How To Correct Three Leadership Habits That Destroy Culture

These three leadership habits destroy culture because they support drama-based responses to conflict.

Hiding behind policies

How many policies do you have that were created in response to the behavior of a few people? Rather than confront the behavior with healthy conflict, some leaders hide behind the policy. This sends the the message that we don’t trust most people and we won’t deal directly with problem behavior.


  • Talk directly to the people about their behavior.
  • Engage them in a solution to change it.
  • Get clear about what’s expected.
  • Only resort to policy-making if the behavior is wide-spread and goes against your mission.

Moving people around to avoid conflict

It’s appropriate to move people to find a better fit for their skills and goals. However, if leaders deal with attitude, communication and behavior problems by moving people around to different jobs or departments, the leader should be fired. Soft-skills deficits don’t fix themselves by moving people around. It’s a leader’s responsibility to deal with it, not shift responsibility to another leader.


  • Talk directly to the person. Share how you feel and describe the impact their behavior is having on the team and the company.
  • Engage them in a corrective plan.
  • Get clear about the desired outcomes and consequences if behavior doesn’t change.
  • Then follow through while you support the person in making changes.

Trying to be the hero

A leader’s job is not to rescue her employees. You may have been promoted because you knew a lot and could solve problems. That was then. Now, your job is to inspire others to learn and grow and take initiative.


  • Foster a safe place where employees can tell you how they are doing and what they need.
  • Encourage healthy risk-taking and help them learn from failure.
  • Be a resource, but don’t do it for them. Stay out of their way.
  • Clarify goals, standards, and priorities and communicate these to your employees.

Want more on this topic? Listen to my podcast with Justin Brady on the Creativity Cultivator.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC, 2018

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