For the past 10 months, organizations everywhere have had to grapple with an important question: How do we lead our employees better in the pandemic era?
I've spoken with countless successful executives to tap into their top leadership strategies. For example, make sure to:
While these examples display good leadership in uncertain times, we cannot neglect the other side of the coin -- the leadership practices and behaviors that may be having a negative effect on your workforce, making tense and stressful times unbearable.
To that end, here are seven negative management habits to pay attention to:
1. Neglecting the career growth of employees
According to a new study from online scheduling platform Doodle, 49 percent of employees don't feel like they're getting enough training, coaching, or mentoring to advance their careers. On top of that, 50 percent of employees said their careers have stalled or even regressed. Organizations need to bring mentorship and career development to the forefront of their corporate strategy, mission, values, and culture.
2. Lacking respect for employees
In a recent poll conducted by ResumeLab on what makes someone a terrible manager, it was found that an alarming 72 percent of the surveyed population was treated in a rude or disrespectful manner by a bad boss and 90 percent didn't like that kind of treatment. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of respondents were criticized in front of their peers, and 83 percent of them felt bad about it. Finally, and perhaps the worst case of all, an eye-popping 42 percent of toxic bosses blamed others for their failures, which 84 percent of employees feel is unfair.
3. Treating people like worker bees
Many workers in a crisis are forced to serve the wishes of a stressed-out, top-down hierarchy in order to drive the bottom line and make shareholders happy. There is typically little regard for employees' happiness or well-being, which is the opposite of what you want these days. Consequently, people's personal or family lives are sacrificed for the job because overwork is common. As a result, you'll encounter high levels of stress, burnout, and ultimately, employee turnover.
4. Failing to put people first
While many HR execs have cut back on employee benefits and decreased wages, other top leaders I've spoken with are taking an alternative approach in response to the pandemic by continuing to invest in their people. Because when you take care of your people, they'll take care of your customers. And the rest will fall in line.
5. Inability to communicate well
In my work coaching leaders, communication issues are common. Too much of it, not enough of it, wrong messages being sent. Whatever form it comes in, poor communication can affect work morale, disengage your employees, and dissatisfy your customers. Whatever the case, one thing should be crystal clear: Communication, whether interpersonal or organizational, is a necessity for success.
6. Commanding instead of influencing
Leaders must remind themselves that leadership is not dictating, commanding, or imposing. It is being of service to others--employees first, customers second. Influence means empowering others to achieve their goals, bringing out the best in people, putting their needs ahead of your own (as a leader), and helping them develop. The behaviors that lead to influence point back to character. It is who you are, not what you do. It is a choice, not a prescribed process or to-do list.
7. Lacking integrity in decision-making
When questionable decisions for financial gain or personal benefit are made, employees know. And if they know, you've already lost the battle for respect. But if you lead by example and show integrity in your decision-making, it says a lot about you -- the person. Who you are as a person in relation to others will ultimately determine your level of success.