Earl Breon: 5 Don'ts to Become a Better Leader

Time to read
4 minutes
Read so far

Earl Breon: 5 Don'ts to Become a Better Leader

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 07:03
Posted in:

Earl Breon, a layman leadership advocate, introduces socPub readers to the first in a series of articles focused on leadership development.

Being a good leader is tricky. There are a lot of things you need to do in order to successfully lead your team. There may be more things you shouldn’t do. Over the course of this post we will discuss five of those things you should not do and why they are killing your leadership and hurting your team.

You may be making one or more of these mistakes but you, and only you, can fix them. So, lets dive right in!

1. Don’t read without implementing

I wrote an entire article on this topic but it bears repeating again. Reading is great. There are a ton of great books covering every leadership topic imaginable these days. From Dov Baron to John Maxwell to Dave Ramsey to Jim Bouchard, if you want to learn about an aspect leadership there is a book, or hundred, for you.

Reading isn’t the problem. The problem is reading and not implementing what you just read. If you don’t pull applicable knowledge from your reading then you should just stop because you are wasting your time.

How can you fix this and pull more out of your reading? Be more intentional about the books you select. Have a reason to read other than you heard about the book. If you intentionally seek books that cover topics of interest and meet a developmental need then you are more likely to retain the information and make needed adjustments.

Tip: Intentionally seek books that cover topics of interest and meet developmental needs.

2. Don’t quote quotes you don’t understand

Nothing is more annoying than being bombarded with quotes than being bombarded with quotes from someone who clearly doesn’t understand what the quote means. To be sure, there are some great quotes out there and a well timed quote can make all the difference in the world. But, how should you use quotes effectively?

Well, like reading above, be intentional about the quote you use. It needs to be timely and applicable to be appropriate to use. For instance, don’t throw out a teamwork quote when you should be focusing on conquering fear due to an upcoming change.

Also, try not to be so cliché. There are a lot of quotes that get used way too often. They are great quotes but tend to lose their punch every time your team hears them. So, ditch the tired Sun Tzu quotes and find more modern quotes with the same ideas but less used. They freshness will give it a higher impact.

Tip: Use fresh, timely and applicable quotes for the greatest impact.

3. Don’t talk the talk and not walk the walk

Speaking of quotes, we’ve all heard this one before. Yet, many of us seem to find away to forget about it not have out walk and our talk match up. Heck, I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t happen to me every so often. We are all human after all.

The critical element here is to make an intentional effort to have your words and your actions in alignment. And, when they don’t you have to be able to see it and take the appropriate steps to improve that standing. This is part of the, “Know yourself…“, principle.

Now, how can you easily tell if your actions and words are out of alignment? How does your team act? You see, your team is much more likely to follow the example set by your actions than the one set by your words. If they see you gossiping then they will gossip. If they see you working hard then they will work hard. You set the example for them to follow.

Tip: Be sure your actions and words are in alignment. Your team’s behavior is a good gauge to use. They will reflect your behavior.

4. Don’t tell people how good of a leader you are

Lionel Richie was a guest coach on the voice a couple of seasons back. During one segment he gave this advice to a singer with just a little too much confidence, “You don’t tell the crowd how good you are. They tell you how good you are.” That same principle holds true for leadership.

You don’t go around telling people how good of a leader you are, they will tell you. That need to identify your self as a good leader is a sure sign you lack confidence in your own abilities. It screams of trying to fake it until you make it.

The truth is that good leaders don’t have to tell anyone else how good they are. They do the right things because they are right and keep moving along. And, by doing so, they gain a reputation for being a good leader. When you have a reputation of being a good leader then other people spread the word on your abilities.

Tip: Do the right things because they are right. Leaders who do this gain a reputation that others will spread for them.

5. Don’t stop developing yourself

It is easy to find success and feel you have arrived at the pinnacle. You look back at all the hard work and think, “This is it. I have arrived and now I can relax and enjoy the rest of my career.” Well, you would be completely wrong. Right now is when you must work harder than you ever have.

Not only must you work harder but you must develop yourself further. You have too many people counting on you to lead them for you to not strive to be the best you can be today and be better than you were yesterday. Now, don’t get me wrong, you should enjoy the success and don’t be one of those people who is miserable because they constantly need more. I’m not talking about anything other than constant self-development here.

Keep reading. Keep attending conferences. Keep learning and evolving.

Self development helps you lead your team in a few ways. It keeps you relevant on current issues and how to handle them. It keeps you mentally sharp and focused. But, most importantly, it sets an example for your team to do the same no matter where they are in their careers. If you are still developing yourself at your stage then they will see the importance of self development at their stage.

Tip: Seek continuous growth from various sources. Don’t be afraid to adapt yourself to meet current challenges.

Article originally posted at Earl Breon's Layman Leadership blog.