No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some Leadership Don'ts

There's a lot of great advice out there that tells leaders how to lead. We don't spend as much time pointing out the land-mines. So here are a few things to put on your leadership "To Don't" list.

1. Don't use your position for your own advantage. If you have authority to approve expenses. it's tempting to give yourself a better hotel room or meals. Or you may want to expedite work for someone that you'd like to see socially. Don't do it; even if it never gets out, it compromises your leadership by diluting your motivations.

2. Don't use your power to make others feel smaller. That's a scarcity mentality, the belief that there isn't enough to go around so for you to get what you want, others have to get less. Scarcity thinking is false; it's loser thinking. When you use your position to put others in their place, you really define yourself as a small person, and your current position will be as far as you get.

3. Don't work less hard than your team. If your goal was to work less, you shouldn't have gotten into leadership. Your effort should never, ever be the limiting factor for your team.

4. Don't set an impossible example. No one is going to want to be like you if it means staying at the office until 7:00 at night, crunching through e-mails on Saturday afternoons, and never taking a vacation. Part of leadership is modeling, and one of the things you need to model is how to balance your job with a normal life. Society is built as much at home and in the community as it is in your organization.

Of course, there are hundreds of ways for leaders to mess up, but a lot of them are somehow related to these four. They're common because they're rooted in human nature. So while you're working on becoming a better leader, put these four things off-limits.

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