Signs to spot a bad leader at work

If you’re displaying any of these traits, it’s time to revaluate your leadership skills. By Priya Prakasan

A company’s leadership can shape its fortunes and poor leaders can not only impact the bottom line but lead to high levels of stress, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout in the workforce. Being the head honcho is definitely not an easy task, considering the fact that leadership skills are not always innate. So if you exhibit more than one of these traits, take a step back, take a good hard look at your behaviour and find out what you can do to improve.

1. Poor communication skills
When high-level performers fail to demonstrate effective communication skills, it will inevitably impact on the business and its performance. Great leaders can communicate effectively irrespective of the medium of communication. This is an essential skill, as a leader needs to effectively communication his vision, his roadmap, and execution strategies. Shutting down during a difficult situation is one sigh of a poor communicator. Along with clear direct communication (through any channel), a good communicator also knows the importance of actively listening to others.

2. Lack of humility and empathy
As a leader, being humble makes you more approachable and relatable. Humility is a badge of virtue for anyone in a position of influence. A lack of self-awareness is a trait that most bad leaders have in common. Humility combined with a need to constantly do better, be better makes for effective leaders. Similarly, the inability to recognise or identify the needs of others is another negative that sets bad leaders apart. Unwillingness to see situations from someone else’s perspective will not only make a leader feel less appreciated by his/her employees but it can also result in a toxic work environment.

3. Lack of a fluid and flexible approach
A leader’s job is to align the workforce so as to work towards an achievable vision. Leaders therefore need to be participative and flexible so as to deal with the hurdles and setbacks that arise. A stubborn, ‘I know what’s best’ approach is no longer going to cut it in the corporate workspace. Holding on to such a mindset with negatively impact the workplace culture and ultimately the company’s performance and relationship with outside stakeholders. Effective leaders recognise the need to adapt their leadership style to the situation at hand. The greatest businessmen are risk-takers, using flexibility and perseverance to determine how to overcome obstacles.

4. Not attuned to the market
Building strong customer relationships, and ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty are key aspects of any leaders role. Leaders disconnected from the market tend to fail miserably at this. A good leader constantly monitors customers’ needs, wants, opinions, and feedback, and uses this information for further innovate and plan new strategies. This goes a long way towards engaging and retaining customers.

5. Lack of motivation, focus and discipline
Poor leaders cannot motivate others and have room for negative opinions about the company. Leaders who lack focus and discipline set themselves as well as their team up for failure. To achieve results a leader needs to have focus and attention to detail so as the leverage all the resources available so as to go after the goals with ruthless intensity. This type of behaviour requires discipline, without which a leader will falter. If a leader keeps changing the targets, goals and expectations, the shift and focus of the organisation also changes, draining team productivity and morale.

6. Not viewing employees as human beings
Leaders who have a top down approach tend to view people as nothing more than a series of numbers or objects in their possession. They display little interest in getting to know them, their wellbeing, motivators, personal goals, etc. It’s purely about getting the job done, achieving targets, and making a profit. This translates to lack of compassion and empathy. Such leaders do not value their employees, which leads to low morale, along with lack of trust and motivation among the workforce. Employees will not respect such a leader, leading to great friction and stress between the two. None of this is good for the team or the business.

Photograph: Katemangostar – 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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