5 bad habits holding leaders back

When you serve people, you will not always know what response is coming your way

5 bad habits holding leaders back

Whether it’s HR, work in general or even day-to-day life, it’s not what you do but how you do it that determines the impact you have on yourself and others.

Consequently, this means you may have habits and behaviours that you don’t even realise are holding you back from developing long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships, according to Jaquie Scammell, sought-after speaker, facilitator, coach and author of Service Habits.

Scammel added that there are five bad habits, in particular, that can impact your service relationships and your effectiveness of a leader or manager.

To change them, you must first become conscious of them.

Blaming others
You know that saying, ‘Don’t throw your colleagues under the bus’? When there’s been an error and people are under scrutiny, they sometimes like to inform others of the cause of the error – which can sometimes lead to blaming another member of the team in order to protect themselves.

So when things go wrong, our ego is often too quick to protect us by blaming someone else for the breakdown. Talk about a HR nightmare!

Serving others require you to take full responsibility, regardless of your role. When there’s a breakdown in the chain, it’s better to direct your energy and effort into creating a solution rather than into ducking and weaving, pointing the finger at who caused the problem.

Trying to control the outcome
Humans are unpredictable creatures. So, when you serve people, you will not always know what response is coming your way. You can’t control other people’s reactions, and it’s unrealistic to think that you’re in complete control of a situation that involves another human being.

When you see yourself, at the beginning of an interaction with a colleague, holding tightly onto the outcome you want or what you expect the other person to do or say, just remind yourself that you cannot control everything. Loosen your grip on your expectations. Service requires you to give up control of the outcome, and by doing so, you’re honouring the other person and accepting what they bring to the situation.

Gossiping
We’ve all been there – dealing with rude employees. But complaining behind their back or repeated complaining over time wires your brain for more future complaining. It becomes a habit, and you soon find it easier to be negative than positive.

Hence, never gossip about anyone, ever. It’s an energy-waster and it never does any good. If you’re ever tempted to gossip about an employee or colleague, stop and think before you do. Ask yourself, ‘What will gossiping about this person achieve? Is there something more productive I could do, like getting on with providing them with a solution?’

Avoiding asking for help
In HR, you’re continually presented with situations that may never have occurred before, let alone been planned for. Often, leaders and managers hold off on asking for help in such situations because they’re afraid of not having all the answers – they think they should ‘know it all’ and see asking for help as a weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’re refraining from asking for help, you’re allowing your pride and ego to be more dominant than the needs of the individual you’re serving. The best leaders are those who are confident enough to know their strengths and humble enough to know their limitations – which means that from time to time, they ask for help.

Complaining
Organisations are dynamic, unpredictable and sometimes a little messy. No team needs a member of staff looking for negativity: there’s already enough to work through as it is! So if, for example, you’re interviewing someone for a role and in the small talk they complain about the weather, the airline they travel with or their internet connectivity, it’s usually a bad sign.

Remember the wise words of author Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, ‘Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving’. These are the real habits great leaders exhibit.

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