I’ve been a leader for most of my life. I’ve led on the football field, the battlefield, in business, at home and in my church. In my younger years of leadership I thought I was the bomb. I had enough knowledge and drive to be dangerous. Looking back I have many regrets as to how I approached my role in many of the areas mentioned.
Now in my mid-forties I don’t think too highly of myself as a leader. I’d like to say it was because I’m so humble, but those who know me know that’s not the reason! I think the true reason is that I’ve realized how massive a task it is to be a strong leader and how tough it is to have enough of the good things outweigh the not-so-good things at any given time. I’ve realized how many people are affected by my strong or weak leadership and it sobers me.
Building a strong life or business will require strong leadership. Below are 9 things that I believe make a weak leader and cause others to not take you seriously. Hopefully this will help you strengthen your leadership muscles a bit!
1. No plan.
Note that I didn’t say you needed a great plan. If you think you can ‘wing’ it every time and have a strong impact you’re out of touch.
2. Not listening.
Two ears. One mouth. Do the math.
3. Relying solely on yourself.
I asked Jerry Nelson, one of the founders of Ticketmaster (and 43 other businesses) what it was that really made his businesses take off. How did he achieve so much? His reply…”I learned to get out of the way.”
4. Changing the rules.
I’ve done this more with my kids than anyone else. It makes me look stupid and unsure. I’ve been part of teams where the leaders make a plan, communicate the plan and then launch…only to change their mind a short time later because someone voiced an opinion different than what the leader had. This makes you look weak and lacking confidence.
5. Swooping in a saving the day.
Many of us Type A, take charge people tend to fly in to the rescue when things don’t go well. This communicates that you don’t trust others and prevents them from growing. Let them fail. They’ll learn more in the long run.
6. Being a dick.
There just no other way to say it. When you’re up in everyone’s face and throwing your weight around it makes you look insecure. Nobody will rally behind a bully.
7. Always having an excuse.
You know the type, instead of just saying it was a bad idea, lousy execution or ‘my bad’, they point everywhere but at themselves. I’ve found that when a leader takes it on the chin respect usually follows.
8. No grace.
Grace is a wonderful thing and we all need it.
9. Expecting others to read your mind.
By not communicating with people you’re screwing the whole thing up. No job descriptions? They need to read your mind and figure out what you want. No honest communication with your kid about how you feel or what you need for them? Break out the crystal ball and ask them to tap into that cranium of yours! Slow down and listen. Ask great questions and make sure people know where you’re coming from.
Being a strong leader will require all of us to continually look to better ourselves. We will never fully ‘arrive.’ Be humble and keep moving forward.