Here you are. You’ve worked early mornings and late nights, nailed that first promotion and then the second, and now you’re sitting behind an oak desk with a gold nameplate and a team of workers at your beck and call. You’re the leader, but are you a good one?
Leadership isn’t a skill we’re all born with – sometimes, it must be learned. And yet, great leadership skills are essential to the efficiency of businesses and the morale of the staff. Ask yourself. Do your subordinates respect you as a leader? Do they admire you? Are you approachable, fair and open? Here are a few of the top complaints about poor leaders and our tips to ensure you don’t become one.
My boss is controlling.
A controlling leader makes all the decisions, no one else’s opinion matters and input from the staff is never heard. Overcome it by holding a meeting once a week specifically for comments, concerns or suggestions. Think your staff might feel uncomfortable speaking up in front of the group? Leave a comments box in the break room or bathroom where others can quietly slip in their thoughts. Still not getting any feedback? Switch a solid box for a clear one and secretly add a few comments of your own. If your staff sees messages already inside, they may feel more confident leaving some, too.
My boss is defensive – they take everything personally.
A defensive leader challenges every challenge. They refuse to listen to issues because they can’t admit when something is wrong. Overcome it by starting your day with a motto: I will put my pride aside. Write it on a sticky note and stick it on your computer screen, your work folder or the back of your phone. The next time someone brings up a concern, repeat your motto before answering; I will put my pride aside. Commit to never letting your personal feelings get in the way of progress.
My boss is never satisfied.
An unsatisfied leader doesn’t care how large the win is – they’re always asking “What’s next?” Overcome it by taking time to celebrate your staff’s achievements. Did you close a big contract or meet your monthly sales goals? Buy a cake and some balloons and give your team a well-earned break. It will boost their spirits and make them more eager to hit the next milestone.
My boss sits behind their desk playing games all day.
A lazy boss expects others to pull all the weight and contributes nothing themselves. Overcome it with the phrase, “How can I help?” Say it as often as you can, and don’t let the size of the task deter you; no leader is too great to help file paperwork or run to the post office. Not only will your staff
appreciate the help, but you may learn a thing or two about the inner workings of your office.
My boss is afraid of change.
A stuck leader loves routine and structure – so much so that they can’t move forward. Overcome it by imagining what it will be like when things go right, not what could go wrong. Each opportunity for change may seem frightening, but you must set those fears aside if you want to succeed. For instance, does the company need to update their computer software? Think positively. New computer software may be hard to learn at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll be able to process data twice as fast and your company will gain efficiency.
My boss is nice – a little too nice.
A fearful boss is afraid to hurt others’ feelings and wants to please everyone. While their intentions may be good, a strong leader has to put their foot down from time to time – everyone can’t always get their way. Overcome it by listening to both sides of an issue, then making the final decision alone in your office. Solitude may bring the clarity you need to make the right choice and will remove the influential sight of your staff’s expectant faces.