Sometimes the best way to eliminate bad habits in leadership is to see them parodied. So in that spirit, here are the ten quickest ways to ensure your team are demotivated and your leadership is always in question:
1. Always over react, rather than not react
So something has gone wrong and you’re not sure who’s to blame. The best response is a knee jerk reaction: take it out on all the people involved. It’s better to make it clear that you’re not happy rather than wasting time cooling off and allowing yourself to think rationally.
2. Claim credit for anything that goes well
Surely, if a success takes place under your leadership, then it’s down to that leadership and therefore you have the right to take credit for it. Why allow your team to take the glory just because it was ‘their idea’ to make something happen?
3. Punish in public. Praise in private
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear” said H. P. Lovecraft. Capitalise on your criticism by making it a full blown public humiliation. If everyone knows the terrible consequences of making a mistake, they won’t make any, right? You’d hate to give praise in public – it may go to someone’s head.
4. Make your team work the same hours you do
Team members need to prove their commitment. After 12 months of sixteen hour days, you can be sure that they have no social life and no meaning to life apart from work. Perfect – you’ll have their total loyalty and undivided attention then.
5. Don’t let reality get in the way of a good idea
When Fred Goodwin was making the disastrous decision to acquire ABN-Amro for RBS, he famously told his board “We’ve done this before, so only need a ‘due diligence-light’ on this deal.” You don’t get to be a leader without learning to trust your intuition, so why waste time doing your homework?
6. Make promises you aren’t planning to keep
Motivate your team by promising them the world. There will be a temporary boost to productivity, and when those expensive rewards come within reach, just move the goalposts. You’re busy – you can’t be expected to be held to everything you say.
7. Never admit mistakes or show weakness
A good leader should avoid losing face in front of her team at all costs. That means burying mistakes and never discussing your weaknesses openly. If all else fails and you’re forced to admit defeat, then blame someone else – you’d hate to lose respect or credibility.
8. Assume your competitors are stupid
It’s very important to be proud of your company and mentally exclude any possibility that someone else might be doing things better. The leaders of Research in Motion just knew that keyboards were better than touch screens. And all those loyal Blackberry users are a testimony to how right they were.
9. Get the deal, worry about the consequences later
In business, you should live for the moment and take the money whilst it’s on the table. ‘Operations’ can worry about delivering later. All that stuff about the lifetime value of a customer and long term partnerships is just marketing puff anyway.
10. Assume you can do any job better than a member of your team
Your input is the most important. That means you should feel confident in steamrollering over the hard, time-consuming work of your team. Most importantly, be wary of hiring anyone who might outdo you in future. You’d hate to be shown up.