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How To Avoid Out-of-Step Leadership
The uncertainty and turbulence brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has led many of us to think deeply about the values we hold dear. We were forced to reevaluate ourselves, our businesses, and our leadership. Throughout the pandemic, we found that good leaders rose to the occasion, gracefully navigating economic hardship and bureaucratic turbulence with calm and poise. When unsure leaders found themselves having to manage unfamiliar situations, their shortcomings became ever more pronounced. As the economy regains its footing and the pandemic simmers, its important to remember what separated strong leaders from a weak leaders when everything hit the fan.
Here are three traits commonly shared by poor managers:
- Micromanaging. Working for a micromanager is difficult at the best of times, and can be unbearable in a remote setting. Micromanagers do not trust their teams to do the right thing. Lack of trust leads managers to scrutinize each team member’s every move. In response, team members will hyper focus on miniscule details, while allocating little or no attention to the bigger picture. Cortisol levels spike and creativity becomes stifled, the reverse of what’s needed from an adaptive enterprise.
- Poor communication. Prior to the pandemic, employees were told about large scale plans on a need-to-know basis. For better or worse, the office grapevine took care of the rest. Those sorts of policies were quickly eroded by the sudden free fall of the world economy. With corporate plans in a tailspin and employees on the verge of mass panic, leaders were forced to accept a higher degree of transparency within their organizations. Adept leaders embraced this radical restructuring and encouraged two-way conversations with their teams, even if it meant dealing with increased backlash.
- Lack of willingness to learn. As professionals, we’re constantly adapting, and no one — not even the top brass — has all the answers. Many leaders are accustomed to being viewed as the ultimate authority on all business matters, but with how quickly the world has changed, that is not necessarily the case anymore. Poor leaders are unwilling to let this time-tested façade fall by the wayside, and their reluctance to do so reveals a critical weakness. By failing to acknowledge the need for new modes of thinking, these leaders reveal themselves as antiquated traditionalists,
The pandemic has given us a new perspective on what it means to be a great leader. It also better defined what it means to be a poor leader. Choose your next moves wisely!
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