold people accountable for their actions, but don’t blame. Blaming adds an element of shame and often seems like an alternative to the leader’s lack of ultimate responsibility for their team.
9. Taking credit instead of sharing it. The opposite of blaming is taking credit for the work of others. Only the simplest of results are accomplished by a lone individual. Make sure everyone gets their fair share of credit.
10. Creating a cult of personality. The media loves weird and quirky leaders. But do their followers? Creating your own cult of personality puts the focus on you, not your team, not your company and not your results.
11. Infallibility. It is mystifying why any leader would claim or act like they are flawless. Perfection is an unattainable goal and the pretense of having achieved it kills credibility.
12. Grandstanding. “Hey, look at me!” got tedious after grade school. Let your results speak for themselves.
And here’s a bonus reason: an unwillingness to ask for help. Be prudent who you ask, but know those people whose wisdom and skills can complement your’s. An unwillingness to ask for help not only makes you appear like a know it all, but takes away from healthy interdependency with others and detracts from teamwork.