Here’s how to spot bad management, in others and yourself. By Priya Prakasan
A toxic leader can create dissatisfaction, distrust, and conflict, resulting in low productivity and high attrition. Bad bosses often don’t know how bad they are because employees refrain from telling them for a variety of reasons. Leadership is a skill that is learnt, and leaders need to constantly hone their craft to become better and more effective. This means you need to know when you’re veering away from the path. If you can relate to any of the points mentioned below then you need to take a good hard look at your leadership style.
1. One-way communication
Bad leaders develop an unhealthy communication pattern that’s usually top down, without creating an open forum where employees can voice their issues, concerns, ideas, etc. They often also don’t actively listen to what employees are saying and take their inputs into considering when planning their actions. Lack of communication breeds unrest, dissatisfaction, and distrust among the workforce. Open communication is a key for any healthy organisation, so set aside some time to strengthen this aspect.
2. Does not own up to mistakes
Blaming others is another sign of a toxic leader. There’s always a ‘good’ reason why the mistake happened, everything from the country’s economy to a weak team member, there are a lot of scapegoats. They oftenequatesuccess with always being right.So they avoid owning up to their mistakes and engaging in a constructive dialogue, as that would make them appear weak and with lesser power.Mistakes are a part and parcel of professional life and it’s important you take responsibility for them and accept them for the learning opportunities they are.
Bad managers often feel the need to be in control of everything all the time. They like to think of themselves as perfectionists. This makes working with them really difficult as they tend to micromanage to a large extent and avoid delegating. This demanding attitudecan make the workplace very stressful and significantly reduces the trust bond between leader and employee. It also stunts employees’ workplace growth as they have to constantly check in with the boss. When bosses micromanage they effectively undermine, demotivate and create self-doubt in their employees.
4. Absent management
Absent management does not always mean that the leader has to be physically away from the office. Bosses who barely interact with their team, or are hard to track down often bring down the energy level and motivation of all the employees. It increases workplace negativity, with employees feeling unsupported and ill prepared. It can be quite frustrating for employees, as it’s a roadblock to getting work done, and ultimately the success of the organisation and the employee’s career. It’s hard to thrive when there’s no constructive leadership.
Leaders often advocate ‘tough love’, but take it to an extreme and you’ve become a boss who humiliates and manipulates. This is a threatening behaviour patternundermines a leader’s credibility and reputation, and creates instability and distrust in the workplace. There is a thin line between being commanding and being a bully.Retorting to swearing, name-calling, and malicious sarcasm is an absolute no-no.