As a leader, you are responsible for setting the tone of your team and fostering a positive, productive work environment. But to do that, you must avoid dysfunctional behaviors that would set the wrong example and could negatively affect your team’s performance. Here are a few of the biggest don’ts in leadership to watch out for:
Refusing to delegate
One of the most common leadership mistakes is refusing to delegate tasks. As the leader, you may feel like you need to control everything to get the job done right. However, this thinking will only lead to burnout—for you and your team. Learning to delegate tasks is an essential leadership skill. It not only lightens your workload but also allows you to focus on the bigger picture and strategic objectives.
This situation applies in today’s business environment as well. Earlier this 2022, the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) appointed its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ngien Hoon Ping.
With the confidence of SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming, Ngien was handpicked to become the company’s new leader because of his extensive experience in the transport industry and strong track record of project delivery. As SMRT CEO, Ngien is proving his leadership prowess by leading the company’s transformation efforts to make SMRT one of Asia’s most reliable transport operators.
That means Mr. Seah Moon Ming trusts his CEO to be able to handle tasks and manage the company’s transformation. This ability to trust and delegate is essential for any leader to be successful. As a result, Ngien was able to lead the organization in a positive direction and drive greater efficiency.
Micromanagement happens when a leader is overly involved in their team’s day-to-day operations and management. It can come off as intrusive and hurt employee productivity or morale. Leaders who micromanage stifle creativity, innovation, and initiative.
If you constantly look over your team’s shoulder or second-guess their every move, it’s time to step back and reassess your management style. Instead of micromanaging, focus on providing guidance and support when needed but ultimately trust that your team can handle their responsibilities without constant supervision.
Especially in today’s virtually connected world, giving employees the autonomy they deserve is more critical than ever. Companies that embrace a more hands-off approach to managing their teams are better positioned for success and can ensure that employees feel empowered. So, try to maintain a healthy balance between offering guidance where needed and allowing your team the freedom they need to drive results.
Creating a hostile work environment
A hostile work environment is toxic for everyone involved—employees, customers, and business partners. Leaders who perpetuate a hostile environment through their words or actions breed mistrust, suspicion, and fear within their team. This type of environment quickly leads to high employee turnover and decreased productivity.
When you find yourself in a leadership role with a lot of tension and negativity, it’s up to you to turn things around by modeling positive behavior and promoting open communication among your team members. You should also look for areas of improvement and reward those who take the initiative to create a more positive workplace.
You can hire a consultant to evaluate your team’s performance or implement new policies and procedures that foster a more collaborative work environment. Either way, it’s important to remember that as a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure everyone in the organization feels safe and supported.
Failing to communicate
Lack of communication is one of the quickest ways to lose the trust of your team. As a leader, it’s essential to keep lines of communication open at all times so that everyone is on the same page and aware of company changes or initiatives.
If there are changes or disruptions in the workplace, take the time to explain why they are happening and how they will impact your team’s day-to-day operations. Communicating openly and frequently with your team will build trust and respect—two essential ingredients for any successful leader-team relationship.
Without communication, building relationships and creating a unified team is impossible. So, work by investing in your relationship with your team and stay proactive in addressing any issues or concerns. Doing so will lead to a better understanding of tasks, increased collaboration, and ultimately, a more productive work environment.
Being aware of dysfunctional behaviors that could harm your team’s productivity or morale is essential. The behaviors mentioned above are just a few of the “don’ts” in leadership—and by consciously avoiding them and focusing on what you should do as a leader, you can help create a positive workplace culture and drive greater efficiency.