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3 Things All Ineffective Leaders Have in Common

As a leader, wouldn't it be great if someone were to just tell you what NOT to do?

Naturally, this was a question I've always wondered...what am I doing that's getting in the way of me being effective as a leader?

I knew what I was "supposed" to do and be as a leader.

Yes, all leaders should serve their team.  John Maxwell says, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Like you, I've heard all the aphorisms around leadership.  But you know what?

I've never heard anyone talk about these three pitfalls that all ineffective leaders have in common.

Even strong leaders fall into these three human tendencies.  

The beautiful thing is that because these aren't talked about, you might not even be aware you're doing this. 

And that's what's so great because once you do become self-aware you can start to choose a different more effective approach. 

In this video, we'll discuss the three most common pitfalls many leaders fall into as they lead.  You'll learn how to...

  1. Improve your leadership presence with your team
  2. Increase your ability to create opportunities from every perceived challenge
  3. Open yourself up to greater possibilities within yourself, your team, and your business.

Check this out --> HBR Article: The Feedback Fallacy

While we're on the topic of maximizing who you are as a leader, have you checked out this Executive Morning Plan?


3 Things All Ineffective Leaders Have in Common

Transcript - February 27, 2020

So what do you do when you're leading and nobody's following?

There are three things that all ineffective leaders do that are preventing them from fully showing up as a powerful leader that has influence with their team.

So let's get right into them here.

So the first one: the first ineffective thing that leaders do is they make incorrect interpretations.

What's an interpretation?  An interpretation is whenever we create a story around something that just occurred.

Quick example.

As a leader of a sales team, there was a time when I remember communicating with my team about updating the CRM more regularly.

This is what we need, this is what needs to be done. Several weeks go by and the CRM is not getting updated.  Very few people are getting in and updating it.

So, back then I remember creating a story around what was happening. I made an incorrect interpretation of what was going on. 

My team just must not be committed to this process. They must not be committed or really care about their job. If we can't get this simple thing done, how the heck do we think we're gonna hit sales quota?

That's the stuff going on in my mind.

And then maybe even I internalize a little bit thinking well, maybe it's me, maybe I'm not doing a good enough job as a leader.

Or maybe they don't respect me and I continued to just piled on.  We can create one heck of a story, right?

I made a huge, incorrect interpretation because come to find out, the CRM wasn't working! Three out of five times you couldn't log in. And when you did log in, you click save, and it wouldn't save, there were all these issues.

And once I got curious and actually sat down with one of my sales individuals, right away, I quickly saw that it was none of what I was telling myself.

And that's what I mean by incorrect interpretations. It's a story we create around a situation without any proof that it's even true.

It's a self-fabricated story. These are incorrect interpretations.

So the second thing most ineffective leaders do is they get hung up making unhelpful assumptions. What's an assumption?

An assumption is when you recall a past event--maybe it was a past perceived failure, something that didn't go well--and you make the assumption that it's always going to be that way and so why try to do it again.

Why give this individual another opportunity to have the ball because last time he had the ball, he dropped it so he can't be trusted.

It's an assumption, and they're unhelpful because when you make an assumption as a leader like that, where you look to the past and just think that well, the past is going to repeat itself so don't go there.

You know, there are definitely lessons to be learned from past mistakes and there are definitely lessons to be learned. But I'm willing to bet that three years ago, and fast forward to today, you are not the same person, you don't have the same business. Heck, you probably don't have the same value proposition. There are probably new things you're offering clients, there's probably a new level of maturity for you or a new level of experience overall.

And what leads you to believe that you're going to have the same outcome that you had three to five years ago, given who you are today and what you know, today?

Trust your gut, trust your intuition, and let go of some of the assumptions. Yeah, pay attention to maybe some areas you want to be mindful of but don't lock yourself into that fixed mindset.

I'm going to get a little passionate here when it comes to other people. When you make assumptions about the people on your team you put a lid on their potential.

Therefore, you're putting a lid on your potential and you're putting a lid on your organization and your team's potential.

Give people the opportunity to rise, give people the opportunity to try again, to learn from their past and bring that into the future.

Because that's exactly what we all do when making assumptions and that's why they aren't really that helpful.

So the third thing ineffective leaders have in common is they get caught up in flinging judgments.

And what do I mean by judgments?

What I don't mean by judgments is there are judgments and there's discernment.

All leaders must have good discernment, to be able to see clearly and make good decisions.

Leaders need to be able to make the best decisions they can at any given point in time and move forward.

That's discernment.

When I say flinging judgments, I'm talking about when leaders flippantly label things as good, bad, right, or wrong. Or they throw a label on a situation or on an individual like he's not organized, she's not persuasive, he's not a good communicator, he just doesn't have leadership presence.

These are labels and half the time they're not helpful. So what good does it do to label something good or bad?

Like, what good is it to sit around and look at what's right or wrong? That's not what we really want to do. We want to move forward, right?

We want to create opportunities. So as soon as we're locked into judgments, we put ourselves in a conflict mindset. There's this win-lose proposition something is either good, bad, right, wrong.

I'm right, you're wrong. This is black and white.

And whenever you see things as black and white in any shape or form, you close yourself off to connecting with other people. You close yourself off to creativity, intuition, and finding ways to use whatever's happening as an opportunity to move forward.

There's always an opportunity to learn something, so what if there was no such thing as failure, challenges, or problems?

There are only opportunities and learnings because when you step away from the judgment, there is no good, there is no bad, it's only what is... and this opens up a whole realm of possibilities of where do we go from here? How do we grow from here? What do we want to do next? What's the result we desire to create next?

The last piece here is when ineffective leaders place judgments on someone on their team.  Like you're disorganized, you're not a good communicator, you're not persuasive.

They say to someone, "you need to work on your persuasion skills." They give feedback.

There is a great Harvard Business Review article on feedback by the way that shows how ineffective it is and what to do instead. I'm going to put it down in the notes.

There are a lot of myths around feedback and how it's actually not very helpful.

Real learning comes from within and so as leaders if we're just giving people feedback and telling them what they need to work on, then they may or may not own that.

And our task as a leader, as a coach, as a manager is to get our team to own their next step and to have buy-in on what it is that they want to do to move forward.

And so asking more questions and digging in, rather than just flinging out labels and judgments is a really powerful way to help people develop and grow. Give them the space to create the insights and learnings they need.

Everyone is greater and wiser then they appear to be. And when you as the leader just come in and try to help everybody and tell them where they're falling short, where their weaknesses are, or even where their strengths are we create victims. Behind the need to help somebody implies that they are maybe in some way helpless.

And is that the message you really want to send?

No, I don't think so.

What you really want to do is empower people.

These are the three biggest things all ineffective leaders have in common.

I hope you found this helpful. And I'll be honest, these three are very normal, I think, for all people to experience in some shape or form.

It takes a lot of mindful effort to let go of the incorrect interpretations.

Ask yourself, what proof do I really have here? If you really need some proof, then how could you go find it?

Well turn on the curiosity button and go ask and dig in.

When it comes to assumptions ask yourself, why do I believe that what happened in the past is going to repeat itself?

Another great question to ask yourself is what's different about me this time around? Or what's different about the situation? What's different about the business today, compared to what it was three to five years ago? And how might I use that to create a different outcome this time?

Lastly, instead of flinging judgments, get specific, be objective, and just stop looking at what's good or bad. Pay more attention to what is and start asking yourself, where do we go from here? How do we grow from here? What's the opportunity? What's the result I desire to create?

So I hope you found this helpful. By the way, if you made it this far, I'll introduce myself. I'm Zach. I'm a performance and leadership coach, with create purpose.

I'm passionate about helping people maximize who they are. I'm passionate about people bringing their potential to life. And that's what we're doing here.

So see in the next video,

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