One of the hardest losses for a leader is when they lose favor with the people they are trying to lead. It’s very hard to regain trust once it’s lost.
Sadly, the longer I serve as a leader, the easier it seems to be to lose a follower’s trust. People are more skeptical — it seems to me — of leadership these days than in days past.
I think it’s important to know what causes us to lose favor with the people we are attempting to lead. Of course, there are many things, but let share some of the more common ones I’ve observed.
Here are 9 ways to lose favor as a leader:
Sloppy work – Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, or even bored, we tend to rush through our work. We neglect all the principles of good leadership we know. We make more mistakes than usual. Other’s view it as losing interest in our work. They become suspicious.
Advice: Slow down. Delegate. Invite correction.
Dictate by email – Exclusively. Email is often misunderstood. It causes confusion and retaliation by email. It promotes fear. It is impersonal leadership. And, when a leader refuses to get their hand dirty by having real conversations — and doing real work — they lose favor with those on the front lines.
Advice: Sometimes — especially when the matter is important, or any correction is involved — you just need to pick up the phone or arrange a meeting.
Absentee leader – The busier we get the more we sometimes have to isolate ourselves to get anything done. This is especially true of leaders with an “open door” style of leadership. If we aren’t careful, rather than being productive, we appear absent. By the way, this could be a leader who doesn’t listen well also. A constantly distracted leader is equally damaging. It communicates disinterest. And, it’s promotes weak and unhealthy commitments among the team.
Advice: Make your schedule known. Communicate frequently.
Appeasing people – Let’s face it. Everyone wants people to like them. If we aren’t careful we will find ourselves saying what people want to hear, even if it’s the wrong thing. It causes us to lose favor with those trying to do the right thing.
Advice: Be transparent and honest. Say everything in love, but don’t communicate what you don’t mean. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
Always having an answer