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It's Never Too Late to Shake Bad Leadership Habits

Leadership skills can be the difference between a supportive workforce or a la

Often, the performance of employees is heavily scrutinized when business productivity and growth falls stagnant. Leaders will try to pinpoint the cause by seeking out areas where expectations were not met and there was a failure to achieve specific goals. While the behaviors, motivations and barriers associated with employee workflow are important and indicative of weaknesses within the company, leadership behaviors should also be analyzed. Just as the productivity of ground level workers can have a major impact on financial performance, so too can the decisions of executive level decision makers. In fact, it can be argued that the performance of a few leaders at the top of a company is even more important than the productivity of many lower-level employees due to the breadth and impact of executive decisions.

Therefore, business leaders should continually be examining their own behaviors and decisions, as well as those of colleagues, to ensure practices are up-to-date and well-supported by positive data and outcomes. If a business leader finds himself or herself falling into bad habits, there is still opportunity to change and correct serious flaws that could otherwise force them out of their positions or derail a business's growth potential.

Have you evaluated your performance or the behaviors of colleagues recently? What areas can be improved upon to set a better example throughout the company?

Change Can Be Good
Recent analysis of Fortune 500 leader behaviors from Zenger Folkman suggests professionals at the height of their careers can still improve upon their performance after decades of operating in a certain way. With the increased use of collaborative technology, adoption of new corporate policies to support mobile workforces and a stronger focus on corporate wellness, many business leaders find their once successful tactics outdated today. To nurture development and demonstrate a flexibility to embrace new practices and technologies, senior leadership must continually evaluate performance and set goals to modernize decision-making activities.

According to the study, senior leaders across a variety of industries - including the financial market, academics and technology sectors - were able to increase their scores on the top attributes deemed most essential to leadership effectiveness. The improvements were made after participation in leadership development programs that introduced behaviors highly valued by companies and employees, and demonstrated modern strategies to utilize resources and manpower more effectively in achieving enterprise goals.

How Good Leaders Behave
In a piece for Forbes, Meghan Biro, leadership consultant, outlined some leadership behaviors that inspire employee trust and strengthen corporate initiatives. Because a senior executive is only as strong and successful as the employees below him or her, it is important for staff to believe in and follow leadership strategies. First and foremost, leaders should be honest with workers and not hide or avert discussing the reality of a situation. The more informed employees are on what is happening and future plans, the more loyal they will be to decision makers and supportive of major changes.

Furthermore, leaders should make sure roles and responsibilities of each employee are clearly communicated throughout a department or organization. When staff are unsure where tasks and obligations fall, there can be costly delays and disconnects that reflect poorly on leadership. In determining who is responsible for what duties, leaders should focus on creating a fair environment with open communication channels. Employees should feel rewards and promotions are offered to workers based on merit and achievements, and should feel comfortable talking to leadership when questions or concerns arise. Without an open corporate culture, employees may be left to answer questions themselves, which can lead to misunderstanding, lack of respect in leadership and a low productivity level.

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