Skillful leadership has many red lines that should not be crossed. And not a few temptations, of course, that run the risk of failure.
Let’s take a look at the main mistakes that carry too much risk to be tolerated.
Encouraging employees to change through money
Today many studies prove that aiming to provoke enthusiasm in our employees through money is the wrong tactic. But traditional views teach us that if teams do not work well, do not give the expected results, or reach low productivity, we can solve the problem by stimulating them financially. But if we are not talking about extremely monotonous activities, we as business leaders must refrain from this tempting practice. Instead, we must rely on intrinsic motivation, which can generate results. Often the reason for failure is a lack of determination. The team members do not know why they have to do what is required of them and what the value of the given activity is for the whole project.
You do not make difficult decisions, believing that people will forget
Leaders regularly face complicated situations, which are sometimes resolved with unpleasant decisions. Dismissal of staff, imposition of fines, termination of contact with a long-standing customer or established supplier. Due to a lack of courage or fear of losing their reputation, many avoid making such decisions, naively believing that the problem will simply go away. But the truth is that every complicated situation that has not found its solution accumulates and carries its bitter taste. Postponing such measures only brings bigger problems.
You hire the “least” unsuitable candidate due to expiring deadlines, instead of the one you will really like
Sometimes we need to find a person for a position as soon as possible. Usually, then none of the candidates is suitable. If we then choose the “least appropriate”, we risk making this practice a habit and adding people to the teams who are not helpful. But in this way, our internal human potential will gradually become limited and we will soon find ourselves with too many people who cannot be promoted.
To put a mole on a team
Leaders who succumb to this temptation suffer from insecurity and a sense of danger. People who are skeptical by default would put their person on a team with the primary task of reporting everything their colleagues say, do, and even think. But the consequences are devastating – the reputation of this leader will be undermined and mutual mistrust will be further nurtured. This will hurt the transparency that a good team environment requires to grow a business.
To communicate everything to look honest
We need to know how to dose the information. Imagine a pilot who detects a problem with one of the planes he is piloting. He decided to announce this without any preparation to all passengers. However, what is routine for him maybe the end of the world for other people. Therefore, the disclosure of information to employees should be done carefully and their experience should be taken into account so that they understand the information correctly. That is, managing information is not about hiding it, but about being able to present it to the right people at the right time.
To act without thinking to look authentic
The Belgian writer Frederic Lalu, the author of the book “Rediscovering Organizations”, says that in TEAL organizations (structures in which self-government is introduced by workers) people do not pretend to be who they are and thus achieve results. But that doesn’t mean you have to go beyond respecting others or forgetting to show respect for their ideas. Sometimes aggression is disguised as directness, and the latter is used as a shield so that we do not notice and change negative attitudes.
Blame it on computer systems
It is very easy to shift the blame for ineffective management to someone else, especially if they cannot defend themselves. Unfortunately, too many leaders believe that until the money is spent on a new computer system, the company will be a prisoner of its slow speed. Blaming technological failures for failing is too tempting, but we must not fall into it.
To create internal divisions so that the teams do not become dangerous
Some teams are noisier than others when it comes to expressing their worries or moods. Those leaders who fear the decisions and thoughts of their subordinates worry that if the team gains too much power, it could turn against them and threaten the entire company. If this becomes the main person, the leader will be responsible for it, because he did not stop them in time. But I believe that the division of people is negative, although it is a very common practice. There is a temptation to create rumors, lies, and more to break the cohesion of the team. Better take advantage of this energy and channel it into collective creativity. If team members come together to complain, the decision is not to separate them. Instead, build an environment in which they feel protected and their honest opinions help you identify the causes of dissatisfaction. In this way, we will be able to build the most appropriate solutions to their problems.
Always use methods that have been successful before
Leaders need to remain consistent. But over-reliance on well-tested methods can be misleading. When a prescription has given good results, it becomes an indispensable medicine that we can use every time we have such a problem. However, the current world of great dynamics teaches us that what was useful before may be completely unnecessary next time. Therefore, always try to look at problems with a fresh head, with a sense of innovation and experimentation.
To believe that if everything is OK in your field, it is OK everywhere
This is to lose the holistic view of the company and stare only at what is under our control. Those who succumb to this temptation are surprised when the data show otherwise. I have seen the head of the department brag about his team’s performance without realizing that it is useless, as the whole company is in a difficult financial situation. The main problem of such people is that they prioritize short-term plans over long-term ones. We know that some time ago companies refused to use forecasting models so that they could be flexible to any changes instead. But this does not mean that they have to lose their values, their long-term vision. If this happens, then they fall into this temptation will certainly be greater and greater.