3 common pitfalls of leadership

Adapted from What's Working in Sales Management.

More than a third of employees feel their manager is largely ineffective, according to a new study by Development Dimensions International.

What’s more, 37%  claim they’re rarely motivated to do their best as a result of this ineffectiveness.  Where do leaders fall short?  And what are the best managers  doing to overcome the most common obstacles?

Here are the top three pitfalls, as revealed by DDI’s study, along with key strategies for overcoming each of them to achieve breakthrough success.

1. It’s business, not personal

Three in four employees said their manager fails to remain calm and/or provide constructive criticism when a performance issue arises.

It takes practice to keep your emotions in check, so remember:

  • Praise in public, criticize in private. In a lot of cases, it’s not so much what the manager says, but when and where it’s said that makes the difference.
  • Lead with recognition. This lets people know you’re in their corner, and you appreciate all the hard work they’re doing.
  • Empower people by enlisting his/her help. It’s an age-old tactic that never fails to let people know they are valued.

2. Feedback is a two-way street

More than half of employees say their manager didn't understand their needs or didn't seek the kind of feedback that might help them do their jobs better.

An equal number  felt management made little or no effort to provide consistent feedback about where they saw areas of opportunity.  Leaders can avoid this problem through regular coaching sessions and reviews that create an atmosphere of constant professional improvement.

3. Avoid playing favorites

The third major obstacle cited in DDI’s study was management catering to a few marquee players, while ignoring the rest of the pack.

A real leader's daily goal should be to help each employee reach the next level.  Consider it this way: If every employee improves his or her performance by as little as 5%, you’ll have a happier, more driven team, and your organization will reap the results.