Leadership Traits to Shed for the Next Fiscal Year


Cryptic Communication

Take a moment and consider your morning coffee. Each day, you choose the beans, the brew strength, and maybe even the milk-to-coffee ratio. Just as you tweak these elements to perfect your brew, leadership, too, requires periodic tweaking. Not every trait we pick up serves us in the long run. Some habits may turn our leadership blend bitter.

So, as the fiscal year winds down, it's an excellent time to re-evaluate the ingredients in our leadership brew. Which traits have served their purpose, and which must be left behind for a richer, smoother year ahead?

The Micromanaging Maze

The Illusion of Perfection

Every leader aspires to steer their team towards perfection. While this aspiration is commendable, the strategy employed often determines the outcome. Micromanaging, or being involved in every tiny detail, may seem like a route to flawless execution.

However, this tactic often backfires. Not only does it impede the natural flow of creativity, but it also creates a sense of mistrust. Imagine a sculptor constantly changing their artwork even before it takes shape; the result is likely a distorted, unfinished piece.

Building Trust and Autonomy

Trust, as they say, is a two-way street. Leaders who trust their teams to perform tasks independently foster a sense of responsibility among the members. This responsibility, in turn, drives team members to give their best, not out of compulsion but out of genuine commitment.

Every individual is unique and brings their flavor of innovation. When leaders give them space, these flavors merge to create something spectacular.

The Rewards of Letting Go

Letting go isn't about relinquishing control but redirecting your focus. When leaders step back from the nitty-gritty, they can focus on broader visions, strategic planning, and long-term goals.

Moreover, by empowering the team, leaders often find themselves pleasantly surprised. Teams develop novel solutions, fresh perspectives, and innovative approaches that might have remained untapped in a more restrictive environment.

Ghostly Communications

The Shadows of Silence

Think of a ship trying to navigate foggy waters without a lighthouse guiding its path. That’s what teams feel when leaders remain silent or provide inadequate information. Uncertainty breeds anxiety. An unsure team is an unproductive team.

When leaders fail to communicate, they inadvertently create a space where assumptions and speculations thrive, leading to inefficiency and potential misunderstandings.

The Art of Clarity

Just as a painter requires a clear vision before the brush meets the canvas, team members require clear instructions and expectations. This doesn’t mean spoon-feeding every detail but providing a clear, broad picture and being available for questions. Leaders must ensure they articulate their thoughts, ideas, and expectations unambiguously. This involves avoiding jargon, encouraging questions, and regularly checking in to ensure everyone's on the same page.

Fostering Open Dialogue

Leadership isn't a monologue. It’s an ongoing dialogue between the leader and their team. Leaders should cultivate an atmosphere where feedback is encouraged and actively sought. When team members feel their voice matters, they're more invested.

Regular team meetings, one-on-one sessions, and open-door policies can help keep the lines of communication vibrant and active, ensuring no one feels lost in the proverbial haunted house of silence.

The Feedback Frenzy

Navigating the Balance Beam

Feedback is one of the crucial pillars supporting the growth of any team. It's the whisper that guides, the nudge that corrects, and, at times, the applause that celebrates. However, feedback is much like a seesaw. Tip too much on one side, and you risk losing balance.

Not engaging with your team keeps you in the dark, missing essential insights. Conversely, drowning in every bit of feedback paralyzes decision-making, making leaders seem unsure and hesitant.

The Pitfalls of Excessive Feedback

Imagine being in a room with multiple voices constantly giving opinions. Confusing, isn’t it? Continually seeking feedback for every minor decision can create a chaotic environment, leading to confusion and delays. This constant questioning can inadvertently signal a lack of confidence, making it difficult for team members to rally behind a leader's vision.

Crafting Constructive Conversations

The aim isn’t to reduce feedback but to streamline it. Prioritizing which decisions require team input and which are executive decisions can help maintain this balance. Schedule regular feedback sessions and actively promote an environment where team members can voice their thoughts without fear. However, once feedback is gathered, weigh it against the broader vision and employ discernment in its application.

Delegation Disguised as Development

Understanding True Growth

Mentorship is a cherished trait of great leaders. Providing team members with opportunities to handle bigger responsibilities is commendable, and it's how new leaders are forged. However, there's a line between empowering and offloading. The former builds, while the latter burdens.

The Weight of Irresponsible Delegation

Offloading tasks indiscriminately under the cloak of “development” is deceptive and harmful. It not only shakes the team's confidence in their leader but also places team members in uncomfortable situations where they're set up for potential failure. It's like tossing someone into deep waters, expecting them to learn to swim instantaneously. This approach can strain relationships, lead to burnout, and result in sub-par outcomes.

Crafting Genuine Growth Opportunities

Leaders should take a moment to introspect the reasons behind their delegation. Is it to truly nurture or merely to lighten one’s own load? Recognizing the difference is crucial. Delegation should be strategic, with adequate support structures in place. This ensures that the individual grows from the experience, building confidence and capability while knowing that guidance is available when needed.

Missing the Empathy Element

Beyond the Business Lens

At the heart of every corporation, beyond the financial figures and strategic blueprints, are its people. They are the lifeblood that drives initiatives forward, battling challenges and celebrating milestones. Leaders often overlook this vital human component in the race to achieve targets. Leadership isn't solely about managing tasks but more about managing hearts.

The Human Touch

Empathy transcends mere understanding. It's about resonating with the feelings, concerns, and aspirations of others. Embracing empathy means being attuned to the unsaid, recognizing signs of burnout or distress, and stepping in proactively. It's about creating an environment where team members feel valued, understood, and seen beyond their job descriptions.

The Ripple Effect of Compassionate Leadership

Leaders who lead empathetically inspire trust, foster loyalty, and boost morale. A leader's compassion can ripple through the team, cultivating a culture where everyone looks out for one another. As the next fiscal year beckons, it's time to seamlessly evolve leadership that merges mind and heart.

The Ego Overdrive

The Double-Edged Sword

Pride in one's achievements is natural. It's the recognition of hard work, dedication, and determination. But, when this pride mutates into an unchecked ego, it becomes detrimental. An overinflated ego blinds, isolates, and misleads.

Success: A Shared Journey

No leader achieves success in isolation. It's always the result of collective efforts, shared dreams, and collaborated endeavors. Recognizing this fact keeps the ego in check. An acknowledgment, a thank-you note, or even a simple pat on the back can make a difference, reminding leaders that every milestone is a shared achievement.

Humility: The Silent Strength

Keeping ego in the rearview mirror ensures a clear vision as leaders tread the path forward. Humility grounds leaders and makes them approachable, fostering open conversation and mutual respect.

Fear of Vulnerability

The Myth of the Invincible Leader

The classic portrayal of leaders has often been of stoic, unflappable figures. But in reality, leadership isn't about wearing an armor of invincibility but showcasing authentic humanity.

Vulnerability: A Bridge, Not a Barrier

Admitting mistakes, seeking help, or even expressing uncertainties doesn't diminish a leader's stature. On the contrary, it makes them relatable. When team members see their leaders as fellow humans navigating challenges and learning, it builds a bond of shared experiences.

The Strength in Being Genuine

In the upcoming fiscal year, leaders must recognize that vulnerability isn't a chink in the armor but rather a badge of authenticity. It shows that a leader is self-aware, genuine, and continuously evolving. Vulnerability will guide leaders toward genuine connections and profound growth as the corporate landscape shifts.


As the fiscal year dawns, it presents an opportunity. An opportunity to introspect, to change, and to grow. In this dynamic landscape, holding onto outdated or ineffective leadership traits won’t serve us. The world is evolving, and so should our leadership styles.

By shedding these traits, we don’t just become better leaders; we become better individuals, ready to guide our teams with confidence, clarity, and compassion.

Leadership & Management
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