You may be wondering one of two things; “what exactly is a selfish leader” or “I definitely know a leader who is a selfish person”. This article will help you understand what we mean by a selfish leader from a performance viewpoint and hopefully, provide tips that will help you be the opposite; an effective leader.

Our perception (or even definition) of a selfish leader is a leader who refrains from sharing their knowledge or skills with their staff because they believe it will pose a threat to their position/job security and will cause them to lose control of their subordinates. This may seem a bit extreme, but there are some people in leadership roles who think this way. This way of thinking can stem from a previous job situation, witnessing a leader lose their position to a subordinate, or simply from lack of training and understanding of what a true and effective leader is.

Here are 7 ways to avoid being a Selfish Leader

1.       Share your knowledge and expertise with your staff:
This can only help you, your team and the organization. The more knowledge you share with your staff, the better equipped they are to perform at the standard you expect of them. In addition, offering your guidance and expertise as a leader also shows your staff a level of commitment to their growth. A leader who has a great performing team is one who teaches their team to perform greatly.

2.       Allow feedback and input from your staff:

Your staff wants to be heard and you should want to hear them. Many great ideas, solutions and beneficial process changes in workplaces come from the staff. Getting feedback from your staff can act as a motivator as well. If your staff feels that their feedback is valued, they are more inclined to perform at a higher standard.

3.       Take the time to carefully consider ideas and suggestions from your staff and incorporate them if they’re beneficial to the team or project:
Once you receive feedback from your staff, please carefully consider them. Just as receiving feedback from your staff can be a motivator for them; not considering it can instantly demotivate them. Don’t create an environment where your staff is reluctant to share insight or suggestions because they don’t see change or implementation taken seriously by management.

4.       Be willing to participate in training programs (internal & external) to sharpen and develop your leadership skills:
Developing yourself as a leader should be consistent and a priority. As your staff follows you, you can control what they observe by ensuring that you are performing in the most effective way possible. Take the time to read books, participate in webinars, conferences, training, etc. to develop your leadership skills. Your participation doesn’t have to be extreme, timely or costly; simply effective.

5.       Encourage your staff to develop themselves professionally and provide them with resources to do so:
As you’re continually taking action to develop yourself as a leader, encourage your staff to do the same. Introduce resources to them that can help their performance and career development. Leaders should be as equally focused on developing their staff the same as they develop themselves.

6.       Always offer assistance to your staff and make the effort to correct issues:
Don’t be too busy to assist your staff. Although there are many hindrances and problems that may occur in the workplace, your staff isn’t one of them. Be cognizant of their needs, concerns and issues, and help resolve them. An abandoned staff will soon lose trust in their leader and this can cause communication barriers among other performance conflicts.

“The performance of your staff is a direct result of how you influence them”

7.       Release control, offer influence:
Simply put, leadership is influence. The performance of your staff is a direct result of how you influence them. Yelling demands and threats to them won’t ensure that the tasks will be done accurately. Likewise, doing the opposite of what you expect of them won’t yield the best results either. Your performance as a leader is what will motivate them, what will be an example to them and ultimately, what they will mirror. Show initiative, teamwork, concern, problem-solving, collaborative communication, an interest in professional development (just to name a few attributes), and you’ll witness a shift in their behaviors. Release control tactics and offer great influence for your staff to model. The positive results of this will be quite noticeable.