10 Not-So-Obvious Barriers to Effective Leadership
Leadership is not an accomplishment you check off your daily to-dos. At the heart of leadership is the omnipresent, bold belief that influence, relationships, dialogue and faith in people call forward our best leadership abilities. Leadership is inspiring others to give their best effort despite what they believe to get things done.
Yet, there are many well-intended (and some not so) people who hit barriers to their leadership abilities. At the risk of being yet another voice in the echo chamber, I want to share ten less-obvious barriers to effective leadership. On the surface they seem obvious. Truth is, however, many of us are unwilling to look at these barriers. Going a step further, many of us are unwilling to admit some of these hold us back.
Your own leadership becomes great when you tend to your own internal well-being. That's where things get tricky. Depending on where your attention lies when improving your internal well-being, you either entrench the barriers or move them aside.
Read the following ten barriers to get a sense of where your intentions must lie to amplify your leadership.
Need to be liked
Effective leaders understand unpopular views are necessary. The need to be liked interferes with the ability to see two steps ahead from where the team is and effectively navigate the team to the next level of performance and success.
Inability to decide
Admittedly, this one is obvious. But a leader who can gather input or know when to unilaterally make a decision can gain trust, respect and signal confidence to followers. Poor decisions or no decisions cause anxiety, frustration, anger, and weakens confidence in the leader.
Unable to manage workload
Do more with less is an overused mantra in most organizations today. Effective leaders pay attention to the demands on their people and make changes when the workload is causing unmanageable stress, weakens quality, and becomes an expense to people and the organization.
Unclear on personal values
Values are the anchor that help us weather the drama, disappointments and temptations in the workplace. To not know your values leaves you susceptible to inconsistencies that baffle and anger you and your team.
No clear team purpose
Purpose is the why for the team's existence. If the team's purpose is not clear and only plucked from everyone's intuition, then anyone can sway the team unproductively. That's a problem.
Business has always been built on the back of relationships. It's a weak excuse to blame workload and endless meetings for the reason you don't network with other managers or divisions. Know what's going on around you so you can prepare your team or position your team for success.
Don't take a stand
Malcom X said, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." If you don't know what you stand for you, then your team will never reach its full potential. Unnecessary hardships are wasted.
Don't consider what's at stake
Decisions to act or not act must be made when considering what actions to take. Without knowledge of what's at stake, you appear erratic, too spontaneous, careless. What's at stake for your team, the organization, the customer, for you? These are good places to look.
Don't demand the best from your people
Who has time for one-on-ones or to give feedback? Effective leaders do. In today's "do-more-with less" work environments, effective leaders help their people grow in their jobs. This only happens with care and intention to build up great people and teams.
It's about you
Leadership is not about you. It's about others. Ineffective managers fail to lead when they place their needs above what's needed for the team, the organization, an individual. This is hard to swallow.