You Are NOT Loving Your Team, Leaders!

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Great leaders do two things:

1) They lead themselves well, modeling what they wish others would do.

2) They inspire others to achieve more than they ever imagined possible.

While you may not consider yourself a leader, everyone has the opportunity to lead because leadership is much more than a title! If you’ve ever worked with children, you know that many of them have a knack for taking over the class or persuading other children to follow their lead. Sometimes they even gain more followers than the adult in charge! That just goes to show you that leadership has nothing to do with a title.

While there are some terrible leaders out there motivated by selfish ambitions, the majority of the time leaders mean well, yet engage in behaviors that inadvertently hold others back in significant ways. That’s true for the C suite leader, the manager, the business owner, the parent (yes, they are most definitely leaders!), and those unofficial leaders that just wish to make a difference in the lives of others.

Effective leaders understand that relationship plays a key role in the success of their teams, however, they are often confused about what that looks like. They may have good intentions, but their leadership style could be inadvertently limiting the success of the team and those they have the opportunity to influence. Is it possible that you are one of these kinds of leaders and unintentionally limiting your people?

See if you recognize yourself in any of these leaders:

1. The Speed Demon

The Good Intention: To model quality and high standards – set the bar high.

The Trouble: Their people often can’t keep up with the speed or the standard they are setting. It doesn’t take long before their people give up and resort to being a spectator instead of a participant.

The Solution: Regularly look in the rear-view mirror and make adjustments when you see that your people are lagging behind. If you’ve ever tried to follow a speed demon on the road while driving to a destination, you know how frustrating it is to keep up. It gets even more maddening when you are unable to keep up and end up completely lost. Thank heavens we have the luxury of turning to the map app on our phones in these situations, but there’s no app to help a team keep up with a Speed Demon leader!

2. The Protector

The Good Intention: To protect their people from the political intricacies in the organization.

The Trouble: People are ill equipped and inexperienced in dealing with political issues.

The Solution: Allow your people to experience the hard stuff – the politics, negative influences, etc. in manageable doses so that they gain strength and learn from their mistakes. They will feel the pinch without being completely destroyed.

When I think of the Protector leader, helicopter parents come to mind. We’ve all witnessed the hovering parents stepping in to “protect” their children from anything challenging. They mean well, but ultimately, they are robbing their children of the chance to learn and increase their resilience so that they are prepared to move into adulthood.

In the same way, the hard stuff prepares your people for what’s ahead in your organization and their career.

3. The Perfectionist

The Good Intention: To help people perform at their very best so that their work is exceptional.

The Trouble: People feel like their work never measures up and that they are perpetually being criticized. Pretty soon their people are discouraged and don’t bother trying.

The Solution: Setting clear expectations up front so your people know what they are shooting for, which, allows you to give your people a chance to assess their work based on those standards rather than you highlighting the issues. Most of the time, people are well aware of the areas that need improving without you pointing them out if given the chance. If there are additional insights they’ve missed, kindly offer feedback.

If you aren’t getting the results from your people that you are after, consider improving how you communicate your expectations and how you give feedback.

4. The Idea Generator

The Good Intention: To use their overflowing creativity and innovation to inspire others.

The Trouble: The volume of ideas is often overwhelming, especially if you are having to flesh out all the many details required to make those ideas a reality. A plethora of ideas also dilutes the focus, leaving people unsure which idea to put their energy into.

The Solution: Sensor yourself! As the ideas come, don’t let them slip away. Write them down. Then, ask yourself “is this is an idea that I want to intentionally pursue right now? Is something to pursue later? Or is it an idea to simply keep to yourself?” Your people will appreciate a more focused approach and they will grow from having to come up with some ideas or solutions of their own.

5. The Optimist

The Good Intention: They want their team to believe that anything is possible – they are abundantly capable!

The Trouble: People under the Optimist may feel like their problems or challenges are minimized, that their struggles are ignored, or that their fear of failing is inevitable. After a while it just feels unrealistic.

The Solution: Take concerns seriously and acknowledge them not only at the beginning, but along the way. Let your people know you recognize the difficulty of the work and that you realize that success is not guaranteed. When your people exceed expectations, take the time to notice and celebrate their successes!

6. The Rapid Responder

The Good Intention: To address issues quickly and to lead with agility. That’s why they solve problems and make decisions on the spot so that the organization is able to move forward swiftly.

The Trouble: Their quick decisions may actually gum up the works. While they move fast, they often jump in too soon not allowing their people the chance to deal with the issues themselves costing them time in the long run.

The Solution: Slow down! Give your people more time to respond. You may even wish to implement a set waiting time for yourself. Giving your people the opportunity to deal with issues allows you more time to focus on other more important responsibilities and allows them to stretch and grow. A win-win!

7. The Always On

The Good Intention: To stir up energy and enthusiasm. After all, energy begets energy!

The Trouble: Not only are you wearing people out and taking up a whole lot of space, but after a while people are so drained by you that they stop listening.

The Solution: While you may be naturally charismatic, keep tabs on yourself – talk less and refrain from repeating yourself or going on and on about something before they tune you out. Instead listen, really listen, and get more comfortable with silence. Make space for others to speak up and share!

8. The Big Thinker

The Good Intention: To compel people to move to the next level – to strive to embrace the vision for the future!

The Trouble: You cast such a lofty vision or in such detail that your team doesn’t have the chance to buy into the vision. As a result, they end up skeptical.

The Solution: Consider asking some questions to get your team thinking in bigger ways. Allow them to be involved in dreaming and creating the strategy. You may have the “why” and “what,” but let them help you come up with the “how.”  This goes a long way towards getting buy-in and ultimately leads to an even better strategy!

9. The Rescuer

The Good Intention: You want those you lead to be successful and to ensure that they have a stellar reputation.

The Trouble: People become dependent on you because they don’t learn the skills needed because you step in and rescue, which ultimately weakens their reputation.

The Solution: Rather than immediately solving their problem for them, coach them through the process by asking powerful and open-ended questions to help draw out a solution. This takes more time, but not as much time as you might think, and it’s a much longer-term solution like teaching someone to fish versus handing them a fish.

It’s easy to spot how other leaders are affecting their teams in ways that are less than beneficial, but it’s much more difficult to spot those traits in yourself. Trust me, your people know – your team, your kids, your friends.

What changes do you need to make to genuinely love your team and lead them more effectively?

The concepts shared here have been inspired by Liz Wiseman’s ideas described in Multipliers – How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.

© Can Stock Photo / chandlervid85

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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