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Management: Symptoms of Poor Leadership, Part 1
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Management: Symptoms of Poor Leadership, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

Management: Symptoms of Poor Leadership, Part 1

Executive Leadership Articles

Management: Symptoms of Poor Leadership, Part 1

A web search for “signs you’re a bad leader” or “how to tell if you’re a bad leader” returns many great articles from multiple reputable sites. “You’re a narcissist,” says one. “You’re a micromanager,” says another. “You don’t have empathy,” proclaims a third.

They’re good articles, and it’s tough to argue against the validity of any one trait. However, just about any bad leader reading the article is likely to come away feeling validated as a good leader, rendering the article ineffective. A bad leader can be completely unexpected to respond, “Yes! I lack empathy! I must be a bad leader!”

A bad leader is going to say, “Empathy! I have plenty of that!” and move to the next item in the list, which of course will also not apply to him or her.

What the world’s bad leaders really need are specific behaviors. “If you lead with fear, you’re probably a bad leader” isn’t going to cut it. “If you’ve ever threatened people with firing in order to get better performance from them,” is tougher to deny.

There are too many kinds of bad leadership to put a comprehensive checklist together, but here are a few items that should help.

If you say you’ll make a difficult decision about something “later,” without informing people of when “later” will be, you’re probably a bad leader. You’ve read “bad leaders are indecisive” in these articles but you didn’t think it applied to you—you’re not indecisive! Yet punting is not leadership, especially in making difficult decisions. Anyone can make easy decisions. How you tackle the tough ones is who you are as a leader. “I’m going to decide in eighteen minutes; someone start the clock” is the kind of announcement that’s transparent and accountable. It’s good leadership.

If you’ve said anything about a “new vision” more than once in a two-year period, you’re probably a bad leader, especially if you say it upon returning to the office from a conference or after reading a leadership book. An ever-shifting vision qualifies you for several bad-leadership traits, but CNBC calls it lack of discipline: “Constantly being attracted by the latest shiny object shifts focus and attention of the company, preventing any real process to get traction.” Whenever you have a new vision, people’s jobs are affected, including the way they conceive and process their roles in the big picture. Yes, it’s important for organizations to be flexible and adaptive, but it’s also important to bring visions to reality.

If mention room for improvement during a performance review and it’s the first time the employee has heard about it, you’re probably a bad leader. Ambushing people on your team with even constructive feedback only at review time makes everyone feel terrible, like you don’t have enough interest in helping them be better at their jobs. Of course you have to discuss growth areas during a review, but they should be areas of in-progress attention by the manager and the managed. This is poor communication and bad problem-solving.

Your response to these prompts should be an easy yes or no, and this is not an all-inclusive list of bad leadership behaviors. Hopefully, it’ll at least give you a place to start as you strive to be a better leader for your team.

Reference links:
CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/18/the-7-signs-you-have-poor-leadership.html

 

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Management: Symptoms of Poor Leadership, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

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