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Leadership Fail: Why Your Employees Think You Are Failing To Lead

Source | | Terina Allen

Do you ever stop to contemplate how those you lead—or those you are supposed to lead—actually experience your leadership? Do you ever assess your leadership effectiveness? Employees, including managers and senior executives, are often too uncomfortable to ever tell you that your leadership is failing. Because of the power differential, employees often won’t tell their bosses that they think you are failing to lead, but they tell me and people like me who work in the consulting, leadership development and executive coaching professions. When your employees think that you are failing to lead, they often find themselves at their wits end just trying to cope from day to day and sometimes hour to hour.

Leadership Fail: Refusing to ask questions that invite employee input and encourage engagement.

We often talk about the importance of listening and how listening is a key component of communication and leadership. However, listening for the sake of listening is not the goal. Listening to understand is the goal. Listening to learn is the goal. And listening to make better decisions is the goal. But how can you hear what your employees have to say if you never invite them to speak? How can you learn anything meaningful from your employees, managers or executives if you fail to ask questions? A few great questions you can ask to invite employee input and encourage engagement are:

  1. What are we failing at? – Or – What might we be getting wrong?
  2. What are we succeeding at? – Or – What might we be getting right?
  3. What can we do differently as opposed to simply asking the team to do more things?

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