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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

15 Destructive Leadership Behaviours - Part 2

This is the transcript for the concluding part of a special two-part episode, on the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, where Steve Armstrong continues to share his insights and experiences of 15 Destructive Leadership Behaviours he's admittedly shown, but is now adept at recognising and taking mitigating action against. He knows firsthand the damage they can do to a leader, employees and organisations as a whole.

In the second half of this honest and frank interview, he hopes others, both young and old, experienced or inexperienced, can avoid these pitfalls by listening to the advice he shares, based on his own mistakes.

You can find the transcript for the first half of the episode here, or listen to episode 1 here, and episode 2 here.

Two spectacle-wearing men, on a podcast, talking about destructive leadership behaviours
Steve Armstrong (left) and Andy Goram (right) continue their discussion around 15 Destructive Leadership Behaviours

Episode Introduction

00:00:00 Andy Goram

Hi, Andy. Here just a quick note to say that you're now listening to part two of the Steve Armstrong episode on destructive leadership behaviours. If you haven't listened to part one yet, I'd suggest you go back and do that before continuing. Cheers.

00:00:28 Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky From The Inside, the employee engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tons more success for everyone.

This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode, we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others, because they love what you do and why you do it. So, if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.

15 Destructive Leadership Behaviours Continued

00:01:28 Andy Goram

Hello and welcome back to part two of this episode. Last time out, we'd covered ten of Steve Armstrong’s 15 destructive leadership behaviours. In this episode, Steve continues to take us through the remaining ones, sharing his honest and frank examples of where they have tripped him up during his career, hoping that by sharing his mistakes and what he's learned, others will tread a very different path. So, let's crack on with number eleven.

Avoiding Work Loneliness and Trusting Your Team

00:02:03 Steve Armstrong

I think something I learned is that somebody once told me early doors in my career, when I became a multi-site leader, somebody told me quite early on, and it was one of the most throwaway bits of advice I think I've ever had, but one of the most impactful. And it was the no matter how good you are, they don't want you anywhere near them. And I thought, that's right that. So, I always strived to… well I saw that as a challenge. So, I thought, well, I don't want to live like that. I actually want people to look forward to me coming to the business and feeling that, yeah, I'm probably going to have an intense day because he’s in, but I'm going to go away feeling much more calibrated, aligned and on the right track, and be accurate in my appraisal of where things are at. But I do think that deep down there are a lot of leaders who don't understand the concept of you need to be there when you’re needed, but not there when you're not.

And if you're one of those always-around bosses, that's a destructive culture that you've got to swerve. I think sometimes you've then got to question,

Well, why am I always around?”

Because I think there are a lot of people… I've met, people absolutely fear being alone, professionally. They're uncomfortable with that. I'm brilliant at being on my own. I really do sometimes have no problem of not phoning people, not being in meetings, not being present, if I'm not needed, because I want to give people that room to breathe, to feel trusted.

00:03:43 Steve Armstrong

But I've always, I think, created a culture where if stuff's going to hit the fan, and that phone rings, I'll be on it. Or if I don't pick it up, that phone, I will ring them back within a certain period of time. But I think being reliant on groups and being reliant on being surrounded by individuals, I think you've got to just avoid that in a leadership position. Understand that no matter how good you are, people need a break from you. People need a breather from you. And give them that room. Give them that room to just get on with their job. And even when you feel like you're doing the nice stuff. Bosses, when they've dived in the car at 05:00 and they ring you and they say, “I'm in the car for the next couple of hours, I thought I'll give you a quick ring.” Well, I'm not in the car for the next couple of hours, thanks. I'm busy. Sometimes people mean well with this sort of stuff. But don't fear being out of the group, or out of the team, or out of the, you know, be confident that you can dip in and out.

00:04:55 Steve Armstrong

Because eventually if you create that always-there-presence, eventually you don't have a presence at all. You're just furniture. And I still think that in amongst any leadership culture, you as a boss, or a leader, you want to have that impact of “The boss is here”, or “I'm around here”. And I don't mean that in a negative way. You want people to feel like this is a big day for the business, or we need to listen here. We need to learn here. We need to sort of focus on our plans and our strategies here. Not just

Oh, he's in again”, or “She's turned up again, she's always here, don't know what she does, don't know what he thinks, don't know what he does.”

You see that all the time and you just think, leave them be. Don't be there if you're not needed, but be right there when you are. And hopefully your routine of getting to chat to people frequently and just rely on that. I learned very quickly that I could comfortably not speak to people who reported to me for a reasonable period of time, because I knew that I trusted them. I think they trusted me but I wasn't going to go imposing me, or my time upon them when they've obviously got other things to do.

00:06:23 Steve Armstrong If you're a boss worth anything, your people will be busy and focused and engaged because you've done your job. If you're then having to constantly follow them up and mither them with phone calls, because you're in the car for the next 2 hours, or just sort of check in and see how you are type-of-thing. People do these with the best of intentions but again, it feels like wasted time on stuff that's not really going to add huge value. People will always respectfully say, “Yeah I'm fine, how's your day been?” And then they'll sit on the phone chatting to you for an hour about nothing. You put the phone down and go mither somebody else, they're now an hour behind in whatever it was they were doing. You've got to be mindful of that. And there's nothing wrong with a bit of work loneliness when it comes to multi-site, or boss leadership. Don't be scared of being alone or out of the loop on stuff.

00:07:18 Andy Goram

Definitely not. Definitely not. Let's just take a little pause there, let's just recap where we got to. So we sort of follow. I'm trying to keep up.

00:07:27 Steve Armstrong

Yeah, I'm trying to remember what I haven't said yet.

00:07:30 Andy Goram

So I've got number six, wasting time on stuff that doesn't matter, living in the past, resenting others’ successes, avoiding throwing in the towel early, or rather if it's a destructive behaviour, throwing the towel in early, playing the blame game. And the last one we talked about just then, being that always-around-leader. And I look at some of those and I think that wasting time on stuff that doesn't matter. That plays back beautifully, to me at least, in being very clear about two things. Those common goals we've all got, right, ahead of us. Where the direction is and how I play my part in it. And that second part of how I play my part in it. What's my job and what's expected of me? And actually, do I know what's important? Or am I just kind of going through stuff? That's incredibly important? And when you start to talk about playing the blame game, or leaders, particularly playing that blame game, sometimes people need to remember that leadership is a proper privilege. And with it comes actually some wonderful things. All the people stuff is brilliant when you get it right. There are perks associated with it. You get to do some amazing things and work with some amazing people. But with it comes different responsibilities.

If things go well, it'll be your team that get all the praise. If things hit the fan you're going to have to fess it up. You're going to have to front it out. That's just part and parcel of it.

Leadership Accountability and Responsibility

00:09:06 Steve Armstrong

Yeah, it is. But I think that's when I think the great leaders shove themselves to the front of the queue. Responsibility can lie elsewhere, but accountability often really doesn't. And I think understanding the two things being different, I think, is important. Yeah, I think the piece but again, it's part of this psychological contract that you create with your employees and your team members and your peers and everyone around you, that people can trust. And just because it's not written in some kind of formal policy, or some kind of job description that you sign, it still exists. And I think once people know they've got this contract with you as their boss, or as their leader, or whatever, that element of trust then, I think, gets further strengthened and becomes more deep rooted that it makes steering people away from some of these things that you consider to be destructive of your plan or of your strategy, it makes the steering of people away from that easier, because they trust you. And as I said, I've got as many things wrong as I have right. But I think people will always trust the fact that my process was good, and they'll trust that when it does come out the wash the wrong way, I'll be the one at the front of the queue going… maybe people pile into this when you post it on wherever it is, you post it online, and there might be a lot of comments below it going, “Well, I disagree with that”, but I'd like to think that most people would understand that I honoured what I said I was going to do there.

00:10:57 Andy Goram

Why would you argue against that?

00:11:00 Steve Armstrong

Yeah. But again, it's something I encourage. This is what I was trying to get across to that young audience that we spoke to late into the evening. The earlier that these guys recognise that and understand that, the more chance they've got of not just success, because I think success has to be balanced with, am I enjoying the end product of being successful? And again, I challenge people to ask themselves,

What will success look like further down in your career?”

I've told you what mine is. It ain't materialistic, or it ain't a position, or it ain’t I’ve reached this stage of wherever. It's what proportion of people, when asked to describe the best boss they've ever had, how many people would either say me, or how many of them would throw my name into the conversation? That's how I would determine success. How many people in your life say, “He’s good lad, him.” What proportion of people that you meet and engage with would have that opinion of you? And I don't think being a good lad or, “Yeah! She's a good girl.” I don't think it's a high bar. I think it's not a particularly taxing thing to set yourself. I think it's an easy thing to be. To sustain it over five decades, that's where the challenge comes in with that one. But I think the same applies to your work life.

00:12:25 Andy Goram

Yeah, look 100%. I think if you can get to combine being perceived like that and somebody recognising that you helped them achieve more than they thought they could achieve, that's a heady combination for me. That's where I think you win, right? That's where I think you win.

I think, by my reckoning… well, I've got four unless you've blended some.

00:12:50 Steve Armstrong

If we end up with 14 just change the tile.

00:12:53 Andy Goram

Yeah. I'll just change the tile.

The Cost of Repeating Mistakes

00:12:56 Steve Armstrong Repeating mistakes is unforgivable. And I think more than once is a choice. It's a failure to learn from experience. It's a failure to take responsibility for previous action. And I think that continuing to go down that road does… because I think that's then when, as a leader, you get called into question by members of teams.

Are you going to let this carry on? Where's the sanction for this?”

But I also think it's an important thing to sort of look at as well when things don't go to plan and you've gone through that analysis of what went the wrong direction, what actions did you take as a result of that? You're also calling yourself into questionnaire as well as a leader.

If you've gone through that right correction process, where you've got to the root cause of what happened here and put the right things in place, there's elements of that, that I think fall to yourself, but I think you've got to take a dim view of just repeating things that cause either harm not physical harm, but professional harm to colleagues or harm to a guest experience. You can't keep allowing that to occur in organisations everywhere. If you've ever found yourself looking at some situation, or looking at an individual, if that's the case, and if we've been here before, you've got to start to take a pretty dim view of that. There's always going to be circumstances that don't work out. And I think where people just can't listen and learn from experiences that's problematic.

00:14:45 Steve Armstrong

Experiences are fine if the outcome is wrong, if they're going to be gained from. But if there's no gain from going through some of these pain barriers, then you've got to start questioning suitability of either the strategy, or potentially individuals, or even yourselves in leadership roles. But I think if you start asking yourself, “Not again!” That's got to be ironed out. I think so. I think, again, repeating mistakes is hugely destructive because I think eyes wander to more than one person when that occurs. And I think that at some point, patience is going to wear very thin. Tolerance is going to pretty much extinguish itself, and what you end up left with then, more often than not, isn't a nice situation. Because I think managing performance and coaching performance is a buzz.

But I'd say there can't be anybody in the world who enjoys taking somebody all the way down the road that involves them moving on. I don't care who you are, if you do enjoy taking people down that road, then you're a professional masochist who's got no place in leadership. But it is unfortunately, an inevitable outcome sometimes of… and listen, sometimes the circumstances that create that, as I said before, they're not down to an individual, they're down to situation, sometimes. But, yeah, I think there's got to be an understanding that if we keep shooting ourselves in the foot over the same thing, that there's got to be a sanction to that.

Destructive Behaviour and Responsibility

00:16:26 Steve Armstrong

And I just think the destructive behaviour is not having the sanction. Not having the “Look, there's got to be some kind of responsibility taken for this.” Just letting it carry on and carry on isn't acceptable. We wouldn't accept it from pilots, surgeons, jobs where the outcome of repeating mistakes in their world is more significant than it is ever going to be in mine. But I think the concept still applies. Yeah, that one was one.

Lack of Self-Awareness and Its Consequences

00:17:02 Steve Armstrong

I think LinkedIn is just about my least favourite place on the planet and I use that, and again, that's my personal opinion, and I don't think it's necessarily that of the organisation of LinkedIn, but the lacking of self-awareness that gets displayed on there sometimes is just astounding. And I think that people who are trying to give people inspiration and going on about how they've seized the day, and how they used to be this, that and the other. But they're sat there either in the first-class cabin on the train, or they've got the Ferrari steering wheel very visible, or the Rolex watch on display. And you just think,

Read the room, man. Read the room. Read the world.”

And just understand that there's people out there who just aren't having a great time. And some of your constant pronounces of how great are we? It's just not fair or right or appropriate.

And just this lacking self-awareness, or making about you as an individual, certainly in a senior position, is unforgivable behaviour for me. And I think it undermines leaders. And I think it's just… certainly today post COVID, people are a lot more fragile than they've ever been. People are a lot more worried and less secure than they've ever been. Even people in jobs that are good. And for the first time, they've had that real derailment in life, where they've suddenly seen what having nothing can look like. And even what's been left behind with the cost of living, inflations, mortgages, everything else. Just understand the rest of the world before you start putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, as it is nowadays, with stuff like your seize the day inspirational chats, or look at us, we're doing great. Just read the room and just have a bit more self-awareness.

00:19:08 Steve Armstrong

And I think lacking not just self-awareness, but your inability to read what everyone else might be thinking and going through at this time. You can have the best intentions in the world, but if you get that wrong, and it's perceived wrong. Because what you've said might not be what's read. What you've said, might not be what's heard. And LinkedIn is full of that. There's so much stuff on there that I think is ill-timed, ill-thought out, and that's passing into people's feeds and timelines as part of a wider piece. These sites are epically helpful. But again, the concept of

What am I on here for? What am I doing on here? What is the purpose of me doing it?”

It started off as somewhere to connect to. Now it's just the ultimate professional sales room and the ultimate house of blaggers and people who want to show off that I think I've ever seen. And I find that abhorrent. Sometimes it's more magnified. I use LinkedIn as an example because it's more magnified, because it's there and it can reach millions. But I've seen that type of behaviour within leaders and within organizations before, where the leader wants to be seen exactly that. Which is fine, but you've just got to be a little bit more mindful of what's going on elsewhere in the world. And I think any leader that lacks self-awareness about their actions and how that might be seen to other people, and also their inability to read the room, particularly this room, and when I say this room, I mean the current state of the world.

00:21:04 Andy Goram

Yeah, no, I get you.

00:21:07 Steve Armstrong

I think that, more than anything else, can undo all your credibility in a short space of time. I find it very interesting that people choose certain backdrops or they choose to talk about things within their professional life. I think they choose their backdrops very carefully. I've got a plain wall here. I've seen people stood in front of mansions having these conversations. Fine, enjoy your life, but don't go ramming all of that down their throats.

00:21:37 Andy Goram

I thought the interesting thing over COVID was how many libraries in people's houses started to come through. And look at all the books. Look how well read I am as an individual.

00:21:46 Steve Armstrong

Yeah, it was always very funny that, when people clearly hadn't done the “I just need to check what's on the shelf here before the camera starts.”

00:21:53 Andy Goram

All my Jilly Coopers would be on plain view for everybody, mate. That's the reality of the situation.

Humility in Leadership

00:21:59 Steve Armstrong

Yeah, I don't think I did any. My position at home is there's no visible bookcase. They'd have been able to see everything I've ever coloured in, if they'd seen mine. But, again, I don't want that to be sort of detrimental to people who use these platforms for the right reason. But I think leadership sometimes, well, all the time, should come with some humility. By all means, enjoy whatever success materialistically life gets given to you from being good at what you do. But just be mindful of where you put it. Whether that be out and about in those kind of online circles, or even out and about in the office, or around the workplace. There's a right way to I think to but yeah, that was certainly one.

Thinking The World Owes You A Living

I think the other thing that I do think, though, having just said that, this may sound a little bit contradictory compared to what I've just said, but I just think that sometimes people think that companies, businesses, or the world owes them a living. And it just doesn't. And thinking the world owes you something, or the business owes you something, I just think is an unhealthy culture.

Whether that be something that everybody thinks or you as a leader thinks, I think deep down, if you graft hard on the right stuff, and I think if you stay true to your values professionally, and you by and large execute what's asked of you, and you are surrounded by people who will actively champion you for what you stand for, I think whatever you’re owed will be due, and will come organically. If stuff isn't coming your way, then it's highly likely that there'll be a reason for that. And it's highly likely that it'll be linked to something that is down to something that is within your control.

00:24:00 Steve Armstrong And I see it particularly… I've seen it a lot, saw it a lot early. And again, I say this because I've done that. There's been times in my job where, I've said before, all of these behaviours are things I've done. I recognised early doors in my life, that these things are things that you should just not do. And that's certainly something that I felt,

Well, I should have been promoted here”, or “That person should have been. Why not? What's going on here?”

Sometimes businesses and organizations they just make decisions that sometimes don't suit you and that's just the way it is, unfortunately. But sitting there thinking you’re due something, or you owed something. You might well be, but it ain't healthy to be sitting there dwelling on that, and festering on that, and letting that eat away at you. Because that's then going to eat away at the way you do your job. And when you, as a leader of people, whether you're the boss of one person, ten or a thousand, if you're impacted in a negative way, then that's going to impact on them. So, I think feeling like that is fine, but acting like it isn't healthy and it can undo so many things. And I do think that feeling like you’re owed something is a behaviour that will destroy the cultures and the teamwork and the spirit and the bonds that you built within.

00:25:35 Steve Armstrong

I'd like to think that sometimes most people do end up where their talent, where their ability suggests it should. Sometimes you have to change organisation to fulfil that, and sometimes you have to move into different roles to fulfil that. But I think, by and large, you end up in the right place. But sometimes other people get chosen before you do, and sometimes what you feel you're due now, actually comes further down the line.

I festered on one role that I didn't get. But it's like when I look back, it was because, if you look at all measurements and KPIs, I mean, there was no other person for the job other than me, according to me. And I was wrong. But I think the business made a decision there, that when I look back, I think that's the kind of decision I'd have made. Because it was about me being the end benefactor. I wasn't the benefactor of that decision. I don't think I sulked for too long about it. But I did feel hard done by, and I felt,

Well, I'm owed this. My performance over the last two or three years, as is evidenced in every measurement, suggests that.”

And the thing I hated more was the impact I had on my team because I felt I was owed something. And still to this day, I won't forgive myself for the way I was for two or three days over that. I mean, it doesn't sound like a long period of time, but yeah, you're not owed anything, unfortunately.

00:27:03 Andy Goram

I think that is it. The world does not owe you a living. It's just the way the world works, right? Some things work. Sometimes it's your time. Sometimes it's not your time.

00:27:15 Steve Armstrong

I think you owe yourself more than I think anybody else, or any organisation can owe you. And I think my message to it is, don't wait until you get to your 50s to work that out. This is what we tried to tell that room the other night. We tried to tell that room, that was predominantly full of people in their… I want to say late 20s, early 30s. And we tried to champion that. Listen, don't get to the later years of your life before you start to realise all of this sort of stuff, because it'll be a colossal shame and a lot of wasted professional time,

00:27:51 Andy Goram

Which will be an absolute waste.

00:27:53 Steve Armstrong

Absolutely. And the one thing I would say, and I think it was credit to the job that you guys had done. As much as that was a really good evening and a good talk, they had to be in the frame of mind to want to listen to that. I think that speaks volumes about whatever it was you guys had done throughout the week. And certainly the barriers that you clearly had to break down to get them to sort of… because you've got to get past them. Not only… I think the first phase, that you often go through those type of groups is the one where, first of all, they don't understand why they're there, and then when they work out why they're there, they start to think, “Well, hang on, never mind me. What about my boss? He doesn't do any of this sort of stuff.” (Exactly)

So you don't have long times with these groups when you're in L&D roles, to break some of these belief windows down and then get them into a place where their eyes and their ears are open. Yeah, it was a good job.

00:28:53 Andy Goram

So what's the last one then, Steve? What's the last destructive behaviour in this list of 15?

Acting Like A D*ckhead

00:29:05 Steve Armstrong

Well, you might have to bleep this out, but just don't be a d*ckhead. Now, some people might be watching this, thinking, “Well, that's a bit rich coming from him”, but that was the best advice my Mam ever gave me. Now, my Mam was a tough woman. Didn't make it through her 60s, sadly. But she didn't suffer fools. She had very simple outcomes on life. Typical North Manchester 70s mother. Hard as nails. Loved a drink. Loved a cig, and had a fairly straightforward life. But the one thing that she always said to us was just, there's a way to be certain things. And just don't be one.

And the more I thought about that, the more I found myself telling people that just don't be, whatever people's offensive word of choice is. I mean, feel free to insert it there, but I've used a polite one for the purpose of this podcast. But bringing it back to this, “He’s a good lad, him” conversation. But I think there's a lot of people who I think can name people in their professional life who may have been very good at what they did. Who may have been very, very talented. Who may have achieved great deals. But deep down at heart, they were just a bit of a tool. And for me, where do you want to be in life? Do you want that success criteria to be that you've done this, that and the other? Or do you want credibility from people who have said, “Yeah, good lad, him”? And that was my Mam's simplest advice to me and our kid. She never gave us any other bit of advice in life. She just said, don't be a dick

00:30:46 Andy Goram

And look what path it set you on, my friend.

00:30:49 Steve Armstrong

I should add, that it didn't stop us from being one. But what it did do was, and I think again, with all these behaviours, the important thing isn't not doing them, it's recognising when you are doing them, and having the chance to just stop and go away from going down that route, or changing the direction that you're going in. I think when you're a leader, you can sense them coming both from yourself and from other people.

A lot of people sometimes aren't aware that, through experience, that this is how they're going about their life and this is about how they're going about being part of a team or being part of leading a team. But I just think bring it back to that. An organizational psychologist who I met only a couple of years ago, in fact, less than a couple of years ago, fantastic woman. She just said,

It's not hard to get on the right side of people. You just have to demonstrate warmth and competence.”

The more I thought about that, I thought, it sounds easy, but it's probably a lot more complex. Certainly, the competence part. But I think if people can ask the question, “What's that new fellow like?” And if they can say, “Well, he seems a good lad”, or “She seems sound, and they know the stuff”, you're on a good platform there for a start.

Building Trust & Respect

And then once people get that reputation associated with you, and then they can then start to also add the values of the experience from being in your professional company, or even your personal company, if that's how you play these things, people will often then I think, build a level of trust and respect that lives for a very long period of time. And I think then that gives you the right to be able to influence people, to be an inspiration to people, and to be able to credibly say that you honoured that psychological contract that you subconsciously build with people who are given you as their leader. And you can honestly say, hand on heart that you treated that like the privilege that it was and that you've always tried to do the right thing as close to the values that are important to you and your team and your organization as is possible.

00:33:14 Steve Armstrong

None of this stuff has to be complicated. A lot of these things that I've just described there are really simple. And I think it's important people understand that they're simple, because they're simple. They're easy to adopt. Because they're easy to adopt, they're easy to be part and parcel of everyday professional life, and it's easy for them to run absolute like wildfire through your organisation. Before you know it, your culture is in shreds and your plans in pieces because these destructive behaviours, whether they're all present or whether one or two of them are present at certain times, if they're deep rooted and you don't have the ability to go,

Hang on, we're doing this again here. Just let's stop.”

It's a tough road back from that in any situation where you have senior responsibility, or a senior role, or a senior level within a team. And I think, again, you don't have to do complicated things wrong to have the most destructive impact on your organisation. It's sometimes these very basic things that people just don't realize are there.

They're almost like silent assassins within your makeup. And recognising them, seeing them in yourself and seeing them appearing in others is just something that you have a choice here. You have a chance to sort of put some of these out. And I'm very proud of the fact that there are a number of colleagues who I see now actively wording some of these things. I've never sat and listed these behaviours before in this kind of format. I've never sat down in front of the team and said, “Right, these 15 things we're not doing.” I've just seen them coming. And when I've seen them coming, I've steered people away from them. Because as I said before, your job as a leader, is you're in a position of elevation. Now, if you take the term, “I'm in an elevated position”, that means you can look and see more, you can see further ahead than other people can. And when you've got that vision, your duty is to steer people the right way. And if you see things that are coming, that you think are going to be obstructive, or destructive, then only you can stop that from happening.

Taking An Opportunity To Reflect On Things

00:35:36 Andy Goram

And I think that's right. And I think this list is a good little checklist for people to kind of look out for.

I normally have this part in the show… and by the way, this episode has challenged a lot of things. For the first time ever there won't be any Sticky Notes because we've had 15 Sticky Notes. So, in a complete break with tradition, in that sort of summarising area of the show that is called Sticky Notes, we're just going to recap the 15 destructive behaviours, right? And they are the things that are going to go on the Instagram channel. So with your pens and papers ready…

00:00:00 Steve Armstrong

You’ll have to use a couple of asterisks.

00:36:17 Andy Goram

It'll be raw as intended.

00:36:20 Steve Armstrong

I was going to say that's not even a swear word in Manchester. As I said, if one person sits and does some reflecting and has a look inwardly with themselves or their team… I think what was really interesting, what I think surprised me about that conversation we had, was because I think by the time we sat down, they'd obviously been in the room all day. They'd then gone to the bar and had a couple of drinks, they then had some food and then at 08:00 p.m., 08:30 p.m., they then get camped back in this room, in front of a complete stranger for an hour and a half, or an hour and 20 minutes, or whatever it was. I mean, as graveyard shifts go, both for them and for me, it's up there, isn’t it?

But I think I was taken aback by their level of recognition I got. Obviously when you then start having the side conversations in the bar afterwards, again, until what got quite late, I was quite taken aback by the way that this was taken on board and received. Because when you champion something, you take simple advice. Maybe it isn't simple advice at all, maybe it's more complex than I give it credit for, but certainly I was taken aback by the impact of that. Maybe it is something that perhaps is something that those starting out on their leadership journey, or starting to get to that point where they've reached... There was another point in my career, where I felt I'd reached a level here where I'm now more senior than my talent. And I got to that point. I thought,

I’ve just got to get better at what I do here?"

00:38:21 Steve Armstrong

Certainly in today's age, where certainly the inability to retain managers and retain talent, really great talent and high turnover, it does seem as if more young people are reaching more senior positions than ever before. So, yeah, it was an interesting chat. And listen, good luck to them. And as I said, if there's a couple of people out there who've listened to this and thought, you know, I'm going to look at that, or I'm going to try and see whether that stuff that goes on either within what I do, or what my team does, or within the business and, yeah, good on them.

Recapping 15 Destructive Leadership Behaviours

00:38:58 Andy Goram

So let's just recap the 15 behaviours that we've covered today then, my friend. Right, so we've had. Feeling sorry for yourself. Being controlled by others. Being resistant to change. Avoiding risk. Offering false kindness. Wasting time on stuff that doesn't matter. Living in the past. Resenting other people's successes. Throwing in the towel too early. Playing the blame game. Being one of those always-around leaders. Repeating mistakes,. Lacking self-awareness. Thinking the world owes you something. And being a d*ckhead.

The 15 destructive behaviours. Marvellous.

00:39:52 Steve Armstrong

Yeah, you could argue that maybe the previous 14 almost qualify you to be in the 15? But yeah, I think, again, the important thing is my main sticky note will be recognising when they're there is the key thing.

We will always do these things. It's human nature. But it's “How long have I done this before?” and “Am I aware of it?”

I think the thing I would champion again, I've seen so many good plans and good ideas and good strategies brought down by these things being evident within businesses. My approach today, and for the rest of my working life, is always going to be that building a great strategy, defining the culture where this strategy needs to be embedded into and then just helping people to avoid these behaviours that stop them from being the best version of themselves that they can be, isn't a bad place to get people to. Again, if you create those sort of three buckets and just say, “Right, what do we do in ABC?” I don't think people are going to go very far wrong.

And if you do go wrong, and I say this all the time, you won't go wrong for long. Because I think if you're aware of your journey, you can retrace your steps back to where you did go that wrong direction and pick up from there. I think if you get to a place where you think, “No idea how we got here”, it's a very difficult way to be able to appreciate, “Well, how did we get here? What happened?” And I think if people can avoid doing that, the better.

00:41:36 Steve Armstrong

A lot of these things as well, they're also not just conducive to success, but they're conducive to what I think is the most important aspect of going to work, which is feeling like you are enjoying what you do. I've said it to people all the time in teams. I don't think employees or colleagues, members of your team, I don't think they're asking themselves too many questions about their job. I think they're asking themselves,

Can I do this? Am I enjoying doing this? And do I feel valued whilst I'm doing this?”

And I think if the answer to those three things is yes, I think by and large you're in a position to be able to retain that team. I think if the answer to some of those things is no, I would put good money as an informed gambler, when you go back to the root cause, some of those things that we've just listed will somewhere be showing their ugly face.

00:42:34 Andy Goram

I don't disagree with you, my friend. I don't disagree with you.

Listen, Steve, it has been fabulous talking to you. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it and I feel sure that somewhere in that 15, people are going to be sitting here listening and going, “Yeah, I recognise some of that behaviour, and I need to do something about it.”

00:42:55 Steve Armstrong Well, I'm going out with my brother all day tomorrow and I've got a feeling behaviour number 15 may be surfacing. But no, listen, anytime someone asks you want to share your experiences, it's a privilege. And I appreciate you thinking that I can add value to this and to the guys and girls who subscribe and listen to it. And more than happy if people want to get in touch with us on LinkedIn, if I've not been banned, or via yourself. More than happy as I said, I don't care whether I've ever met you before or whether or not, if people want to chat or get some advice, get in touch.

00:43:40 Andy Goram

I'll stick it all in the show notes, my friend. Steve, I know I'll speak to you again soon, so you take care, my friend, but thanks so much for coming on.

00:43:47 Steve Armstrong

Pleasure, mate. Take care.

00:43:48 Andy Goram

Cheers! Okay, everyone, that was Steve Armstrong, and if you'd like to find out a bit more about him or any of the things we've talked about today, please check out the show notes.

Episode Close

00:44:02 Andy Goram

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting and heard something maybe that will help you become a stickier more successful business from the inside. Going forward. If you have, please like comment and subscribe. It really helps.

I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the Sticky from the Inside podcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world.

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