A great leader can set the tone for a team, department, or even an entire company, and their influence can help everyone improve. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Bad leadership behaviors can create a toxic work environment that sends employees fleeing.
According to research, the main reason people quit their jobs is because of their boss. Improper leadership development can lead to the wrong people getting high-position jobs. You’ve probably had a bad leader at some point in your life, but hopefully, you’ve never been one.
Want to know what leadership development studies tell us about the types of bad boss behaviors that are most likely to drive good workers insane? Continue reading.
An “All about me” Attitude
Some leaders can be narcissistic, and that is perfectly normal. However, there is a fine line between healthy narcissism and toxic narcissism, one that many people at the top miss. This kind of behavior pushes a leader to only think about themselves and how they can achieve more, while the rest of the employees are completely neglected. It is really hard to see an individual or overall growth in the company when a leader behaves in this manner, and very few of the employees’ concerns are addressed. This can lead to a stressful work environment that is not conducive to an employee’s growth.
Falling Asleep on the Job
Neglectful or lazy behavior is not something you should see in a leader. Of course, it is only human to have an off day or two, but if a leader refuses to act when action is required, it is not a great sign. This laissez-faire leadership technique will not work in the corporate sector and lead to many complications. The employees under such leaders usually feel highly disoriented in their work-life and are often burdened with constant last-minute tasks to look after.
Relying on the Wrong People
A leader who surrounds himself with sycophants and/or incompetents in his inner circle seems to amplify the “bad boss” impact. This means that appealing to this dysfunctional leadership team will get you nowhere and drive you insane. If you notice that your leader is handing out promotions based on how much they like individuals and not on who would fit best with that position, you should probably look for another job.
Going Off the Rails
Bad leaders can go off the rails in one of two ways: they can have trouble controlling their negative feelings and lash out at workers, or they can follow insane thoughts and strategies that send the unit or organization off the rails and over the cliff. If this is a recurring incidence, it can cause a lot of mental distress on employees.
Have you ever had a boss who acts poorly or makes a mistake, but then continues to make the same mistake despite receiving valid feedback that it needs to be corrected? A boss who refuses to learn and ignores feedback will drive good employees insane and make them feel closeted and stuck.
Not Being Able to Think Long-Term
A leader who is excessively focused on short-term results while ignoring long-term consequences will work against the group’s or organization’s best interests. To appease a client, you may find that your boss will run his team ragged trying to complete an unimportant but urgent task. As a result, everyone will have to abandon long-term projects to assist the boss, and everyone suffers as a consequence of doing something they had no say in.
Not Being Able to Communicate
For team success, a good leader must understand how to communicate clearly and frequently with their team members. A leader that cannot communicate and leaves everything up to wonder cannot effectively run a team or a project without multiple hiccups.
Passing the Buck
Owing up to your own mistakes is a great indicator of a good leader and the opposite holds for a bad one. It is extremely important to know when you slipped up, but if you have a boss who refuses to own up and blames those under him, it is a bad sign. It can be maddening to those under such a leader, as they constantly have to fear when they might be thrown under the bus.
Not Following Through
Some leaders will pursue any means possible to get what they want. For some, lying and making false promises to their employees is something that falls under this umbrella. Many bad leaders will make promises of promotions, pay raises, or other perks and will not follow through once the task is done. It can be very disappointing for hard-working employees who genuinely look out for such perks and might need them as well.
There are many ways these habits can be improved and even eliminated, as many people often do this unconsciously. If you catch yourself or anyone you know showing these traits, try to educate yourself on leadership development and effective ways to avoid making such mistakes.