If you want to be seen as a leader, say goodbye to these 12 counterproductive habits

Hey there!

We all have habits. Some are good, some…not so much. And when it comes to leadership, some habits can really get in the way.

Ever find yourself always running late? Or maybe you can’t seem to put down your phone. Sound familiar?

Well, you’re not alone. The good news is that recognizing these habits is half the battle won.

In this article, we’re going to chat about 12 habits that could be stopping you from being seen as the leader you want to be.

And here’s the best part: once you say goodbye to these habits, you’ll create space for new ones. The kind that will help your leadership skills shine. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

1) Being late

Let’s get this one out of the way first. Being late might seem like a small thing but it speaks volumes about your respect for other people’s time. When you’re always running late, it sends a message that your time is more important than theirs.

If you’re aiming to be seen as a leader, punctuality is key – it shows that you value and respect others, qualities every leader should possess.

Try to make a conscious effort to be on time for meetings, deadlines, and appointments. Trust us, people will notice the change and it will enhance your image as a responsible individual.

2) Not listening

Yep, you heard that right (pun intended!). Not listening to others is a habit you’ve got to kick to the curb if you want to be seen as a leader.

True leaders are great listeners. They value the thoughts and ideas of their team members. They understand that good ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.

If you’re the type who tends to dominate conversations or dismiss others’ opinions, it’s time to hit the brakes. Start actively listening – not just waiting for your turn to speak.

This means giving your full attention, asking follow-up questions, and responding appropriately.

3) Avoiding feedback

Here’s a habit I’ve seen quite a bit (and have been guilty of myself) – avoiding feedback.

In my early career, I used to dread feedback. The idea of someone critiquing my work made me uncomfortable. But over time, I realized this fear was holding me back from growth.

As hard as it can be to hear, feedback is an essential tool for improvement. It’s like a mirror that shows you where you stand and what you need to work on.

If you want to be seen as a leader, embrace feedback – both giving and receiving it. Don’t take it personally or view it as an attack. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

4) Micromanaging

Did you know that according to a study by the American Psychological Association, employees who feel micromanaged are more likely to experience depression, dissatisfaction and even consider changing jobs?

That’s right – micromanaging is not just irritating, it’s downright harmful. If you’re hovering over every detail and trying to control every aspect of your team’s work, you’re not leading – you’re stifling.

Good leaders trust their team. They provide guidance and support, but they also know when to step back and let their team members do what they do best. 

Instead, focus on empowering your team. You’ll be amazed at what they can achieve when given the space and trust to do so.

5) Neglecting self-care

This one hits close to home for many of us. In our quest for success, we often put our own well-being on the back burner. We work long hours, skip meals, and sacrifice sleep. We convince ourselves that this is the price of leadership.

But here’s the heartfelt truth – neglecting self-care doesn’t make you a better leader, it just makes you a tired one.

To lead others effectively, you need to be at your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. This means taking care of yourself, getting enough rest, eating well, and taking time to recharge.

True leadership isn’t about working yourself into the ground, but more about setting a positive example of balance and self-respect. By caring for yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to care for and lead your team.

6) Being resistant to change

Here’s something I’ve learned first-hand: change is inevitable. Early in my career, I used to resist change. I liked my routines and felt comfortable with the familiar.

But the truth is, the world around us is always changing and evolving.

Once I realized this, I understood that being resistant to change only kept me stuck while everything else moved forward. It was a tough pill to swallow but an important lesson.

Leadership requires adaptability. If you want to be seen as a leader, you need to embrace change, not resist it.

This doesn’t mean you have to love every change that comes your way, but adjusting your mindset to see change as an opportunity rather than a threat can make a huge difference.

7) Ignoring your mistakes

leadership skill based on insecurity If you want to be seen as a leader, say goodbye to these 12 counterproductive habits

Let’s get real for a moment. We all mess up. Every single one of us. But here’s the kicker – it’s not the messing up that’s the problem, it’s what you do after.

Some folks, in an attempt to protect their ego or reputation, ignore their mistakes or worse, blame others. But let me tell you something – this won’t help you grow and it certainly won’t help you be seen as a leader.

Good leaders own up to their mistakes. They don’t hide them, they learn from them. They understand that messing up is human but making the same mistake over and over is a choice.

8) Fearing failure

Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was rejected by 12 publishers before she finally got a deal?

Imagine if she had let fear of failure stop her after the first, second, or even eleventh rejection!

Failure is scary, no doubt about it. But fearing it to the point where it prevents you from trying new things or taking risks can be detrimental to your growth as a leader.

Successful leaders understand that failure is not the end of the road, but a stepping stone on the path to success. They see each failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Embrace it, learn from it, and keep moving forward. After all, the only sure way to fail is by not trying at all!

9) Not setting boundaries

This is something I’ve struggled with personally – not setting boundaries. I used to think that to be a good leader, I had to be available 24/7. I’d respond to emails late into the night, take calls on weekends, and rarely took time off.

But over time, I realized that not setting boundaries was taking a toll on my health and personal life. It also set an unrealistic expectation for my team.

Setting boundaries doesn’t make you a bad leader. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Good leaders understand the importance of work-life balance, not just for themselves but for their team as well.

10) Being a know-it-all

Let’s cut to the chase. No one likes a know-it-all. You know the type – always has to have the last word, never open to new ideas, believes they’re always the smartest person in the room.

If you’re guilty of this, it’s time for a reality check. No one knows everything. And pretending that you do is not only annoying, it’s also counterproductive.

Good leaders are lifelong learners who are not afraid to admit when they don’t have all the answers.

So ditch the know-it-all attitude. Be humble, keep learning, and be open to the knowledge and perspectives of others. It will make you a better leader and a better person.

11) Not appreciating your team

This one’s a biggie. If you’re not taking the time to appreciate your team, you’re dropping the ball as a leader.

People aren’t machines. They’re human beings who need recognition and appreciation just as much as they need a paycheck.

Ignoring your team’s hard work and contributions is a surefire way to demoralize them and decrease productivity.

It’s time to make it a habit to show appreciation. A simple thank you can go a long way. Recognize their efforts, celebrate their successes, and make them feel valued. Trust me, they’ll repay you with loyalty and hard work.

12) Neglecting personal growth

Here’s some hard truth – if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating. And no one wants to follow a stagnant leader.

Don’t get so caught up in leading others that you forget to lead yourself. Make personal growth a priority. Invest time in developing new skills, expanding your knowledge, and improving yourself both professionally and personally.

So keep pushing, keep learning, and keep growing. Your team, and your future self, will thank you for it!

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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