Misleading Conduct #6: Misconducting Yourself

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By Ian Sampson

 When I first started email conversations with friends about these posts I was overwhelmed with responses that added colour, new dimensions, additional insights and even the odd touch of personally bitter experiences. Many of the practices identified boil down to misbehaviors and misconduct that actually destroy leadership credibility and effectiveness. Here is a sample of these misconducts:

  • Making public statements that make you look as though you value people and then shafting them in private;
  • Showing up to meetings pretending you’re prepared so that others can also get away with it also and pretend they are really prepared. For example, the unprepared Chairman uses his position to not only cover up his lack of preparation but has an outburst about the lack of preparedness by others, perhaps even going so far as to name one or two in the meeting;
  • Expecting everyone to take your advice but not being open to others giving you advice;
  • Trusting your own internal thoughts, not the expertise of you own people;
  • Making promises for action on behalf of your staff without consulting them;
  • Never acknowledging your staff or peers, or acknowledging them in a mealy mouthed way;
  • Only standing for things you know you will deliver and covering your rear end with all sorts of let out conditions;
  •  Expecting everyone in the business to drop whatever they are doing to do what you want or need and get annoyed if they don’t;
  •  Creating big visions for the business but not taking responsibility for keeping them alive and structuring them to make them real. Expecting others to keep them alive and acting against the vision when it suits you.
  • And finally, never acknowledging and taking responsibilities for your mistakes, always blaming your staff, the client, the government, the economic situation etc. This is also known as “Reasons Trump Results”. There is a nice piece of psychology  relevant here called “attribution”, where leaders in particular, but also   groups, take the credit for successes but always find an external causality for errors, mistakes, shortfalls etc.

Have you been “misconducting yourself” lately? Maybe time to think about changing your behaviour a little or a lot?

About the author: Ian Sampson (B.Comm., LLB., FAICD, FAIM), is a Cause and Effective Associate (www.causeandeffective.info). He is a Strategic Advisor to Boards and an Executive Coach. Ian can be contacted here. Ian’s other posts in his “Misleading Conduct” series are:

Leaders Behaving Badly; Misleading Conduct #1 – Not Providing Context; Misleading Conduct #2 – Not Providing Space For Your People; Misleading Conduct # 3- Justifying Poor Performance; Misleading Conduct #4: – Making Lousy Decisions or No Decisions At All; Misleading Conduct #5 – Lacking Integrity in Your Personal and Professional Life

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