The 3 Worst Habits of Clueless Leaders
April 19, 2015

The 3 Worst Habits of Clueless Leaders

by Brian de Haaff

I worked for a guy who thought of employees as squirrels. I know, because he told a reporter that he often needed to drop into the office “wildfire” to pick them up and save them from being burned alive. Seriously, I could not make this up. The newspaper ran the story.

There is no perfect leader, but most of us who are managers do think we are strong bosses anyway. I do my best as the CEO of Aha! (which is product roadmap software), but know that I am not always great.

Okay, so maybe you picked up some rodent-inspired views and bad habits that cause your team some grief from time to time. What’s the big deal?

If this is the way you operate, your bad habits may be harming your employees more than you think. A Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults found that that at some point during their careers, one in two had left a job just to get away from their manager.

Think for a moment how your employees respond. Does the mood change when you walk in the door? Are they receptive to you, or do they seem frustrated? These may be signs that your employees are less than enthusiastic — and that your poor leadership may be taking its toll on team morale.

Clearly, your bad leadership habits affect more than just you. You may think your imperfections are yours to own, but they negatively affect everyone on your team.

Here are three of the worst habits you should kick to the curb before it’s too late.

Expecting the impossible Are you being reasonable in your requests? For example, you’ve asked your employees to complete a project by a certain time, and then you keep them in a meeting right up to their deadline. Or do you expect a result without sharing the tools or a plan to get there. Think, “Am I giving my employees the tools they need to succeed?”

Changing direction on a whim You may think that because you’re in charge, you can change directions midstream in the project. I’m not saying that you should never reevaluate the course that you have set. However, being unpredictable causes confusion. You also waste your employees’ time and your money when you suddenly change your mind. Strong leaders know where they’re headed before they set out, and they carefully consider the cost before making an about-face.

Not respecting employees’ time We work hard at Aha!, but we also believe we should strive for sustainable happiness. That means making sure we allow everyone time to be successful at work and at home. When you run roughshod over your employees’ time and expect them to be available at your beck and call, you show a lack of respect for them. Your employees will be happier when you show that you care about their time too.

You have a responsibility to your employees to be the best leader that you can be. That means identifying barriers that inhibit their growth, even if those barriers involve you.

Without your employees, you won’t have much of a business to run. If you want to keep your employees from hitting the road, you need to make a conscious effort to eliminate bad leadership habits that are roadblocks to their success.

Your employees will appreciate your effort toward creating a saner workplace, and respond with gratitude instead of frustration.

Do you agree that these are three nasty habits?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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