Are you a self-sacrificing leader or a self-benefiting leader? Leaders are not perfect people by any means. Every great leader will make a mistake, learn, and hopefully grow from their decisions. Leaders are humans who often make mistakes and sometimes fall short in the decision making process. Leaders who especially lack self-confidence are often leaders who error more often than other leaders. The continued failure often comes from insecurity and a feeling that they must assert their authority as a leader in order to be respected. This self-benefiting approach to leadership actually leads to an increase in failure and long-term disappointment. There are a few common situations where self-benefitting leaders often fail make wrong decisions.
My Way or the Highway
Leaders who implement the “my way or no way” method alienate employees who have creative ideas to pitch. There should be a balance of being in command while also listening to others around you. This creates an open dialogue atmosphere while collaborating with others in your organization or group. Many times employees might have more thorough solutions to issues than what you may see. Also, there will be a sense of fear surrounding communication between you and those you are leading.
Saying Too Much to Too Many
It is often stated that being a leader is a lonely place. One reason for that truth is because a leader is not at liberty to share all the knowledge they have with those they supervise. Often leaders make the mistake of sharing too much with a staff member to demonstrate they are getting things done, disciplining appropriately, or simply feel the need to share some heavy personal news with another to relieve stress. The moment you share personal information of someone else with someone else, you put yourself at risk of losing trust with staff or even possibly opening up yourself or organization for a lawsuit.
Individuals in positions of power may sometimes turn towards fear to motivate their followers. There are many different ways to create motivation among people. Fear as motivation is often used in business and politics, which wears down the morale of any given employee. The stress of constant fear of losing your job may not keep employees motivated or passionate about your business. There are appropriate times and context to utilize fear as a motivator, but not as an overall tactic for general motivation.
It has been said that you have to give respect to get respect. There is a major difference between a leader earning respect and a leader demanding respect. Some leaders believe that their title should automatically demand and deserve respect from others. Trust and a gradual building of respect of a leader will only result in stronger relationships and longevity regarding trust. It takes a total reset of mindset for leaders to become more responsible for their actions and accountable for their influence on their organization they represent.
There is a huge body of research to support the reality that leaders who demonstrate self-sacrifice and are willing to incur personal costs to serve the goals and mission of the organization will be perceived to be both effective and charismatic as a leader. To put this into perspective, leaders must be engaged, not just in high-level decision making, but also at the lowest level of the organization. Rolling-up their sleeves and being unafraid to do the work that they delegate to others shows that they are passionate to help the entity as a whole. If the followers feel as though the leader is unafraid to do their work, they view them as an equal thus growing the trusting relationship.