3 Signs You Have Developed Bad Leadership Habits

Whether you’re a young professional or a veteran leader, managing a workforce effectively starts with creating long-lasting habits. However, throughout the course of a career, some of those habits may turn into poor ones. Habitual leadership is only as good as the positive behaviors you apply to your day-to-day work life. Good habits like constant feedback and effective communication create an encouraging environment for your employees, but bad habits could cause a toxic workplace, affecting engagement, retention, and turnover. To ensure you avoid this outcome, check out these three signs you’ve developed bad leadership habits—and what to do to fix them!

Employee Productivity Has Plateaued or Dropped

When a leader has lost a step with managing their workforce it sometimes shows up through low productivity levels among employees. While there may be several reasons for the loss in production, one reason could be poor communication. According to a study by Salesforce, 86% of leaders say ineffective communication is at the heart of all productivity-related issues. Effective communication can help raise the overall quality of work and reinvigorate a workforce.

Within your organization, communication involves all aspects of proper leadership, including conveying the company’s vision, showing recognition, effectively explaining projects, giving constructive feedback, as well as having some form of clear communication policy with your employees. If productivity has plateaued or dropped, examine how effective your communication is and see if you’ve developed poor communication habits.

Your Employees Are Actively Disengaged

Another sign that a leader has developed bad habits that are negatively affecting an office is having low employee engagement or even an actively disengaged workforce. According to a 2020 Gallup study, while 38% of workers are engaged at work, 13% of employees are actively disengaged and are “those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues.” This type of individual can wreak havoc on the overall health and morale of a team. And while personal responsibility may be the case for a few disengaged workers, having several actively disengaged employees may be the cause of the leader.

When working in an office setting, it can be extremely easy to become siloed and not realize the wants and needs of employees. One bad habit that can develop in this scenario is not giving recognition when needed. According to a study, 78% of workers say that recognition motivates them at work, and by not receiving recognition, employees can lose enthusiasm and engagement in their work. If this seems to be the case at your office, look into the feedback and recognition habits you may have developed and try to start new ones that help you celebrate your employees and build them up.

There Is a Lack of Ownership Among Workers

One of the most powerful tools a leader can give an employee is autonomy. It has the ability to build strong ownership with the individual’s work and help create go-getters and loyal team members. However, if you notice employees aren’t taking ownership with their work and aren’t fully buying into the mission and vision of the company, it may be a sign that you’ve developed the bad habit of micromanaging.

According to Gallup, this type of leadership is defined by one who tells instead of asks, focuses on the “how” not the “why,” and gives feedback too late instead of giving ongoing feedback. Micromanagers want to own their employees’ work, whereas an effective leader and coach wants their employees’ to own their work. Working at breaking this bad habit is essential for cultivating a productive and engaged workforce, and it may start with building trust among your employees and allowing some level of autonomy to help build ownership.

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, don’t fret! It’s never too late to pivot and develop good leadership habits. The change begins with self-awareness and a determination to become the best you can be for your team. And as the saying goes, humans are creatures of habit. It’s up to you to choose the right habits to help you lead a team to success.

What are other signs of bad habits? How has a focus on good leadership habits affected your team? Let us know in the comments section below!


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