2012-04-18

The seven deadly sins of leadership

Marilyn Lustgarten

You may be an expert in your field and personally good at what you do, but if your intention is growing the business, then you have to be able to bring on and lead others effectively. Without followers, you will be limited to doing only what you are capable of doing alone. Without committed followers, growth isn't possible.

No matter how great the company or the job is, no one willingly follows someone for long who is guilty of the seven deadly sins of leadership:

Killer #1: EGOTISM

"It's all about me" - my ideas, my way, what's good for me. A head so big that no hat fits it properly, and when things go wrong or a mistake is made say, "Why are you doing this to ME?"

People will walk away if their boss’ arrogance, self-serving interests and constant need to take credit for the good work of others kill their interest and enthusiasm.

 

Killer #2: INSENSITIVITY

Total indifference to the feelings of others. Clueless about how what you say or the decisions you make in the business affect others or impact their work or lives. Expecting people to "get over it", and when they start complaining or try to explain their concerns..."Quit whining; if you don't like it, LEAVE!"

People will walk away if their boss' failure to consider their feedback and lack of empathy about what it would feel like to be hit with something unexpected kills the heart they used to put into their work.

 

Killer #3: UNBELIEVABILITY

Total lack of credibility. No one believes you know what you're doing or that you're capable of telling them the whole story; and when yet another promise is made that they know will be broken, eyes roll, "Yeah, RIGHT."

People will walk away if their boss' failure to inspire belief makes them wary of every decision and kills their willingness to "just trust me on this."

 

Killer #4: MISTRUST

Looking for hidden agendas. Second-guessing the motives and decisions of experienced people; needlessly worrying about your own back and micromanaging others until they finally tell you to get off theirs.

People will walk away if their boss' failure to trust them to do what they know how to do in ways that are in the best interests of the company kills their initiative and makes them into dispassionate robots just filling time doing exactly what they're told to do.

 

Killer #5: INDECISION

Putting off a decision because of uncertainty about what to do. Vacillation, procrastination — just decide SOMETHING!

People will walk away if their boss’ inability to decide one way or the other and stick to it causes confusion and frustration about what's next, and kills any hope of forward progress.

 

Killer #6: NEGATIVITY

Constant naysayer. No matter what anybody says or does, it isn't right. The glass is ALWAYS half-empty and the sky is ALWAYS falling, and when something doesn't turn out... "See, I TOLD you it wouldn't work!"

People will walk away if their boss’ consistently black mood would wipe the smile off Pollyanna; it kills their desire and motivation to turn problems into opportunities.

 

Killer #7: PURPOSELESSNESS

Lack of focus. Distracted. Confusing activity with results. Aimless decision-making. Trying too hard to be everything to every customer and not doing any of it very well.

People will walk away if their boss’ lack of vision and clarity about the organization’s purpose and goals has them confused and kills their willingness to get behind and follow.

People don't leave companies; they leave bosses who confuse title for real leadership. Think about it…haven’t you left a good job for the same reason? If you need great people to help your business grow and thrive, then it’s a good idea to learn how to avoid committing these deadly leadership sins.


Marilyn Lustgarten, executive coach and president of The Star Makers Group, works with leaders in good companies that want to be great! She also speaks and writes on leadership issues and organizational transformation.2008 The Star Makers Group, LLC All rights reserved.

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