A good leadership style is something that every entrepreneur must have in order to succeed, but identifying what that entails may not always be clear-cut for everyone. So how can you find which leadership style might be best for you? Start by taking a look at these 11 leadership styles to avoid if you want to succeed.
1. Avoid Providing Too Much Info
You look like a know-it-all. People are less likely to share their ideas, because you will just roll over them with your own “better” ideas. The Fix: Next time you have a better idea, don't just share it. Instead, invite your colleagues to build on the idea and come up with an even better solution.
2. Avoid Using "But" or "However"
These words simply mean that you don't approve. “I like your idea, but...” “I will consider what you are saying, however....” Your intention may be to try to soften the blow. But in reality you are not. Instead of jabbing a knife into their gut, you are stabbing it into their back. The Fix: Stop using those words, and don't look for another work-around to pass down your criticisms. Just stop using the words.
3. Avoid Sharing Your “Smart” Stories
If you add to discussions by sharing the smart stuff you have done, you are pointing to an inferiority complex. You feel you need to puff out your chest in order to get noticed. No one likes a bragger. The Fix: Recognize that the most successful leaders have an “air” around them. They don't need to brag and show off. They simply bring confidence to the table.
4. Avoid Communicating When Angry
Sharing your thoughts when you are angry can be dangerous. Emotions will cause outbursts and may do irreparable harm. The Fix: Remove yourself physically from a situation that makes you angry. Then give yourself a 24-hour break. (You need to get one sleep cycle in.) You will be in a better position to talk when your emotions are not dominating.
5. Avoid Withholding Helpful Knowledge
Keeping secrets that adversely affect other people's performance is another sign of an inferiority complex. And when people find out you held them back, you will lose their trust. The Fix: Ask yourself what else you can share to help others. Then share it.
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6. Avoid Failing to Recognize Individuals
This is simply another version of “all for me, none for you.” You are keeping all the credit, and others don't feel that you value them. The Fix: When a project is completed successfully, publicly recognize the individual contributions everyone made.
7. Avoid Claiming Credit You Don’t Deserve
This may be even worse than not giving credit to others. In this case, you are actually stealing it from them. Not only are you a jerk, you are a thief, too. The Fix: It is far better to give someone else credit for something you have done than the reverse.
8. Avoid Making Excuses
The buck stops with leaders. If a leader makes an excuse, they lose credibility and integrity. When Bill Clinton was president and had the Monica situation, what were your thoughts about his excuses and denials? (And I quote “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”) Kind of lost his credibility and integrity, right? Don't do the same thing. The Fix: Next time you are thinking of an excuse, instead make it a declaration of what you will permanently fix.
9. Avoid Refusing to Apologize
Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone hates someone who can't admit to their own. The Fix: Apologize quickly, apologize fully, and mention an action that you are going to take to fix – or at least improve – the situation.
10. Avoid Not Listening
This is a problem of many leaders (and something I admittedly struggle with). It is a bad problem. It says only one thing, loud and clear, to the person speaking: that you don't care. The Fix: Remove yourself from physical distractions (e.g., e-mail, crackberry, etc.), lock eyes with the person, and repeat back the stuff they tell you.
11. Avoid Punishing the Messenger.
Bad news can be reported from any source, and bad leaders attack the source. These leaders lose trust, and bad news gets pushed under the rug. The Fix: Recognize that bad news is critical to your success, because you need it in order to improve and fix problems. The next time bad news is reported to you, be extremely grateful that that person was willing to tell you.
Dancing your way through all the leadership styles that you should avoid may take some practice, but you will become a more effective leader, once you are able to do it and focus more attention on what it takes to be a great leader.
John Quincy Adams said it best, when he reminded us: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” If you fall short of that – and many entrepreneurs make the mistake of doing so – then your business will suffer.