What you didn’t know about leadership?

Do you dislike your job? Do you dread your morning alarm, that shrill herald of the day’s drudgery? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority: an astonishing 80 percent of American workers report being disengaged or dissatisfied with their job. What’s the reason behind this depressing statistic?

One of the biggest factors is bad leaders. No one wants to face day after day of being led by someone who neither listens, extends trust nor thinks there’s more than one way to do things.

There has to be a better way to lead, right? Well, there is. Leaders can not only help employees manage the nine-to-five; they can inspire them to solve problems and reach new levels of success and work satisfaction described in the book, What You Don’t Know about Leadership, But Probably Should by Jeffrey A. Kottler.

If you’ve been working long enough, it’s only a matter of time before you end up with a bad boss. But have you ever asked yourself what it is that makes some people so bad at leading effectively?

One trait common to bad bosses is that they believe they know everything. Great leaders, in contrast, know that, especially in today’s chaotic, fast-changing environment, it’s impossible to know it all.

Universities and hospitals, as well as pharmaceutical and technology companies, are all favoring participatory leadership, which brings employees from every level into the decision-making process. Rather than adhering to the traditional model of having everyone obey orders passed down from on high, these organizations are implementing more democratic and collaborative structures.

Appropriately enough, the author has found that it’s within these democratically-run organizations that know-it-all leaders are most resented.

Doctors, professors, software engineers and scientists lodge the most complaints about bosses who stick their noses in their work. So a good leader isn’t one who barks orders or thinks they have all the right answers. A good boss knows when to stand back and trust that their staff has what it takes to make decisions and do the job they’ve been hired to do.

All good leaders know that good teamwork requires clear communication between team members. And many recent studies have shown that mobile phones can prevent your team from achieving the quality communication it needs to succeed.

One such study found that the mere presence of a phone – whether it’s resting on the table or in a person’s hand – can adversely affect the way people interact during a meeting, even if the phone is switched off! According to the researchers, the presence of a phone made people more likely to keep discussions light and focused on non-controversial or insignificant topics. Not only that, but a visible phone also reduced feelings of empathy between the participants.

So, if you want to hold meaningful meetings and honest discussions, you should take control and make your conference room a phone-free zone.

You can either be up-front about your policy, requesting that all team members come to the meeting “naked” – that is, without any devices. Or, if that doesn’t work, you can bring out a basket at the start of each meeting and collect everyone’s phone. If you go this route, it’s good to remind people ahead of time to bring pen and paper, in case anyone uses their device to take notes.

It’s also advised that leaders keep their phones out of sight when they’re in a negotiation situation. Researchers have found that, when leaders paid attention to their devices during important negotiations, they were seen as less trustworthy by their counterparts in the discussion.

Over a relatively short period of time, we’ve experienced profound changes in our everyday technology. Today’s smartphones are just as powerful as room-sized computers were a few decades ago.

And these technological breakthroughs have come with tremendous advantages, but they’ve also brought significant stress to leaders who are now expected to react to situations with a speed that previous generations would have found absurd.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial that effective leaders stay cool under pressure, even if they might be panicking on the inside. Fortunately, there are ways for leaders to lessen the amount of stress they’re experiencing.

One of the best things a leader can do is remember that many factors are out of their control, and that it’s futile to spend time and energy wrestling with things that can’t be controlled. So keep in mind that how others react, how the economy is performing and whatever happened in the past are all beyond your influence.

Whenever you find yourself obsessing over something, take a mental step back and be honest about whether you can truly do anything about the situation.

It can be difficult not to worry about certain things, even if you know those worries are of little help. So try to keep a healthy perspective and remember that life is short, and it would be a shame to spend too much of it fretting about things that you simply can’t alter.

Great leaders take charge of their own life, habits and behavior. The keys to effective and successful leadership include being honest about your limitations, exhibiting self-confidence and creating strong bonds of trust. With these attributes in mind, today’s leaders can take their team to new levels of success.

Check out my related post: Why wolves make better team players?

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4 thoughts on “What you didn’t know about leadership?

  1. Good insights on this post.

    I like the Captain Picard model of leadership. He would invite his staff for input, but in the end he would make the final decision.

    Suggestion–I would have broken this into two posts, one on the #1 trait of a bad leader and another on cell phone distractions.

    Liked by 1 person

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