I have recently read an incredible book: The Inspiring Leader by Zenger and Folkman. If you are a leader – or aspiring to be one – this is a book worth reading. One chapter which captivated me was on on the most common mistakes a leader makes when trying to inspire others. These ‘top 10’ behaviors represent the most common failure points of leaders lacking that inspirational edge. Some are obvious – others may give you pause:
1. They lack energy or enthusiasm.
2. They avoid setting challenging goals or objectives.
3. They rarely provide clarity of direction or purpose.
4. They have no plan for personal development.
5. They provide no mentoring.
6. They withhold critical information.
7. They say one thing and do another.
8. They encourage conflict and competition with other groups, individuals, and organizations.
9. They have little or no interest in ideas or input from their direct reports.
10. They rarely provide feedback on performance.
Frankly, I have experienced every single one of these 10 from various leaders in my career – and found numbers 6,7, and 8 especially predominant when the pressure cooker’s heat was on high. We need to all pay attention to our tendencies to resort to these behaviors and realize that the person most hurt from these actions is the leader. We need to each take a moment (or two) to self-reflect, and if we see ourselves falling into these patterns – take issue with ourselves! We can all improve – and Zenger-Folkman’s book is a great starting point to learn how!