7 No-Nos for Leaders

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I follow a great blog called, Start Up Professionals.com. The content focuses on start up businesses and the entrepreneurs behind the magic.

A couple days ago, one of the contributing authors, Marty Zwilling, published an article about leadership mistakes. The article revolves around ideas from a great book, Table for Three, by Darryl Rossen (does anyone still need a leadership book?!).

The article, “7 Dumb Leadership Mistakes Smart Managers Avoid,” lists these 7 no-nos from the book:

  1. Blame others for everything.
  2. Worry and fret about everything.
  3. Criticize others and the company.
  4. Complain about being overwhelmed.
  5. Do 10 things at a time in a mediocre fashion.
  6. Appear disorganized and manage things haphazardly.
  7. Fail to see the positives in others. (Zwilling, 2012)

I’d encourage you to read the explinations for the above no-nos because I’ll only address one here that stood out to me among the rest.

“4. Complain about being overwhelmed. Overwhelm is a feeling that always precedes growth, and is a state in which your brain is developing new pathways and connections. Starting a business or a new organization will always cause self-doubt and insecurity. Real leaders embrace and manage these feelings, rather than complain to associates.” (Zwilling, 2012)

Focus on the first sentence: “Overwhelm is a feeling that always precedes growth.”

First, doesn’t that make you feel better about being overwhelmed? Second, this hits the nail so hard on the head. It is so easy to complain to coworkers, spouses, friends, family, etc. when you’re stressed and overwhelmed at work. It’s a way to get your stress and fears out in the open for consolidation and advice.

As a leader, though, you need to be extra careful about complaining in front of your coworkers or the people working for you; good chance they’re working just as hard as you, and they don’t need you to remind them.

Instead, as the article explains, “embrace and manage,” your stresses and fears. The more confident you are in your work and the future of the company, the more confident and efficient your staff will be, too.

Zwilling, M. (2012). 7 dumb leadership mistakes smart managers avoid. Startup Professionals, Retrieved from http://blog.startupprofessionals.com/2012/02/7-dumb-leadership-mistakes-smart.html

5 Comments on “7 No-Nos for Leaders”

  1. Em, thanks for the great website link! I’ll be sure to bookmark it.

    As all the attaches know, overwhelm is a feeling with which we’re quite familiar! I like this positive approach to it, though. Rather than complain or let everything bring you down through stress, there are positive ways to manifest this energy and really get projects done.

  2. This post tackled the opposite of leadership so well Emily! It’s important to think about how your reactions and outlooks affect others. I think these 7 rules are great to keep in mind. This will make a perfect “Not-to-do” list to complement our leadership to-do list.


  3. I like number 5 on this list, particularly because it is something I struggle with. When multiple opportunities arise, it is often easy to find oneself over-committed. When this happens, the tendency becomes to do a lot of things in a mediocre fashion instead of focusing on one or two things and doing them extremely well. As a leader, this is where having the knowledge of those on your team can help, as you can delegate tasks to people who will be able to handle them effectively. It is better to narrow your focus instead of trying to do everything is once because you feel it is necessary as the team leader.

  4. Nice find, Emily! I think I’m going to start following this blog!

    I really like the 7 no-nos for leaders listed. I, personally struggle with number 2. I am a worrier, but because I care! But sometimes, I take it to the extreme and worry about everything little thing. Not only does that mess with my stress levels, but it is a very unhealthy way to live life. I find myself constantly reminding myself that everything will work itself out in the end.

  5. Wow. Spot on with this post. All too often do we see ourselves committing at least one of these various no-nos.

    Well, I know I do.

    As a leader, one tends to take the world on his shoulders, and with that, he grants himself a world of responsibilities. It’s inevitable for any leader to have several emotions and behaviors come forward.

    But that’s why we include service into the leadership standard.

    I personally struggle with 2, 4 and 6. Yes, it’s a shot to the heart of my ego as a leader, but it’s true, and recognizing it tells me something. It tells me I’m not serving my full purpose as a leader.

    Incorporating service (two-way communication, humility, openness, active listening… you get the point) into my Leader Toolbox would help alleviate some of those no-nos.

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