Poor leadership habits and traits can negatively impact your team, your guests, and your bottom line.

Great leaders often share many of the same characteristics and habits, and there’s no shortage of lists of personality and leadership traits that we can all strive to develop. But sometimes, those tricky bad habits can sneak into our behaviors and hinder our ability to be the best bosses or teammates. But they’re not always easy to recognize.

That’s why we put together this quick list of 10 things great leaders never do to help you identify any derailing behaviors that are keeping you from being the leader you want to be.

No. 1: They don’t put things off.

Great leaders understand the value of making priorities and sticking with them. Procrastination can significantly impact team productivity, so the best bosses don’t avoid difficult conversations or important projects. They are effective at time management and prioritization.

You probably have a lot more to do than you have time for in a day. When deciding what to work on, assess the urgency and importance of everything on your list. Once you know what’s most urgent and important, focus your efforts on the highest and best use of your time, assign what can be automated or delegated, and minimize tasks and activities that don’t add value to the team or business.

No. 2: They don’t provide vague or unclear goals.

Without clear goals, you have no idea if you’re successful or not. Prioritizing projects gives you clear objectives for what needs to be done. Setting SMART goals for yourself and your team can help everyone work on the things that matter most and understand what’s expected of them.

Work with your teams to create goals and objectives for your business annually, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly or daily (in shift meetings). Provide opportunities for team members to share what they believe will help move the business forward and work together to establish key department initiatives or individual goals.

No. 3: They don’t make empty promises.

Few things break down trust more than a leader who doesn’t do what they say they will. Make sure that you keep up with the promises you make to the team. At the end of every meeting or interaction, jot down any action items you or someone else needs to take with a deadline for completion. This will provide accountability and ensure that projects move forward.

No. 4: They don’t withhold growth opportunities.

Managers who don’t give their team members chances to grow make their jobs more difficult. Effective delegation is an essential skill you’ll need to scale your business or free up time to plan for the future.

Delegation doesn’t mean pushing all the work off onto others. Instead, it means that you provide opportunities for team members to learn a new skill or take on more responsibility. When offered correctly, these opportunities can go a long way to building trust and teamwork among your staff, thus helping drive engagement and job satisfaction. New to delegation? Read these do’s and don’ts.

No. 5: They don’t make assumptions.

Great leaders actively listen to their teams without assuming that they already have the answer. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt and work with their staff rather than against them. When presented with an issue, be sure that you take the time to listen and understand a problem fully before you take action. When team members don’t feel heard and respected, engagement and morale suffer.

No. 6: They don’t believe they know everything.

Do you feel like you’re always right? Do you feel like there’s only one way to solve a problem or perform a task? If you said, “yes,” there’s a chance you’re hindering your team’s best work. Keep in mind that there’s more than one way to storm a castle. Hire the right people and trust that they have valuable ideas and input. Listen to their ideas so that you can determine the best way to approach a task or situation together. That doesn’t mean that you need to lead by committee. But if you have faith in your team’s ability to perform their roles, and you provide adequate training and coaching, then you should feel confident that they’ll act in your business’s best interests.

Creativity is an essential trait that many high performers possess, and it might make the difference between your business being average or extraordinary. Allow your teams to get creative when interacting with guests or tackling projects. Encourage them to find unique ways to boost guest experience and empower them to solve problems independently. Foster creativity, and you’ll be amazed at what your team can accomplish together and how rich your guest experience becomes.

No. 7: They don’t behave badly.

Managing people is a whole lot harder than it looks. There are most likely times when you feel frustrated, angry, or stressed that you’ve had to explain the same thing to someone for what seems like the hundredth time. But, great leaders don’t behave in unbecoming ways, and that includes being passive-aggressive. Instead, give clear direction and mentor your staff where they need it most. Sarcasm, belittling, condescension, and anything other than respectful, honest coaching is counterproductive and causes resentment.

No. 8: They don’t play favorites.

You might like some people more than others, but avoid showing favoritism among your team. Beware of creating cliques, engaging in gossip, or saving the best projects for a select few. Give ample opportunity for staff to learn and take on more responsibility. If you can’t yet trust someone to take on more, share the necessary actions they need to take to get to the next level and help them get there. Great leaders focus on raising the entire team rather than just focusing on the best performers.

No. 9: They don’t ignore poor behavior.

Nothing reduces morale among high performers like witnessing a leader who allows poor performance. Bottom line, it’s critical that you address derailing behaviors with team members as they happen, rather than letting poor performance continue. Of course, it should go without mentioning that individual coaching sessions should take place privately to maintain the team member’s dignity.

No. 10: They don’t take their teams for granted.

Great leaders say thank you and show their sincere appreciation to the people who make magic every day. Recognition goes a long way to boosting morale and driving engagement. In a recent employee engagement article, 69% of employees surveyed said they would work harder if they felt more appreciated. Showing respect, listening with empathy, and learning what drives each team member helps you lead them in the best possible ways.

The fact that you’ve read this article means you care about being the best leader possible. That’s the biggest part! Good luck!

Have a leadership tip or story? Share it with us in the comments or on Twitter.


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