Okay, I’m a leader – now what?

Most leaders care about their people, but they don’t know how to lead because they have ended up as leaders almost by accident.

They are usually so good on the tools or in their area of expertise that they suddenly find themselves setting up a business or being chosen to lead a team.

But leadership requires its own skill set. Most leaders are not taught how to lead people.

So many leaders become incredibly stressed out and scared because they don’t know how to get their people to do what they want them to do and as a leader, they are expected to get results (often make money) to keep the business going. As a result, they often become critical and punitive. These leaders are always on the lookout for problems and encourage their staff to tell them about what’s going wrong. They then unintentionally create a culture of dobbing and gossip.

Chances are that these poor stressed out leaders will then blame their team when things go wrong. They might end up yelling and screaming at their people, micromanaging them or using the silent treatment on them just because they are so stressed out. These leaders will probably have a high staff turnover as a result. Their team may not be telling them important information because they are scared of the consequences.

This situation will often put the business at risk of being sued for unfair dismissal or unsafe work practices because they are unintentionally disrespecting their people’s rights or they don’t set boundaries so that their team feels safe and supported.

Their team will be unproductive, disengaged and disconnected.

The way to turn this around is for leaders to take responsibility for their leadership style. They need to learn to be vulnerable with their team; acknowledge their mistakes and provide a safe environment for people to speak up. They need to have a clear vision, clarity around people’s roles and responsibilities and expectations of their staff. They need to learn to manage their stress and their fears so that they can focus on all the good work being done by the team; not on the mistakes.

So many leaders are misunderstood good people struggling with overwhelming levels of stress and fear.

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