What Behaviors Great Leaders Avoid

The saying goes “People don’t leave their jobs. They leave their bosses.” A survey given by BambooHR affirms that saying—44% of people said their boss was the primary reason for leaving their job. There are more job openings than there are people looking for jobs, and you want to be an employer of choice, rather than one frantically searching for employees to fill empty positions.

Look at the poor leadership and management behaviors you’ll want to avoid—and learn how to fix them.


Micromanagement is a management pattern where there is excessive supervision, control over employees’ work and processes, and limited delegation of tasks. Imagine a helicopter, circling and hovering over the same spot—in this case, micromanagers are the helicopter, and the spots they’re hovering over? Their employees. Micromanagement, in the long run, leads to a lack of trust and slows a business down.

Does the above sound like you? – For your employees to excel, give them the freedom and flexibility to complete their tasks, based on objectives and deadlines you set. Trust your employees to complete their work—and then verify that it’s been done well. “Trust but verify” can be a great way to wean yourself off micromanaging.

One-size-fits-all management style

One-size-fits-all is good for hats, but not for managing a group of employees. The one-size-fits-all employer is stuck in their ways, wants all their employees to be like them, doesn’t want to learn, and won’t invest time in helping their employees improve. Great leadership is flexible and can respond to different needs and personalities in a positive, constructive way.

Does the above sound like you? – Every employee is different, so identify their strengths and put them in the best position to use those strengths. Consider how to remove rigidity around your approach to managing the different people on your team so you can take advantage of the diverse approaches and skills each team member can offer.

Not leading by example

A good leader listens to their employees’ challenges and leads by example because they know actions speak louder than words. Employees who see their leader acting in conflict with what they’re saying will feel confused and frustrated.

Does the above sound like you? – Your employees will have great respect for you if you choose to lead by example. If you want your team to use the database for tracking sales, be the first one to enter your leads. If you want them to hold one on one meetings with their direct reports, you need to hold one on one meetings with your direct reports.

Playing the blame game

Things go wrong—no business operates on 100% perfection all the time. But as a leader, if you choose to play the blame game, you use what goes wrong to deflect blame that might come your way, and you remove the opportunity for growth.

Does the above sound like you? – Instead of playing the blame game, help focus on solutions such as professional development, reviewing/changing strategies and goals, and improving business processes. This way, mistakes result in an improved system.

Taking all the credit

Employees help keep an organization running—and they want to feel valued and appreciated for their work. In fact, lack of appreciation is a top reason why employees leave their jobs, and when you show your employees a lack of appreciation by taking the credit for their work and using them to bolster your own advancement, you will experience turnover.

Does the above sound like you? – Praise your team often, individually and as a whole, for the work that they do. Make the feedback meaningful and intentional; for example, if an employee did a good job on a challenging project, tell them! Give specifics as to what they did well.

Lacking focus

It is good to have strategies, priorities, and goals. They keep everyone on the same page and let everyone know what direction to go in. But changing things up every day, or having a disorganized company vision and goals, will leave employees feeling confused and unmotivated.

Does the above sound like you? – Meet with other leaders in your department to establish a clear vision and clear goals for what you want to accomplish, whether it’s putting new opportunities into your pipeline or adding a certain amount of revenue to your book of business. Plan each day around moving closer to those goals.

Be a strong leader

If you’re in a leadership position, you’ll always have behaviors to improve upon. You have the power to turn around and change course when necessary. When you are open-minded and willing to learn, you’ll perform better, and your employees will perform better and become more engaged at work.

Don’t be the reason your employees leave. Be the reason they want to stay.


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by milkos

Five Principles of Design and Why You Should Care

Whether you’re running a one-person or 1,000-person company, you’ve got a brand. And all brands need to be maintained and protected to do their job. With the importance of social media and digital marketing, your brand plays a significant role in your company’s relationships. It’s the face of your organization, setting the tone for your conversations and directing the attention of your prospective buyers and prospective talent.

When protecting your brand, you need to have a grasp on what to look for when evaluating your visual content —whether it’s a website, case study, or social card. It doesn’t matter if you have an in-house designer or work with a contractor to help you develop your branded content; either way, use a clear set of basic standards to evaluate the quality of your digital or print content.

Understanding these concepts has become even more crucial as DIY graphic design programs like Canva have cropped up, making it extremely easy for anyone to create branded/designed content regardless of training. Here are five basic design principles that will help you evaluate the quality of any design.

1. Consistency

One of the most fundamental concepts behind a brand is that it’s made up of similar, recognizable visual concepts. This means that brands must be repetitive in their designs to make it easy for others to recognize them and create a visual harmony that ties each piece of content together. Visual consistency and repetition help your audience identify that the individual pieces of your content belong to a larger whole.

Everything should be strictly defined—the typography/font you use, the colors, and the types of shapes and images. If your brand only consists of two colors and you need an accent color, pick one and stick with it across all your digital and physical platforms.

2. Contrast

A simple yet crucial part of design is contrast. Ask a graphic designer, and they would tell you contrast is when two strictly different elements are used together to create impact and direct the gaze. But for branded and digital content in general, contrast plays an even greater role—accessibility.

Yes, content should be visually balanced and not chaotic. It should also be clear, easy to understand, and (hopefully) visually interesting. But you should also make sure that anyone, regardless of their physical ability, can read and understand your content.

And that means ensuring high contrast between text and the background it sits on. Text shouldn’t be placed over patterns; it should be a color on the opposite end of the spectrum from the background it sits on. If you’re ever unsure, ask yourself if the text you’re looking at is as easy to read as it would be if it was black text on a white background.

The same rule should go for your logo. When used, it should always be in the highest possible contrast with the background it sits on.

Design Principal Examples

3. Alignment

Another fundamental yet significant piece that will impact the quality of your designs is alignment. To make things easy to understand, you need to use consistent and intentional alignment.

Think about the text, for instance. If you’re using center-aligned text, consider where it is on the page. Does it have a visual component it should align with? Elements can be aligned to any side they share. This could mean all elements are aligned to the left, right, top, bottom, or middle. When reviewing a piece of content, consider whether the design elements are properly and consistently aligned.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchy in design is exactly what it sounds like, the order in which different design elements should be given importance. Most often, hierarchy refers to size. It is what helps your audience organize the content on the page. Your first instinct might be to make your logo large, but ask yourself, is your logo the most important thing you want people to see? Or is it the message, call-to-action, or image?

When everything appears visually important calling for attention, then nothing is. Use hierarchy to help your viewer receive the right information in the right order.

5. Balance and space

Consider balance and space within the design. Are there elements that feel cramped? Does each element have enough space to ‘breathe’? Web designers would tell you that white space is crucial for helping viewers absorb the content presented to them. If you try to cram too much information into one space, you’ll lose their attention because that information becomes difficult for them to translate. As a rule, each of your design elements should have enough ‘white space’ around it so that it’s easy for someone to absorb the element at a glance.





Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by kengssr1980

Cultivate a Culture of Peer Recognition

Employee recognition is essential – true, but what about peer recognition?

Too many organizations rely on recognition to flow downwards, trusting their managers will see their employees’ accomplishments and voice appreciation. When leaders are the only ones practicing recognition, there’s a lot of great work that goes unnoticed. If appreciation is the most important job element for employees, why leave it to only the leaders? Peer recognition allows appreciation and gratitude to flow in all directions – across departments and locations, and even upwards.

Start cultivating a culture of peer recognition by understanding the importance, benefits, and tips to facilitate recognition in your organization.

Importance of peer recognition

There’s no need to abandon traditional top-down recognition – employees value appreciation from leadership. Instead, complement it with peer recognition because this newer, more collaborative approach has different benefits that help individuals and organizations thrive. The most common benefits are that peer recognition:

Strengthens teams and relationships

When people rely on top-down recognition, it creates a competitive environment. On the other hand, peer acknowledgment fosters a sense of team spirit and cooperation that increases the probability of a constructive team culture by 2.5x! The shared gratitude sets a positive attitude for the company culture, encouraging everyone to work together and achieve company goals.

Improves confidence and self-esteem

When employees receive feedback from a fellow team member, it holds an increased level of validation and pride. They recognize their worth and impact, boosting confidence and self-esteem in later projects. Public recognition also allows leaders to see what they may have been missing and enhance the value of each of their employees’ skills and abilities. The cycle of positivity sustains confidence and produces high-performance teams.

Increases positive emotions and well-being

Peer recognition and gratitude are regularly associated with happiness. So it makes sense that it’s one of the simplest ways to make employees happy, optimistic, and satisfied at work.

The positive emotions affect people’s work lives and also enhance their well-being because happiness increases health. You’ll notice employees have better physical health, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

These benefits help organizations thrive because employees become more engaged, productive, present, and efficient. Most importantly, peer recognition leads to satisfaction and can help reduce employee turnover, as 75% of people say that recognition makes them want to stay at their current job longer.

Create a culture of peer recognition

Companies need to cultivate a culture that values and encourages employees to practice peer recognition if they want to experience the benefits. First, consider setting guidelines for giving praise and then implement a peer recognition program that reflects these guidelines. This could be a platform, such as Slack or Teams, specifically designed to assist peers with giving and receiving recognition or feedback.

Companies can also encourage employees to recognize others through LinkedIn endorsements. Let’s say a team works well together; they can go to each other’s profiles and validate the skills listed by “endorsing,” writing a recommendation, or using the “Celebrate an occasion” option when creating a new post. These are quick and simple steps that show appreciation and can help an employee in their career path.

Leaders should also engage in the peer recognition program’s celebrations because they provide important validation and show that the company cares when they’re involved. Leaders’ involvement is a great way to remind team members of the value and impact they can make when they recognize their peers.

Tips to apply

Recognition and appreciation don’t come easily to everyone. Some people may be “recognition champions,” while others need to be coached on how to give recognition effectively. You can help guide your team by sharing and modeling these best practices for giving recognition:

Timely: One golden rule for recognition is to share appreciation as soon as possible. Effective recognizers don’t sit on it for weeks; they observe and congratulate others right away. Praising someone in the moment is powerful because it shows that you’re paying attention and care.

Genuine: Adding scheduled recognition to your calendar becomes a transaction or chore. Recognition should be authentically earned and given, not something to check off your to-do list. Genuine gratitude makes sharing more effortless, and people will notice your sincerity. 

Specific: A simple note saying, “Great job on that project!” can make a person smile. What if you were more specific and said how they did a great job? You’ll put a smile on their face for days! A helpful tip is to connect their success with why it matters to you, the team, and the organization. The more specific, the more impactful the message will be.

Public: Peer recognition is best when done publicly. You can do this within a department, team, or across the company. The public spotlight turns the moment into a heartfelt experience of gratitude and encourages others to hop on the bandwagon. It also helps leaders be aware of the great work they can’t see every day and shows others what the company values, inspiring them to do the same.

Help people and company culture thrive

Leaders cannot do and see everything, especially when the company is growing and expanding. This makes it even more important to emphasize peer recognition in their company cultures. Recognition is not only your responsibility—it’s a gift to share and encourage throughout an organization.

When companies practice peer recognition, everyone is more aware of the great work around them. Feedback starts to flow freely throughout the organization, and the atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation creates a transformation. People begin giving themselves wholeheartedly, freely, and cheerfully.

Consider finding ways to weave recognition into the fabric of your organization and be ready to see a snowball of benefits that help individuals and the organization thrive!


Content provided by Q4iNetwork and partners

Photo by fizkes