Five Worst No-No’s

Monday, August 11th, 2008

5. Micromanage
If you’ve done your homework and hired the right people, there should be no need to micromanage them. Give them direction, set challenging but realistic goals and keep them well motivated. By telling employees exactly what to do you destroy any motivation they might have to think for themselves and make valuable contributions.

4. Fail to Follow Through
Setting directions and providing goals are primary tools of a great leader, but if you don’t follow through, employees quickly learn to ignore what you have to say. Provide a few simple clearly communicated directions and then return to the subject within a reasonable period of time. Employees will quickly learn that you mean what you say.

3. Don’t Keep Secrets
Be as open and honest as possible with your employees. Poor leaders often use secrecy as a way to wield power. However, the less employees know the less able they are to act effectively. In addition, secrecy creates resentment and fosters gossip within the ranks. Google maintains an intranet that has information on all company strategies and current projects. The risk of secrets leaking out is less than productivity gained be everyone working together.

2. Play Favorites
Employees need an even playing field. They need to feel that if they work hard and excel at what they do they will be able to rise up in the ranks. Too often family ties or friendships bias leaders. Employees begin to spend more time and thought currying favor. Both those being favored and those out of favor will be less motivated to work hard. And remember, a perception of favoritism is almost as bad as favoritism itself.

1. Deceive Employees
One small lie can have profound effects within an organization. Once employees believe a leader is willing to lie, they have no basis to distinguish fact from fiction. And it often doesn’t matter who the lie is directed towards. Often leaders will lie to clients or authorities and keep employees as co-conspirators. But if leaders are willing to lie to clients, employees realize these same leaders are probably willing to lie to them in other circumstances.