Submitted by: Simon Oates

Leadership is a crucial yet difficult skill. True leadership isn’t tangible, isn’t easily measured and it isn’t common. Here’s 10 reasons why you may be finding it difficult to lead a team, and yet your collegues can motivate and order team mates around with seeming ease.

1. You’ve ruined your reputation. Leadership is often as much about ‘perceived’ courage and inspiration, than substance. If people have been led to believe that a complete stranger is a very important and accomplished manager, then they are more likely to bend to their will – even if the manager in question is actually an apathetic layabout. This fact has important consequences. It means that your good reputation is everything, and you shouldn’t let it slip tempoarily lest ruin your leadership skills for some time to come.

2. You’re not asking enough. While the ultimate benefit of being a great leader is to have ‘servant-like’ subordinates who will obey your every wish – behaving like this will not improve your management skill. Rather than order your staff around like slaves, phrase orders as questions – as indirect as possible. It may still be blindingly obvious that you’re simply giving an order, not a suggestion, but your employees will appreciate that you have more respect for them than someone who would treat them like a drone.


3. You’re coming across as too obvious. Similar to point number one. If your team mates believe that you’re ‘trying’ to be a leader, rather than simply ‘being’ one – they’ll be less likely to obey you. If you read any personal development or management books, never let your collegues know about it. Although you may think that being open minded to new techniques as a manager is a good thing, these books will undermine your chances at being seen as the real deal.

4. You’re not talking from your teammates point of view. The language that appeals most to people is that of their own desires and wishes. If you want an employee to do a task, don’t endless drone on about the benefits for the ‘company’ or the shareholders. Instead speak about how it will help them personally as an individual, a career person, or a creative force! Sometimes people correctly work out how a task will benefit them, and can motivate themselves in that respect. However many workers are simply in the wrong frame of mind, and need reminding that the orders you’re giving out actually carry a benefit in some form or another for them as a person.

5. You’re not taking advantage of competitiveness. Many managers in today’s day and age shy away from using internal competitiveness among employees to drive up productivity and motivation. Competitiveness is such a powerful force that you’d be silly to soley focus on the negative issues surrounding competitive collegues. You need to set the right challenge. Challenge an employee to beat an ex-employee, or an employee at another company entirely, and you’re onto a winning strategy. Don’t set up competition intra-team however unless you want to see your star collegue turn into a cunning and sabotage-happy worker.

About the Author: Simon Oates is an expert management author who contributes to

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