Being an effective leader is hard work. So hard, in fact, the majority of new leaders in the U.S. fail in doing their job every single year. But it turns out there are many things that you bring on yourself to make it harder than it should be.
Most of the time it's simple bad habits, while other times you could be unaware of them altogether. Either way, consider yourself now in the know about the signs you're being a bad leader.
1. You don't love your people.
I spent some time with one of the best managers I have ever known and when I asked him his secret to being a good manager, his answer surprised me, "All I do is love my people." Now before you get your human resources flag out, we define love in the Welder Leader Program as, "to contribute to someone's long-term success and well being."
Now you ask, in today's Millennial and soon-to-be-Gen Z workforce, is that important? Of course it is. People want their leader to play an active part in their long-term success and well-being, and that's never going to change.
2. You have time-consuming hobbies.
The reason I know this so well is because my only hobby is golf. Taking five hours off on a workday to go tee it up for yourself isn't the best thing you can show your team. Now, I am not saying you can't have hobbies or shouldn't play golf, but I am saying your people watch everything you do, whether you like it or not.
3. You view men and women differently in the workplace.
Much of our gender bias in the workplace was planted in us by prior generations, but it doesn't mean it's OK. The latest research shows only 22 percent of executive leadership positions in the U.S. are held by women, which is below the world average. Gender bias is a business issue, not a women's issue.
Whether you are a man or a woman, allowing any preconceived beliefs or stereotypes to get in the way of looking at results and holding people accountable is a huge problem.
4. You define yourself by how much you made last year.
The easiest way for anyone to define themselves is by the almighty dollar. The great Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one."
Your people won't follow you because you made a lot of money, they will follow you because you make their life better and more fulfilled.
5.You don't start your day with "What Moves the Needle."
My good friend and successful entrepreneur Mac Lackey taught me the secret to successful days lies in a small note card at the beginning of every day with the letters "WMN" on it. It stands for "What Moves the Needle." If you don't know what you can do each and every day to move the needle for your team, you will get sucked into the vortex of email, micromanagement, and putting out fires where you really aren't needed.
6.You never ask your people for feedback.
Our research of more than 20 thousand leaders has shown the number one thing leaders across the board do poorly is asking their people for feedback. Too many leaders assume they are doing a good job. If this is something you struggle with, show some vulnerability and humility and simply ask your peoples' opinion about how you can improve.
7.You don't have a mentor.
This business world is tough. To go to work every day (no matter what role you are in) without a mentor is like going into a gunfight with a knife. It's just a terrible idea. While the best mentor/mentee relationships happen organically, proactively seeking advice and guidance from people who have come before you is never a bad idea.
8.Your company doesn't invest in your development.
The modern days of online learning and self-education are here, but there is still a direct correlation in higher levels of performance when organizations are investing in leadership development. The latest research shows a 24 percent higher profit margin per employee and a 218 percent higher revenue per employee than those organizations who don't offer leadership development programs to their people.