A good leader dares well to turn the mirror towards himself. Because if you do not do it every now and then, then there is a real risk that it will go completely over your head if something does not run as it should. Because you play the biggest role in ensuring that your employees and the workplace work well.
We all need habits as they help to build routine and security. So good practices are excellent. On the other hand, your bad habits can be extra nasty when you sit at the end of the table. Because they not only have consequences for yourself — they also have implications for your employees and their motivation and well-being. Where the positive actions and habits help to foster a culture of respect and trust, negative behavior can create mistrust and low motivation.
Therefore, you as a leader must regularly give your habits a thorough overhaul. And this is not about how many times you have your fingers in the candy drawer during a day. According to management expert Elizabeth Lyle, on the other hand, you need to spot these four habits:
1. You Have a Hard Time Hiding Your Frustration with Bad News
Here we have something that may be difficult for most people – receiving bad news with completely open arms. For it is quite natural to prefer the good news. But as a leader, do not show signs of frustration or irritation if an employee delivers bad news. You need to respond in a way that everyone feels like and has the courage to be honest with you. In this way, you can manage to take problems in the bud before they may end up in a definite crisis. Because if your employees feel that you are blaming them when they bring bad news, then they might take it a little further next time there are challenges they want to share with you.
How to Wave Goodbye to That bad Habit
What usually triggers your adverse reaction is the feeling of panic that a ticking bomb has now been placed on your table. But you must remember that you are part of the team that must jointly solve the problem. So instead of panicking, practice making your prompt response a “Thank you for sharing it with me.” When you disturb your habit with a thank you, it will immediately change the mood associated with the problem you are facing. In other words, you are short-circuiting your typical reaction, and you have a chance to act entirely differently.
2. You Have a Hard Time Delegating
In your previous working life, before you became a leader, you have probably been praised for solving the tasks you have been assigned to. And the more tasks you solved, the more praise and recognition you reaped. You rarely take a leadership position without making a name for yourself as someone who likes to scratch. But as a leader, it is no longer your job to solve the same tasks. Now, on the other hand, you have to delegate. Because if you constantly roll up your sleeves and try to solve the charges for your employees, you will never have time for anything else, while your employees will not get the chance to learn and get better either. And at the same time, you show a lack of confidence in their ability to solve the tasks.
How to Wave Goodbye to That Habit
First, you will have to hand over tasks that you should not be in charge of. This will be especially relevant if you go from being an employee to a leader in the same workplace. And it needs to be made explicit so that everyone is aware that you are no longer carrying out this and that task.
It can be hard to let go of the tasks when you are used to running with the tasks. At the same time, it will inevitably also mean that you lose the completely close feeling with the task solution. And pretty soon, you are no longer an expert in that field. It would be best if you dared to say it out loud. Leaders do not have the answer to everything. And you have to help create a culture in the workplace where you are not expected to be an expert in everything.
3. You Avoid the Complex Topics
Of course, your everyday life does not only consist of simple tasks, where the solution is “straight out of the road.” Everything is constantly evolving. And here, you must not deprive yourself of the opportunities that arise if you dive a little more into the complex. We tend to look for easy solutions, or “we usually do.” Most of the time, we try to avoid the “gray zones,” where there is a possibility of conflict, and we sneak past the unpleasant and complex discussions. But that way, you easily miss out on development opportunities.
How to Wave Goodbye to That Habit
To break with that habit, you need to practice using the complex as inspiration for discussion and debate. So instead of trying to sweep the hard stuff under the rug, take the time to discuss it with the team. Invite your employees to challenge pre-existing conclusions. Ask where the holes are and how they think you could approach it differently.
You can also invite three different people to voice three other choices and take a collective discussion of them. In this way, you will often suddenly be able to see new paths to take. And the complex becomes less complex.
4. You Are Not Asking for Feedback
Feedback is your key to development. But unfortunately, it does not come by itself, and it requires that you work purposefully and dare to ask where it can hurt to hear the answer. Therefore, one can easily fall for the quick round: “I do it well enough” when an opportunity arises for it. Furthermore, it is a time-consuming process to ensure honest feedback. But it is nonetheless important.
You must call for feedback early in your leadership career. Many people only discover a little too late how important feedback is. Because the sooner you ask for it, the more honest are those who will give you feedback. It will help you build a trusting relationship with the people you work with and give you a routine in working with them. But should you miss the window for honest feedback, do not despair. Fortunately, it’s never too late.
How to Wave Goodbye to That Habit
If you want honest feedback, be completely clear in your speech. What do you want to know? Be specific, and feel free to ask your questions well in advance. Bring particular situations to the field. For example, the meeting the day before, where you came to spend everyone’s speaking time. Is that something you often come across? Because you want to change that. And is there anything you can do to help others get on the field?
By involving your employees in your desire to improve, not only do you get closer to their honest feedback, but you also show that you want to change bad habits and that they are very welcome to help you.