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Wrapping up my observations about unproductive leadership styles, let me now address overachievers. For those falling into this category, you have a deep need for achievement…at any cost! Growth becomes your total focus. This is not necessarily bad unless there’s no real business vision. It can result in working around the clock as well as cutting corners and laying unrealistic expectations on your team that match your own drive. In time, you become unable to handle criticism or failure. The work you love can begin to feel hollow, superficial, and uninspiring. And any business objectives and strategies you created can lack any sense of true value. You can’t properly inspire your employees because your motives aren’t based on meaningful values that they can engage with. Your pursuit of fulfillment has replaced actual fulfillment in your life. You need to realize that the idea of outer success will not create inner fulfillment in the long run. Further, you’ll need to re-define your self-worth beyond mere achievements.

As with overachievers, disconnected business owners are very common for the simple reason that many of them never started a business to be a leader. They went to work for themselves, and managing people and building a real business came as a consequence of growth. This is common with people who have a skill, start a business and because of their success, need to bring others in to handle the demand. With new people looking for direction and structure, they feel a void because the owner is not comfortable to take on the necessary leadership role. They may be liked by their employees, but they’re offering nothing in the way of guidance, commitments, or a sense of unity. Disconnected business owners don’t want to acknowledge that issues exist and feel more comfortable keeping their head in the sand. As a result, it becomes a challenge to keep good people employed, and those who stay take advantage of the disorganization by exhibiting negative behavior such as showing up late or simply not following proper business protocol. This can lead to the business becoming a nightmare. A disconnected business owner tends to believe that harmony is more important than growth, ignorance is bliss, and avoiding confrontation and discomfort means getting along.

As I’ve been stating all along, awareness of negative behavior can lead to meaningful change. Truly changing your business means assessing yourself to discover your predominant unproductive leadership behaviors and improve your awareness of how they show up in your business. In every example I’ve given, the behavior or way of thinking that became the root cause of the owner’s frustration was automatic and unconscious, happening by default, not by decision.

If you think your leadership style could use some neutral outside observation, I’d love to speak with you. As always, our initial conversation will be without cost or obligation on your part. Just be open and ready to share. Let your guard down and be willing to accept input, knowing that it’s meant to help, not hurt.