Team leader blaming her workmate with a title card that says "Are you Accidentally Undermining Performance?".

Are you Accidentally Undermining Performance?

May 27, 2024

Leading a team can be a tough job. With the complexities of remote and hybrid teams, hiring and retaining people, ensuring they stay accountable, and promoting positive mental health, it can be draining. Even with the best of intentions, the pressures of work and the complexities of managing individual humans, it’s not a surprise that sometimes our actions can lead to our teams questioning their own abilities. How can you prevent undermining performance? 


In her book Multipliers, leadership expert, author and researcher Liz Wiseman refers to these behaviours as ‘Accidental Diminishers’. Liz Wiseman has identified, 9 behaviours that can derail performance within your teams. While each of these has positives, finding balance is important.


1. Idea Fountain

– This Leader shares new ideas all the time. As there are so many new ideas no-one knows what idea to work on. Projects start and stop suddenly. Employees stop suggesting new ideas of their own.

If you find yourself doing this, try asking idea generating questions instead to get your teams input and creativity.



2. Always On

– This Leader is high energy, energetic, always talking and sharing stories, believing it will inspire their team. However, this can overwhelm. Instead of this, shift your focus to helping others articulate their perspectives and ideas. It all starts with your question.



3. Rescuer

– This Leader fixes things and solve problems for their teams. Some team members may they stop fixing their own problems and rely on you.

Try to stop jumping in with answers. Try asking how they want to move forward, or how they might solve the problem. Be a Coach.



4. Pacesetter

– This Leader rolls up their sleeves and setting a high standard for quality or pace of work. Some people can’t keep up and may give up instead.

An alternative is asking your team what can be done better. Foster a culture of ideas and reviewing processes. Delegate your work to help engage the team.



5. Rapid Responder

– This Leader always has an immediate response, so team members stop offering their ideas.

Make a point of letting your team know that you want them to respond. They may need you to do this a number of times, so they know it is real. Empower them to act and let them know the new process.



6. Optimist

– Optimism is a great trait to have. However, a downside can be that it clouds your empathy. You may be unknowingly downplaying individuals struggles and concerns. Your team may feel you don’t care, are clueless, or have them fearing mistakes it shouldn’t be too hard or take too long.

Consider asking questions about how your team are feeling. LISTEN, acknowledge, and be curious. Let them take the lead and support as needed.



7. Protector

– This Leader is over-focused on making a safe, nice experience at work. The employees aren’t exposed to challenging situations or difficult people. It can lead to employees feeling not trusted and undervalued.

To overcome this, set the tone that it’s important for personal development. Share stories of your own failures and how you learned and moved on from them.



8. Strategist 

– This Leader builds a compelling vision and expects the team to follow. The team is excluded from the big thinking and they do not think about how they can per part of the vision.

Try to share both vision and strategy. Let the team contribute to how they can deliver that strategy. Show them the why and what, let them lead the how.



9. Perfectionist 

– This Leader wants everything to be perfect. It’s normal to have high standards.

Avoid constant criticism or corrections, as employees will feel they’re never good enough. Ensure you set standards for the work before delegating. Ask them to rate their work against the standards discussed. If they don’t see the issue, provide kind and respectful feedback.



Have you identified ways that your best intentions may be having an negative impact on your teams engagement, energy and their ability to perform at their best? Understanding how to work on those traits and what to try next is important to becoming a Leader who Multiplies.


Impact HR can help you with individual coaching, team feedback or leadership courses. If you would like further information on how to help you get the best out of your teams, explore our coaching and development, reach out via email or 1300 474 672 and we can help you find the best solution for your needs.

More News? Sign Up for our e-Newsletter?

Join us

Be part of the Impact HR Insights Community

Want to know what's happening in the world of HR? Join our Insights Community and get the latest HR news and best practice updates from the Impact HR team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!