Leaders are always hearing a lot of, “You should do this” and not enough, “You should stop doing this.” Probably because people are usually too afraid to challenge them, even if it is for their own good. Luckily, we aren’t scared to say it. Here are 5 things leaders should stop doing in 2022.
Photo credit: Barbara
As leaders, we are always finding new ways to do better by developing new strategies and ideas, particularly at the beginning of a new year. We will focus on implementing our plans, achieving goals, and executing new ideas, but rarely do we reflect on things we should stop doing.
Often, leaders will develop certain patterns and habits during their tenure, which can either be beneficial or detrimental to their leadership. Some leaders may not know that whatever they are doing is not working, so they will keep doing the same thing expecting good results.
This is why it is important for leaders to know what they should stop doing to improve - if they are open to constructive feedback. So here are five things leaders should stop doing in 2022 to help them be better and do better.
1. Stop thinking you know everything
A big part of being a leader involves giving others the encouragement and space to think of new ideas, solve problems, and even fail sometimes. Some people in leadership roles might feel the need to show everyone why they are in charge. Such leaders will make hasty decisions without consulting anyone and disagree with other people’s ideas or answers. This ends up fostering a “yes-man” culture.
As a leader, you should stop thinking you are the smartest in the room and take feedback, wisdom, and advice whenever you can get it. Remember you have a team of smart and capable people and they too have something to offer. Allow them to contribute, think, offer solutions, and even fail. This helps everyone to grow and learn what works and what doesn’t.
Once you realize that It is okay not to have all the answers, you’ll be able to take other people’s counsel. In the same breath, seek knowledge by networking with other leaders, reading articles, listening to podcasts, or through mentorship.
2. Stop worrying about pleasing everyone
This is another thing leaders should stop doing if they want to be successful in their roles. It will be hard to lead people when you are trying to make them to like you. You will make decisions that no one likes and people will misunderstand you as a leader which is harder if you’re seeking popularity. However, you need to be willing to take big risks, have uncomfortable conversations, and do what no one wants to. On the other hand, this does not mean you should be indifferent or act like you do not care. It just means doing the right thing for everyone, regardless of how unpopular your actions are.
3. Stop comparing your success
As a leader, you are on a unique journey with the goal to do your best and improve on yourself. Essentially, you will gauge your success based on your own self-awareness and values. This is why leaders should stop comparing themselves to others in similar roles. Your leadership will succeed in different ways from others and sometimes you will also fail when others are winning. You should expect to continuously make improvements in your leadership role in order to grow and achieve your version of success. No one is perfect, but the best we can do is learn from any setbacks we encounter or mistakes we make.
The key is to remain optimistic and have a positive attitude. If you hold high standards for yourself, then do what’s necessary to meet them without constantly looking over your shoulder to see what others are doing.
4. Stop being a lone wolf
Leadership tends to be a lonely journey but walking it alone is not necessarily the answer. This is why leaders should not spend all their time alone. I know most introverts are quaking in their boots, but this is a hard pill you’ll need to swallow.
If you tend to isolate, then you may want to try building connections with others in order to establish a strong support system. Good leaders surround themselves with people to support them and hold them accountable for what they do. Relationships are the lifeblood of any organization and as a leader, you should invest in them to pave the way for success. This way, other people will also invest in your leadership for the better.
5. Stop putting off difficult conversations
If you have been in a leadership role for a while, then you know that there is always a difficult conversation to be had. Putting them off only does you more harm than good, which is why leaders should stop avoiding those uncomfortable conversations. Most of the time what happens is you think about how difficult it will be and this drains your energy while making the problem much bigger.
Of course, tough conversations are difficult to have but you can’t avoid them forever. It is okay to take some time to think about it and prepare for the conversation so that hopefully things go smoothly and you don’t burn any bridges. If you do the necessary preparation and just have that conversation, you will be relieved that you did it. Things might even go better than expected.
As you were reading this, you may have realized you were guilty of doing one or two things on this list. This just tells you what behaviors to eliminate from your life and how to readapt to become a better leader. After all, leadership is all about guiding the way for your team to achieve success. This involves finding new ways to stimulate growth and development for you and your people so that no one is left behind.