November 19, 2015 | Posted in: Leading Hartfully

Mentors affect teams positively and tormentors infect teams. We can look at traits employees adore and abhor in their mentors and tormentors and what they can relate to themselves as they look into their leadership mirror to see how they come across to others. How do you rate on the Mentor/Tormentor scale? Are you adored or abhorred? What changes can you make today to move towards adored mentor status?

Leadership traits that people adore

  1. Has a clear vision of how people’s work meets the leader’s expectations.
  2. Provides timely, clear, constructive feedback.
  3. Expresses appreciation and gives credit where credit is due.
  4. Actively listens and answers questions.
  5. Treats others with respect and kindness.
  6. Consistently fair in their treatment of others.
  7. Trains, develops, and grows their people.
  8. Willing to jump in and help out when things become difficult.
  9. Has an open door policy and is available.
  10. Supportive and protective of their people when things go wrong.

Leadership traits that people abhor:

  1. Indecisive
  2. Foul-mouthed
  3. Plays favorites
  4. Doesn’t take time to learn about employees personally, treats them as cogs in the production wheel
  5. My way or highway thinking
  6. Takes credit for your work
  7. Doesn’t take action when needed, particularly for discipline problems
  8. Has clunky communication skills and low emotional intelligence
  9. Does not respect younger workers and their contribution
  10. Kisses up and kicks down

Obviously, this list is not comprehensive. There are many great and not-so-great leadership traits we could add. One of the primary skills of strong leaders is excellent communication. Every item on the list above is affected by communication style and emotional intelligence.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to improve your leadership skills and help you get the results you want:

How do you treat your people? To help answer this question, you might ask yourself, “How do my people treat me?” For example, if you are warm and friendly, your people will probably be warm and friendly in return. On the other hand, if you are cold and blunt or if your demeanor is unpredictable, your team will likely go to great lengths to avoid you. Be approachable and consistent in dealing with others and they will reciprocate. We are mirrors for how people treat us. If you notice that others are not treating you well, not saying hello and good-bye, then look inward to see if they are mirroring your demeanor.

Does your team understand how what they do contributes to the success of the organization? Don’t assume they know, even if the answer may be obvious to you. Recent research indicates that somewhere between 70% and 95% of people do not know how what they do contributes to their organization’s success. If most individuals lack this understanding and you haven’t conveyed it to them, then you are missing the opportunity to increase their motivation, and the likelihood that they will be as productive as they could be. Ask them if they know their impact on the organization’s success, listen to their response, and be prepared to fill in the gaps. According to Dan Pink in his book Drive; he states that motivation today relies on purpose, autonomy and mastery. If they don’t know their purpose, are not given the space to do it and to learn it, then you can be sure you’re a tormentor they abhor and they won’t be there for long. Do you express appreciation for a job well done to each person on your team at least once a week? Particularly with the new workforce, they expend on-demand feedback and may not wait around for it. The younger generations in and entering the workforce today are serial freelancers with the skills to get jobs at other places and won’t hesitate to jump ship and go out on their own. Make sure you are doing what you can to retain them and be their mentor they adore.

As the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Hartful Living including and; I’m a Messenger and Mentor for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to their capacity to energize their work and their lives in the art of living Hartfully. At, you can make a living through giving with greeting cards and gifts to build your network net worth as an additive to your current business or an easy way to send gratitude and kindness to the world.