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Seven Leadership Mistakes That Deplete The Energy Of Teams

Seven Leadership Mistakes That Deplete The Energy Of Teams

Over the last six months I have had the opportunity to sit down personally with a number of respected CEO’s and CMO’s to discuss their individual approach to successful leadership.

What has been common throughout the conversations is a consistent message of the absolute necessity to be aware of the impact that the energy of a leader can have on organisational energy. It led me to reflect on my own leadership mistakes and those I have observed throughout my career. I share these with you below with some ideas to get back on track as soon as you sense a little familiarity.

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1. Forgetting to fuel your own energy levels first.

Being the boss is a tough gig. It’s not unusual to find that this means putting yourself last. And while well intended it can leave you drained. Energy is contagious, both in the positive and negative sense. So, if you aren’t energized or able to manage your energy well, how can you expect to lead with energy? Tony Schwartz talks about the importance of managing your energy, not your time and ensuring that our four energy systems – the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are each looked after in their own way.

2. Not setting a team vision.

This is the difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivating people is exhausting. Inspire your team behind a goal that is bigger than the individual, clearly define success and you will unleash energy in your team you never knew existed. And, without any additional energy required from you. Once the goal is set, let your team take responsibility for how it is achieved and get out of the way.

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3. Being inconsistent.

As a leader it is your job to be aware of your energy levels and create a consistent experience of your leadership. Extreme highs and lows in energy will leave a lasting impact on your team. If you are experiencing either, and you are unable to control it, remove yourself from the situation until you can.

4. Not scheduling recovery time.

The impact of corporate burnout can be wide ranging and destructive. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries. Role model down time and insist your team schedule it for themselves too. A depleted team member can impact the energy of the whole team, so make the call and give them permission to take the day off rather than affect everyone. Remember to be consistent about this too.

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5. Conflict between individual contribution and team KPIs.

It is important to make sure your team are rewarded for directing their energy in the right direction. Common sense right? That is until you add the normal complexity that exists in traditional organisations and suddenly you find you have conflicting and often competitive goals. Check that your performance incentives are actually driving the right behaviors. And if your team is working with another team adopt shared goals to create a bigger impact together.

6. Forgetting about the small moments.

Creating the big rah rah of a team workshop is great. Until you walk in the next day and don’t say ‘Hello’ or chose to send an email to a person meters away from you destroying all the great energy you built up. Get up off your ass and have a proper chat, every single day. Or FaceTime is good too.

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7. Try to fix and manage people vs enabling and leading them.

It is not a true leadership responsibility to fix people. It’s the old adage that you can impart all the knowledge in the world to someone, but if they don’t want to change, they won’t. Enable them with tools, knowledge, experience and they’ll take responsibility themselves. Read more on this here.

While the mistakes above are common, with small changes they are also easy to overcome. Regularly checking in with yourself and your team to make sure that bad habits aren’t allowed to creep in is the first step to becoming an energized leader.

Featured photo credit: Jeff Sturges via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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