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4 Ways to Mold Yourself into the World’s Most Ineffective Leader

1335583_42968226.jpgThis week, I am going off topic a bit to talk about leadership (which is indirectly related to e-learning, and more related to learning as a whole).

Question: do you know the number one criteria for career advancement in America?  Tenure.  Yep, park your rear in a chair long enough and someone is bound to promote you eventually.  The problem with this strategy is that leadership, unlike fine wine, does not get better with age.

Now, before you all break out the pitch forks and other sharp, spiky type items, let me explain what I mean by that.

Leadership is not just some organic human trait that we develop over the years.  It is a skill that few are born with and most are forced to learn and sharpen over time.  Good leaders know this.  They know what it takes to build the respect and admiration of their team and they are willing to do the work.  They realize that their team is a reflection of their own abilities and they realize that leadership is a privilege rather than a right.

Bad, or ineffective leaders are often stumped by this simple truth.

Why does this matter?  A few reasons.  Let’s break it down like this.  First,  ineffective leaders lead to dissatisfied employees.  Dissatisfied employees lead to high turnover rates.  High turnover rates skyrocket training and HR costs and significantly impact the bottom line.  Get the picture?

So today we are going to look at what not to do.  The don’ts rather than the dos.  Why are we taking this approach?  Because knowing what not to do is often every bit as valuable as knowing the perfect first step for your next move.

Here is my list of the 4 Ways to Mold Yourself into the World’s Most Ineffective Leader (don’t try this at home):

1.  Don’t Educate Yourself

Want the quickest path to irritating your fellow employees?  Keep yourself in the dark.  Don’t take the time to expand your knowledge base or increase your understanding of anything what so ever.  That old saying “Ignorance is Bliss?”  Embrace it and make it your new mantra.

Good leaders?  Good leaders are always learning.  They are always improving, be it themselves or their performance.  To be standing still is to be moving backwards, and that is something that none of us want to face, much less in our leadership.  So if you want to grow and thrive as a leader your first, last and most consistent project should be the one who stares back it you in the mirror each and every day.

1084232_46710753.jpg2. Don’t Listen

Imagine how it would feel to tell your boss something extremely important only to have them forget it or ignore it or even discount it.  Then imagine having them blame you for the fallout from their decision or lack there of.  Feel the frustration!  It doesn’t take much of this type of behavior to have even the best employees inching towards the door.  In other words, those striving for mediocrity should definitely take this one to heart.

There is also a lesson for those of us who try to set the bar a bit higher.  Listen.  Close your mouth, open your ears and at least start with an open mind.  You will be amazed at what you’ll learn and at the positive reaction from those around you.  People like to feel like they matter, and simply stopping to listen is one of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this.

3. Don’t Invest in Your Team

What’s the point of taking the time to know your team?  Who cares about their strengths?  Their weaknesses?  Who cares about their own dreams and ambitions?  Why does any of this even matter?

It matters if you want to be effective.  Leadership is a bit like chess.  Knowing your pieces, knowing their strengths and weakness is the only way to plan an effective strategy and your only hope of winning the game.  So invest the time.  Do what it takes to get to know your people and figure out the best way to leverage the strength of your team.  Doing so will lead to a synergistic effect and to success as a team that could not be achieved by the individual.

Not doing so will lead to the mediocrity that we all love so much.

1357609_27010502.jpg4. Don’t Know Your Job

Let me tell you something.  There is nothing more frustrating than a leader who has no idea what they are doing.  Better yet, one that has no idea of their own roll much less the rolls of those around them.  It’s enough to send even the calmest of us running towards the nearest wall just to bash our heads against it.

Effective leaders?  They know their role.  Not only that, but they also know and can perform most, if not all, of the roles of those around them.   They are an integral part of the team rather than a symbolic figure head that does nothing more than stand at the front of the ship.  In fact, they often prefer the drivers seat to the bow.

So now I ask you this.  Who do you want to be?  The person in control of the ship?  Or the one hanging off the front, helpless as it crashes into something cold and horrible.

Your choice.

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