Leadership, Talent Management

6 Ways Your Inconsistent Leadership Is Negatively Impacting Your Employees

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One of the key causes of poor performing employees is inconsistent leadership, and if you’re hearing employee gossip that says “it’s not their fault there are problems at the office,” they might be right.

An inconsistent leader is sometimes there, sometimes not. They appear at times to be physically present when their brain has left the building. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they blow up. They are at times empathetic and at others an unbearable taskmaster.

If your behavior is all over the board, it’s likely their performance is too, and the following problems are showing up. What’s the fix? Keep reading.

6 ways you are negatively impacting employees

  • They don’t trust you. The leaders who blow up at one person but listen intently to another are creating employees afraid to approach you. They lack trust in your counsel or guidance or words that say “my door is always open,” and no matter how often you persuade them to share, they’ll stop trusting that you actually care.
  • They skip levels. If you have one team member who seems to have befriended your boss, this is not cause for alarm. But, when the majority of the team signs up for the skip-level luncheon, pay attention as it may be a cry for guidance they no longer believe could come from you.
  • They ignore your first direction. Tantrums and explosions scare people, and if you’re prone to huffy moments where you spout off some angry words, employees will begin to brace for impact. For protection of their own sanity, they’ll start ignoring what you say when you’re the most annoyed. Then you’ll have to apologize, explain your behavior and likely repeat your direction which can be, well, annoying.
  • They nod their head, but don’t agree. Those employees gifted at empathy and afraid of conflict will never tell you to your face that they don’t understand your direction or why you’re acting out of character today. Instead, they’ll simply nod and smile and you’ll think that means yes, they understand, and will take action — when they’re really simply trying to keep you from acting scary.
  • They mimic (cold) molasses. Have you ever seen how fast cold molasses moves? That’s about how fast employees will get to work on something when your direction or behavior is inconsistent. All of their time and energy will be spent venting, talking about, or stewing over your irregular moods or missteps and work won’t get done. Or in the case of you being inconsistently at the office, they may learn to act as if their busily working when you’re their only to go back to the speed of cold molasses when you’re away.
  • They ALL appear difficult. It is one thing to recognize you have a challenge in one team member. and quite another to think “Make Difficult People Disappear” applies to your entire team. If they all are acting difficult, chances are the problem is not them, but with their leader. Check your perceptions and then check in the mirror.

We’ve all, as leaders, been inconsistent from time to time. Things do change. Find yourself in a flexible flow, consistently pay attention to all the elements that impact your team, and you’ll prevent these problems.

Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development strategist, blogger, speaker, and author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear. As CEO of Contagious Companies, she is best known for designing and delivering leadership training programs for managers who were promoted, but not prepared. Her firm provides training, coaching, and consulting to executives and team members of many Fortune 1000 companies. Contact her at monica@contagiouscompanies.com.
  • Mae

    Ouch! Very good information which makes me introspective. There are some items I need to change.

  • http://pivotpointsolutions.net/ andy_mcf

    The article begins by describing incompetent “leaders”.  For the very reasons described, these “leaders” are ineffective.  The repercussions of such problems reverberate throughout large and small organizations alike.  Read more on a recent Gallup study that proved a causal relationship between employee engagement and financial performance. http://bit.ly/aykG8L

    And if that isn’t enough, recall the truism that employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers.