“Employees don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.”

Have you heard this saying before? It doesn’t always ring true, but it’s a saying for a reason. As a leader within your organization, you have a big impact on your workplace environment and the people you work with each day. It’s never a bad idea to review some common bad management habits and think about how they can be addressed.

Bad Management Habit #1: A Focus on Power, Not People

Great leaders are driven to build relationships, not their own resumes. Every person in your organization is more than a means to an end. As a leader, your ability to influence and inspire others is what grows an organization, not your title or accolades. You can only go so far alone, but with a shared vision amongst a team of people, true opportunity exists.

Tips for improvement:

  • Listen more than you talk. Ask employees questions and connect with them to maintain and build each relationship. 
  • Communicate frequently and encourage employees often. People want to know that their work is important and valued.
  • Work on your personal development. Become a leader others respect and want to emulate through your own integrity, reliability, and quality. 

Bad Management Habit #2: Unwillingness to Change/Adapt

It’s human nature to coast — to allow for what’s comfortable and already existent. But strong leaders ask themselves and others, “What can we do better?” and “How do we improve?”

Embrace change as an opportunity. We can’t remain the same if we want to create additional success and growth. Seek out opportunities to create a better customer and employee experience; explore innovations in our industry; work towards better process implementations.

Tips for improvement:

  • Lean into your discomfort! Search for what’s currently not working and explore further options.
  • Know that change isn’t easy, even when it’s good for a person or organization.
  • Frequently explain to your team why change is necessary.
  • Look for your change ambassadors — use those already within the business who embrace change and can influence those around them. Empower your employees to make change.
  • Lead by example. Your willingness to adapt to change will determine how your team adapts to change.

Bad Management Habit #3: Not Focusing on the Big Picture

Think how wonderful it would be to have a strong vision laid out and the big picture always in front of you. It would create incredible opportunities for your team! However, we often get lost in the weeds of our day-to-day schedule without paying attention to the direction we’re headed. When this happens, we get the appearance of movement and busyness, but no true productivity.

A great leader can see the whole picture and integrate the smaller parts, aligning both.  

Tips for improvement:

  • Create a plan and allow for time to think about how to succeed with that plan.
  • Identify and create specific, actionable steps toward achieving the plan. Break the big picture into manageable pieces — create quarterly initiatives and metrics.
  • Have an accountability partner/team who will make sure you’re hitting your target. This should be someone who can keep you aligned with achieving your vision and who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions. Someone who can provide an alternative perspective.

Bad Management Habit #4: Complacency Toward Toxic Top Performers

We’ve all been in this situation, haven’t we? Toxic top performers are those employees who violate your organization’s core values. We allow or ignore certain behaviors because of the revenue produced by the top performer. But when a leader doesn’t do anything about a toxic employee’s behaviors, it can take a large toll on team morale and productivity. 

Tips for improvement:

  • Don’t hire toxic employees in the first place. Make sure you screen for specific behaviors that align with your core values during the interview process. Don’t ignore red flags because someone looks great on paper.
  • Begin conducting exit interviews (or revise your existing exit interviews). Explore in an open and honest exit interview why an individual is leaving. You may uncover specific behaviors or actions occurring within your organization.
  • Hold your team accountable to spoken expectations and processes. Keep open channels in your weekly one-on-one meetings for dialogue to gain your employee’s perspectives on any roadblocks toward success.
  • Reward and recognize desired behaviors.
  • Provide actionable feedback to a toxic employee immediately.

Bad Management Habit #5: Inability to Execute/Act

True leaders act. They use the information they have and the timeline that’s set to make the best possible decision, and then they move forward. When a manager isn’t moving the business or department forward, business performance suffers.

Tips for improvement:

  • Create results driven incentives. 
  • Network with other effective leaders.
  • Get to the root cause. Is the lack of action caused by a fear of conflict? Is it caused by not having all the information needed? Is it complacency?

As a leader, it’s your job to help motivate and inspire your employees to do their best work. They look to you to see which behaviors are acceptable and encouraged. Become the best leader you can be and check in with yourself frequently to stay on track.