My previous post talked about what made a good leader, but I ended up getting questions about what to avoid and what makes a bad leader. After all, aren’t we all trying to avoid being bad leaders!
Here are the top results I received from asking people to think about bad leader experiences. The "Bad Leaders" had the following in common.
Lack of compassion, impatience.
There is thing that happens to leaders as they advance in their careers where they forget what it was like to do the work they did before getting promoted. When we are in the middle of the daily stress of our tasks, we all think that our job is harder than everyone else’s.
In life and in work, it is hard to have an appreciation for things we have not experienced. Good leaders will stay connected and get involved, even if it is just asking questions, so they have some sort of appreciation and awareness of the work being done.
This ties in with having a lack of compassion. If leaders forget how hard the job is that they used to do, they will sometimes pile on extra responsibilities and projects that push our workload to become too much.
This is where it is good to have regular check ins boss-to-employee. Bad leaders jump to frustration and disappointment when deadlines and expectations are not being met. Good leaders are involved in the goal setting process, and ask questions before jumping to conclusions. Good leaders can find that a lot of the time, the misstep is not caused by the person that leader is holding accountable.
Not passionate or connected to their job, doesn’t pull their weight.
There is nothing worse than having a leader who appears to have checked out. This can be a result of a few things. One, they actually have checked out, which is unfortunate for everyone. Two, they are busy working in other areas and not in tune with the support their team needs. Chances are if you are a leader reading this post, you care and a part of the latter.
Good leaders avoid #2 by making sure their team knows when to reach out and also makes sure the team is comfortable communicating when they need help.
Focused on the negative.
Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Regardless of how often we have all had the experience of evaluating our work with a supervisor. It can be so disheartening when a supervisor only points out the things we need to work on. Don’t get me wrong, no one needs a 24/7-positive-feedback-giving-cheerleader. In fact in the previous blog, "What People Say about Great Leaders", constant positivity was never mentioned as a leading trait from their most inspiring leaders.
While we usually learn more from our mistakes, and it is important to discuss them, it is just as important for leaders to point out wins and success. This not only keeps morale up, it can also help in the future to focus on what the team needs to keep doing.
This may be a result of some kind of internal battle that isn’t allowing a leader to connect to the job, or the people at the job.
The only basic way for a leader to have a successful team that buys into the mission they are responsible for carrying out, is for that leader to be just as invested. Without that piece, the team is not going to get very far.
All of these “Bad Qualities” are a result of leaders being disconnected. Whether the misconnection is to the company, the position they hold, or the team they are responsible for. If leaders want a team that not only succeeds but a team that thrives, connection is the easiest way to start.