There are five leadership practices we have observed that reduce motivation and engagement in teams, decrease creativity and innovation and create silos. These are examples of lazy leadership.
We are labeling them lazy leadership practices because they are faster, easier and may achieve short term results. However, their ongoing practice creates long-term loss. There is loss of the powerful productivity that comes from full engagement. There is loss of team member’s learning and growth. There is loss of insight and opportunity that comes from not being open to input and new ideas.
Don’t lose out. Stop these ineffective, lazy leadership practices:
- FLOODED INBOX – CC:ing everyone, all the time, about everything, is a lazy leadership practice. While it’s fabulous to be transparent and facilitate the free flow of information, jamming inboxes with CC’d messages teaches people to ignore their email. A better alternative is to be thoughtful about what needs to be communicated and who needs the information. When crafting an email message ask yourself, “what is my intended outcome and impact?”
- LACK OF CONTEXT – Sharing just the facts. Expecting others to connect the dots and make sense out of a set of facts is a lazy leadership practice. Leaders have a different vantage point and often know a whole lot more than the team. A leader’s job is to make meaning. It’s essential to provide connection between the facts. For example, explain how changes connect to accomplishing your strategy and living out your values. One of the ways that leaders can improve this practice is to clearly define why a meeting is being held, what needs accomplished and the value each attendee can contribute, as part of the meeting invitation.
- KNOWING THE ANSWERS – Telling everyone what to do eliminates creativity, free flow of information and new insights. Increase the number of questions asked versus the number of instructions you tell people, in order to gather the team’s input. Knowing the answer and telling people what to do seems more efficient, but it’s deadly in the long term. Team members stop thinking for themselves and build reliance on a leader versus using their own brilliance.
- ALWAYS BEING RIGHT – Many people suffer from the need to “be right.” A clear sign of this is sacrificing relationships in service of being right. Unfortunately, assumptions made and mis-aligned context can cloud our ability to build the relationships needed to engage the hearts and minds of the team.
- OUTPERFORMING THE TEAM – most leaders have energy that far exceeds their team member’s. They are constantly reaching for improvements, opportunities and shiny objects, which mean massive change. Many team members can feel pressured by the pace or overwhelmed by the change. This is called change saturation and leads to dysfunction in the organization. Leaders need to understand their impact, measure their pace and use their energy in ways that do not exhaust or diminish the team.
Although many people operate out of a position or place of power, we believe that leadership is a practice; it is behaviors that a person does (or doesn’t do!)
Consider the impact of your behavior on your team and ask whether you are inspiring and motivating greatness or grumbling.