Four Dumb Things Smart Leaders Do That Hinder Employee Engagement

I was reminded, during a recent team meeting, that successful leadership is often about simple practices and straight-forward behaviors.

If leadership practices are complicated, you’re doing it wrong.

You don’t have to be a genius to be a successful leader.

Business decisions might be complicated, but leadership practices are generally simple.

Messy puzzle pieces. 

If leadership practices are complicated, you're doing it wrong.

Why smart leaders do dumb things:

In some area of your leadership you’re a singer who thinks they can sing, but can’t. If you ever watched a talent show, you know that people can sincerely believe they are talented when they aren’t. The illusion of competence holds smart leaders back.

Smart leaders do dumb things when they stop learning.

Perhaps you think acknowledging you aren’t good at something is a sign of weakness. But you don’t realize how dumb you look when you pretend you don’t have weaknesses.

You know you’re a pretender when others do things wrong and you always do things right.

Four dumb things smart leaders do that hinder employee engagement:

#1. Competent people disengage when you tell them what to do.

Incompetent novices enjoy being told what to do. Competent managers resent it.

You might generate a list of possible actions WITH competent managers. But give them the choice of actions they plan to take.

#2. Competent people disengage when you tell them how to do their job.

The best way to offend competent managers is telling them how to do their job.

#3. Competent people disengage when you ask for too many updates.

Distrust drives control freaks.

Requiring daily updates from competent people is a sure sign you have trust issues.

Trust maximizes potential. Distrust undermines talent.

#4. Competent people disengage when you don’t notice good work.

Work that isn’t noticed loses it’s value.

What dumb things might smart leaders do that hinder employee engagement?

(This post is inspired by insights from a team of General Managers.)