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4 things you’re doing that unintentionally hurt your healthy corporate culture

Here are some of the most counterintuitive leadership mistakes I’ve fallen victim to.

Making a mistake as a leader is never fun. You unintentionally embarrass a co-worker in front of the team. Or you brush off what you thought was a minor issue… only to watch it balloon into something huge weeks later.

I’ve been there. Haven’t we all?

But perhaps the leadership mistakes that hurt the most are the ones that you keep on doing, over and over, because you have no idea they’re actually hurting — not helping — your team.

Over the past four years, here’s what I’ve seen to be the most overlooked and surprisingly leadership mistakes to make. They’re ones I’ve been guilty of myself 🙂

Learn from my mistakes. Here are four things to change now

Do not ask, “How can I help you?”

Ever catch yourself saying that? I know have — it seems like something a leader should ask to promote a healthy corporate culture. But resist the urge. It’s lazy, it puts the pressure on the employee and it’s vague. Instead, shape a specific question, such as “Am I interrupting you too much during the day with meetings and requests?”

Break your addiction of measuring employee engagement.

Do you want insight and truth, or numbers and graphs? If you want to know if people are unhappy, ask them. If you want to know if people are getting along with their manager, ask them. Stop wasting time trying to quantify your company’s corporate culture. Just ask.

Kill your culture of “nice”.

Yes, really. A company culture of “nice” dilutes the truth. You don’t hear bad news until it’s really bad. You wait to recognize a problem only after it’s festered and ballooned into something serious. As a leader, you’re charged with embracing and showing that honesty and kindness are not mutually exclusive.

Stop relying on anonymous feedback.

Anonymous feedback is counterproductive and dangerous for your corporate culture. The whole point of feedback is to do something about it. If you don’t know who gave the feedback, then how can you act on it? How can you change anything you were doing previously if you don’t know the specifics of what you should be changing?

If you can avoid doing these four things, your company culture — and your employees — will be in much better shape. You won’t be accidentally holding back your team, when you’re trying to lift them up.

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Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Canopy. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work. Say hi to me on Twitter at @clairejlew.