The 5 Most Painful Leaders to be Around
Some leaders are painful to be around. To be honest, sometimes you and I are the pain.
We’ve all been the leader others complain about.
The 5 most painful leaders to be around:
- Nit-pickers. You’re a bad case of heartburn when you belittle the 80% that’s good with the 20% that’s bad. (Enjoy the 80%. Improve the 20%.)
- Ball-droppers. You’re a toothache when you don’t follow-through and follow-up.
- Drama-makers. You’re an empty glass in the desert when everything’s a crisis.
- Down-in-the-mouthers. You’re a stone in a shoe when you always need a pick-me-up from your team.
- Hand-wringers. You’re an energy suck when all you see is what could go wrong.
Don’t expect success if you’re a constant pain.
5 surprising ways to advance your success with others:
#1. Care deeply about relationships. (It’s not just results.)
The most important relationships are with people who depend on you.
If you care about your future, care about relationships with coworkers, supervisors, and direct reports. The people closest to you are most relevant to job satisfaction, opportunity, and advancement.
#2. Invite and act on feedback.
- I’m working on connecting with the team. (Context enhances feedback.)
- What do you see me doing that strengthens connections?
- What do you see me doing that weakens connection?
- What suggestions do you have? (Seeking input elevates the status of giver and receiver.)
- Would you tell me when I do something that works? Doesn’t work?
#3. Advance the agenda of others, without sacrificing your own.
- What challenges are you facing?
- What’s important about this?
- What crossroads are you facing?
- How can I help?
Those who add value are always welcomed.
#4. Understand the difference between advising and advocating.
Advisers aren’t attached to advice. Freedom goes down as advocating goes up.
#5. Say what others fear saying.
- Point out inconsistencies.
- Describe negative patterns.
- Challenge and confront in private.
What types of people are a pain to be around?
How might leaders advance their success with others?
I was able to identify all those types of leaders within the organisation I work for.
Sad that it was so easy to do. Which has me thinking, how can I help them to see themselves as others see them?
Too often the behaviours people display are residue of previous acts that led them to success. To often these were from other poor leaders, rewarding finger pointing, rewarding squeaky wheels, etc.
I did think asking them to gather feedback would help, and to a certain extent it did, until the feedback gathered was filtered and rationalised by the receiving to justify their current behaviour. Rose coloured glasses anyone.
any advice on ways I can help someone see themselves as others see them?
Thanks Rob. I appreciate your comment and the challenge you present. One suggestion is to be sure to model the behavior you expect from others.
A 360 degree assemsment might help.
The challenge of the ‘rose colored glasses’ might be addressed by saying, “I see what you’re saying. What if there’s some truth in the feedback?”
Or, “Let’s pretend they are right. What comes to mind?”
Or, “I know you disagree with the feedback. I’d like you to try a couple suggestions anyway. Let’s see what happens.”
Just some thoughts.
Great post and so true!
“#4. Understand the difference between advising and advocating.” is one that hits home for me. I have to admit that was a line I crossed a few times, then had to backtrack to repair the damage. Communicating all these ideas and then living them consistently will help avoid many leadership pitfalls. Thanks for more great insights!
Thanks Jim. I’m glad you caught the advising/advocation dynamic. We move easily from offering suggestions to advocating for a position. I think the conversation becomes a bit more adversarial when that happens.
” To be honest, sometimes you and I are the pain.” Yup! Thanks for bringing a mirror to the discussion 🙂
Thanks Ken. My mirror is pretty fogged up. But, once in a while, I catch a glimpse of someone looking back at me that I’m not too proud of.
Nit-pickers must be my pet-hate. And having to bite your lip makes it even worse!
I couldn’t agree more particularly #1 – Care deeply about relationships. I genuinely believe this is the cornerstone to effective leadership. Building and maintaining a relationship leads to greater communication and greater communication ensures you work hand in hand with your team. Thanks for posting.
I really related with being the example. Last year I moved into a supervisor position. I had had 4 supervisors in one year. Various ones were the different types, including my higher ups. I found myself being like the examples I had been working with. I came to a crisis (personal) on who was I, what kind of boss did I want to be, who could be my model. Fortunately I meant such a person. I thought about the bossy one who micromanaged everyone – didn’t like that. Drove me Crazy; the one who marched to her own tune and an organization system that she even had trouble with. I then backed down on the micromanaging, working on follow through (yup I am one of those) I just get so busy. I started focusing on building relationships, smiling more and enjoying the aspects that I loved in the job. I still have growth to do but I am getting there.
Advising vs. Advocating is a brilliant distinction. I didn’t get it at first but Jim’s comment clarified it. I can see where I’ve done both, and when I’ve had an “agenda” about how things should go is when I’ve fallen into advocating, versus simply listening and being appropriate to the situation.
Perhaps you should have another category for, the most dangerous leaders. I work for an omnipotent cowboy who shoots from the hip and refuses feedback because the staff “doesn’t know how to handle the details”, of his sweeping directives.