Do you pride yourself on leading a cohesive team? Or are there rumblings of mutiny?
Team revolt may sneak up on you unless you are alert to the factors in your own leadership that breed this.
Signs that such trouble is brewing can include team members contesting your decisions, questioning meetings, and team silos.
When team members don’t trust their leader to lead, they will discount him or her, and attempt to lead as a group (or more than one group!) instead.
Here are common poor leadership behaviors that cause this.
Poor decision-making practices.
Asking the team for input when you have already made your decision.
Getting others’ opinions when you have already made up your mind is a nasty surprise to those involved. This move will quickly diminish trust in you since your team members will spot this and feel you are disingenuous. Don’t ask unless you really want some additional perspective.
If this is you, ask yourself why you feel the need to ask others if you don’t really want to consider their opinions. Is it because you feel the need to be seen as inclusive or collegial? Show them they are valued? Come up with genuine ways to meet these needs.
Making decisions on the fly without investigating the whole picture.
Nothing says “poor decision-making” like making a decision based on a quick and partial picture. This also erodes trust and your team will be reticent to come to you with challenges, for fear you may make a hasty decision without considering all the pieces. If you find you are making decisions in this way, you are probably in chronic “fire-fighting” mode. Take a deep breath, gather the rest of the necessary information before acting.
Involving people in decision-making who don’t need to be a part of the process.
Many meetings veer off course when leaders pause to make quick decisions on an agenda item that should just involve just one or two people. You may think you are saving time, but others are held hostage while you dive into the weeds.
The result is that meetings needing just 60 minutes can last up to 3-4 hours. This is a poor allocation of scarce resources (your team and the work they really need to be doing instead of sitting in such a meeting). It says, “I don’t respect your time,” and/or “I can’t manage appropriately by having a separate meeting about this.” (For more on conducting productive meetings, see McKinsey’s article “Want a Better Decision? Plan a Better Meeting!”)
Fear of confrontation.
When a leader allows a disruptive personality or situation to fester without confronting it, others lose respect
Such behavior says, “I am not in charge, I am not in control.” This is compounded when your team members bring the situation to you as critical and ask you to fix it, since it is within your scope of responsibilities. If you fear confrontation, please get help. It may be a matter of just not knowing how. For more on this, see the article “Why You Don’t Have That Critical Conversation.”
Lack of accountability.
Are you able to make decisions and to confront situations or personalities that need your attention?
The third behavioral culprit that can cause your team members to lose respect for your leadership is that of a lack of ability to hold others accountable. Aren’t sure this is you? Reflect as to whether you have a chronic complaint about someone or something that keeps occurring, even if you have addressed it. This will steer you toward those areas or people whom you are not holding accountable.
If you find yourself making the statement, “I’ve tried time and again, but s/he persists in _______,” this is a clear indicator. Are you someone who equates holding others accountable with meting out punishment? Think again. For a great three-step process to holding others accountable, see Jonathon Raymond’s article “Do You Understand What Accountability Really Means?”
Before mutiny begins to stir on your team, reflect on these points and ask where you might make some personal improvements. The stakes to your leadership are enormous, and results from making the necessary adjustments are exponential.
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.