Here’s part two from Dan Rockwell on “Enemies of team vitality” that leaders must avoid.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell


Leaders who suck the life out of people promote failure and embrace defeat.

The first four enemies of vitality:

#1. Distrust.

#2. Disrespect.

#3. Proper channels.

#4. Excluding the outside.

Posted here.

4 more enemies of vitality:

#5. Isolation: the message that others don’t matter

3 ways ineffective leaders practice isolation:

  1. Avoid the front-line. Hang with the upper crust.
  2. Mandate don’t communicate.
  3. Make policies when something goes wrong rather than using values as guides.

#6. Favoritism: discouragement for the masses. Energy for the favorites.

Leaders play favorites when they:

  1. Believe they’re above flattery. “… we have a craving for anything that makes us feel good about ourselves. We’ll go to great lengths to get positive feedback, … .” (HBR, July 2010)
  2. Give cushy assignments based on the brown-nose index. (Those who brown-nose the most are at the top of the brown-nose index.)
  3. Promote suck ups. The more someone kisses up, the more likely they are to move up.

Suck-ups get ahead because flattery works.

#7. Lousy meetings: insulting the brains around the table

Talkative leaders suck the life out of meetings.

Rule of thumb: The leader of any meeting speaks no more than 25% of the time. (15 minutes in a 60 minute meeting.)

  1. Assign agenda items to team members.
  2. Create discussion by asking everyone to give one reason why the idea on the table won’t work. Turn the tables and ask everyone to give one reason the idea should be adopted.
  3. Call on quiet team members. If the person is an introvert, give them prep time. “Wilma, would you prepare to address item #2 on tomorrow’s agenda?”

The worst romance is infatuation with the sound of your own voice.

#8. Cowardice: playing it safe is rewarded with advancement

Cowardly leaders:

  1. Can’t make decisions.
  2. Hide behind policy.
  3. Throw people under the bus.

Cowardly leaders suck the life out of people who want to get something done.

Which one of the eight enemies of vitality is most deadly?

What leadership behaviors suck the life out of people?