Revealed: The 10 most common habits of ineffective leaders

Franchising expert Greg Nathan has unveiled 10 of the most common habits of ineffective leaders, after highlighting the secrets to franchise success in a new in-depth report.


Nathan, founder of the Franchise Relationship Institute, attended a workshop with business psychologist Dr Lou Stern, whom he describes as “one of the USA’s leading executive coaches”.


“He presented a fascinating list of the most common habits of ineffective leaders, based on a review of 300 high level leaders he has coached,” Nathan says.


The top five habits of ineffective leaders include being intimidating and disrespectful, being impatient, being long-winded and verbose, being indecisive, and avoiding conflict.


Nathan says the first two habits – intimidation and disrespect, and impatience – can have a huge impact on staff.


“Being intimidating and disrespectful – in other words, being a bully. While this is often not the intention, others don’t know this and it can shut them down from sharing their ideas in the future,” Nathan says.


“Being impatient… is often linked to thinking you know everything. Even if you are all-knowing and perfect, there are still benefits in listening to the views of others so they feel valued.”


According to Nathan, avoiding conflict can also have dire consequences.


“The problem is this never addresses the cause of the conflict, so it’s probably going to repeat itself,” he says.


Nathan identifies other common habits of ineffective leaders: not being strategic, being risk-averse or reckless, being non-responsive, being non-collaborative, and being inexpressive.


According to Nathan, being risk-averse or reckless are two extremes, but they can both lead to problems.


“Risk is fine as long as it is taken thoughtfully with a plan B should things go pear-shaped. Being too risk-averse can strangle opportunity and competitive advantage,” Nathan says.


“Being slow or non-responsive… can be due to thinking deeply, but not telling others that is what you are doing.”


“Often, all that is needed to break this habit is to tell others what is going on in your head.”


Meanwhile, being non-collaborative is common among people who “don’t like playing in the sandbox with others”, according to Nathan.


“[This] means everyone misses out on the benefits that come with discussion, and the natural building of an idea into something better,” he says.


For those who are guilty of being inexpressive, Nathan points out that most people can’t read minds.


“So if you don’t speak up, it can be interpreted that you are hiding information, which in turn undermines trust,” he says.


Nathan says while these habits can hurt your business, they can be changed with “insight, determination and repetition of the opposite”.


Earlier this month, the Franchise Relationships Institute released the findings of a survey of more than 1,800 Australian franchisees, all of whom completed a 210-item questionnaire.


The franchisees were asked questions about their background, work patterns, attitudes and satisfaction with the business.


Performance data was also collected independently, enabling the researchers to identify the factors driving performance and satisfaction.


The study found a franchisee’s passion for their brand is the most important factor in predicting success.


For example, a passion for the brand could make a difference of $60,000 a year to the average retail franchisee. Optimism was the next most significant predictor of financial performance.


The researchers found franchisees who possess a high level of these “success attributes” are achieving sales and profit performances 13% to 16% higher than those low on these attributes.


“This translates into about $108,000 in additional sales a year for a typical franchisee,” Nathan says.


Here’s the list of the 10 most common habits of ineffective leaders:

  1. Being intimidating and disrespectful
  2. Being impatient
  3. Being long-winded and verbose
  4. Being indecisive
  5. Avoiding conflict
  6. Being non-strategic
  7. Being risk-averse or reckless
  8. Being slow or non-responsive
  9. Being independent and non-collaborative
  10. Being inexpressive


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