Interrupting is a small behavior that causes major damage in any organization. Leaders who habitually interrupt discussions risk missing out on valuable ideas.

Ingaging Leadership

Ingaged Leadership on a Granular Level

by Evan Hackel

At a conference I attended recently, a woman came up to me and explained that my new book, Ingaging Leadership: The Ultimate Edition has helped her transform her organization from “a group of people who work together” to “a motivated team of people who really care about their company and its mission.”

I was gratified to hear that. But then she threw me something of a curveball when she asked, “Your book dwells on big, important concepts. But could you take it all down to a more granular level? Could you tell me some day-to-day, demotivational mistakes that you have seen leaders and managers make?”

I really liked her question. It got me to “focus down” and recall some specific leadership mistakes I have observed.

I had to think about her question for a few weeks. But after considering it, I recently emailed her the following list of low-level mistakes I have seen leaders make.

Mistake #1: Multitasking During Meetings

It is essential to focus during meetings. Leaders who multitask during meetings demotivate their teams by sending the message, “Lots of other things are more important than what is taking place in this session.”

Although competing priorities exist, leaders should actively engage in discussions without distractions. I recommend using what I call “Ingaged Listening.” To do that, you simply listen for what other people are saying that is right, not what is wrong. You can then discover “kernels of wisdom” that you can return to and develop with the group.

Mistake #2: Thinking You Are the Ultimate Authority on What is Said and Done

Many leaders fall into the trap of overvaluing their own expertise. While it’s essential to leverage one’s own knowledge, leaders who exclusively rely on their own expertise may hinder their team’s growth. Instead, adopting a coaching leadership style that empowers team members to develop their capabilities can be more effective.

Mistake #3: Failing to Allow Autonomy to Others

I can summarize this point by saying, “Don’t delegate work, delegate autonomy.” The more you can allow people to control, plan and shape their own activities, the better results will be. The point of coming to work, after all, is not just to have checklists and “work.” It is to believe, dream, and be curious. Leaders who control those activities instead of empowering them can never achieve inspiring results.

Mistake #4: Interrupting

This is a small behavior that causes major damage in any organization. Leaders who habitually interrupt discussions risk missing out on valuable ideas. Ingaged Listening is crucial. Leaders should take a breath before jumping in, express their opinions last, and ensure everyone has a chance to contribute.

Mistake #5: Focusing on Problems Instead of Empowerment

Of course leadership means solving problems. But Ingaged Leadership means empowering people to find solutions independently. Encouraging employees to think critically and present their ideas can lead to better outcomes.

Mistake #6: Failing to Consider that People Have Lives Outside Your Organization

Yes, you want people to “give their all” to your company. But they can only do that when they are happy and satisfied with their personal lives. There are some very simple ways to accomplish that. One is to connect with people on a personal level. Have personal discussions about their families, children, their personal enthusiasms, and priorities. The more you give to people in this way, the more they will give back to you and your organization – and the happier and more satisfied everyone will be.



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