Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Contributor:  Process Excellence Network
Posted:  06/18/2012  12:00:00 AM EDT
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PEX leader are required to wear a variety of hats combing iimpressive technical knowledge with the ability to inspire and lead people through what can challenging circumstances. While all leaders might like to be a fusion of the visionary Steve Jobs and the Six Sigma architect Mikel Harry, it might be easier to recognize the habits that people have that make them ineffective leaders. 

Here are PEX Network’s 7 habits of highly ineffective people – emulate them at your peril!

Habit 1: Egotistical

Yes, you worked hard on a project. Yes, you're pleased with the result. But so is the rest of the team that worked with you. Giving credit where credit is due, and ensuring success is shared among workers will spark motivation and engagement, boosting productivity, and ultimately reflect better on you as a result. Ego itself can drive people to take risks and achieve, but left unchecked it makes for a highly ineffective leader.

Habit 2: Bad Temper

Some employees would be enough to try the patience of a saint, but a bad temper makes for an equally bad leader. If you're one who snaps at workers who come to you with a problem, or react badly when a minor mistake is make, it could be time for some anger management. Practice patience and education in the work place, save the bad temper for kick boxing lessons on the next away day. A good old fashioned deep breath should do the trick.

Habit 3: Poor Listener 

So, if you could talk to Peter about getting those numbers over to me by 5pm so I can send them to accounts in the morning ... oh sorry, were we talking about something else? In all seriousness, hearing and listening are two different things. A poor listener will hear the sounds of those around them, without actually listening to what they are saying. Despite what CVs say, not all employees are blessed with good communication skills, making being a good listener a highly important skill. After a conversation, take a second to think what has actually been said. If you're not sure, ask again.

Habit 4: Bully 

All too often bullying creeps into the workplace.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a task done right, getting your point across, or paying close attention to employees who are not performing.  A bully takes this one step further, often with results that are far less than desirable. Take a second to think about how it can be received by other people, then change the approach as needed.

Habit 5: Micromanager 

You wouldn't walk into a cafe and ask for coffee to be served at 127 degrees, stirred seven times clockwise with the handle positioned at a right angle to the edge of the table. So why do it in the work place? Classic signs of micromanagement include a resistance to delegating, spending too much time overseeing the work of others instead of doing your own, and seeing the small imperfections, rather than the larger picture.

Habit 6: Disorganised 

Being disorganised is not the sign of a bad leader; it is the sign of an ineffective one. Nor is being disorganised simply characterised by a messy desk and turning up three minutes late to each meeting, although neither should be encouraged.  Organisation is about planning ahead, making provisions for different possible outcomes and having a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how this will be achieved. How people do this is up to them.

A disorganised leader, defined as "lacking order or methodical arrangement or function", will not only not know something is going wrong, but be surprised with no clue how to fix it when it happens.

Habit 7: Defensive

Organisations are not dictatorships – or the most effective ones are not at least. You've taken the care to hire smart people, so don't be defensive or surprised if they seek to enquire about your decisions or suggest an alternative.  Defensive leaders assume people are incapable of leading themselves and must be managed at all stages. 

Yes, everyone likes to think they're always right, but a good leader should recognise this is not always the case and work with the skills and vision of others.

Process Excellence Network Contributor:   Process Excellence Network


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