“The bad leaders are the ones that push hard so they can gain, who brow beat us so they can receive the benefit of our hard work, not so we can enjoy the success.” –Simon Sinek
Sometimes good leadership is not encouraged. More often than not, it is required—especially in work environment.
This makes it rather unfortunate that not every single one of us is blessed with the gift of good leadership skills. But, the reality remains that some of us have the responsibility of leading employees thrust upon us. This is no excuse to perform substandardly however as it is imperative that a working environment employs the skills of an excellent leader for his employees (or in this case, his followers) to reach their maximum potential. Without a doubt, bad leadership can negatively impact an employee and can potentially stunt a company’s growth. In essence, bad leadership skills would take an excellent staff and destroy it which would cause the best employees to leave and whoever is left to lose all motivation.
The web might be teeming with innumerable articles that extol the positive characteristics of a good leader. But can you identify the distinct traits of a bad one? Unknowingly, you may be unwittingly emulating the attributes of a substandard leader. It is time to have a little introspection to see if you may have been inadvertently been playing the role of a bad leader as listed below.
You employ only a single leadership gear
Undoubtedly, the demands on leaders are exceptionally high, and this can be a bit daunting. There are innumerable decisions to make, deal with the worst and crankiest customers, manage issues here and there and solve the hardest of problems. Considering the myriad of demands they meet, it is imperative that a good leader has a certain fluency and fluidity of various leadership styles which he or she can apply. A bad leader would demonstrate evident signs of inflexibility and would utilize only one leadership style on a multitude of issues which other styles should have been more appropriate. Best leaders, on the other hand, can readily pick out an ideal management style from a broad leadership spectrum and apply it.
You are out of balance
Seemingly, a person who works hard by coming into the office every single day and leaving last seems like an excellent person as a leader. But this is not necessarily the case. Upon closer scrutiny, one would realize that such person does not have any real balance in their lives and is prone to getting stressed out early on. This lack of balance is a prelude or a precursor to an inevitable burnout. A leader who does not exercise balance in their work and family life may also have unreasonable expectations from the team, and when they are unmet, this particular leader may be hard to placate.
You motivate your employees by fear
Some leaders think that being feared is a good thing. In fact, they exploit this knowledge by leveraging how their employees produce results. Unfortunately, instilling fear in your staff does not always produce good results, and neither is it a sign of good leadership. Contrary to popular belief, it is, in fact, a sign of a weak leader and bad leadership skills. Fear may produce fast results, but they are not all necessarily good results. When an employee is working because he is afraid of being chastised by you, they do not necessarily respect you (chances are, they may even talk behind your back) but are rather propelled to work out of fear. Good leaders motivate their employees by inspiring them to a noble purpose, building their team spirit, striking a competitive spark among many others. They do not instill fear in their employees but rather a respect. Employees are driven to produce good results because they want to reach their full potential and are encouraged to do so by good leaders.
As a leader, it is expected of you to know your craft and to have exceptional skills. But it becomes uncharacteristically arrogant of you if you harbor the idea that you are the only one capable of doing it right. If you adhere to this thought, there is a big chance you will hardly reach the full potential of being a great leader and by doing everyone’s job for them, you will be limiting their growth and stunting their potential. Micro-managing is never a good thing; your incessant demand for perfection drives you to perform everyone’s jobs instead and neglect to do yours. Good leaders would instead mentor their employees and convey how a task could be done better and swiftly. Good leaders need not perform their followers’s tasks for them in order to get excellent results.
You push others to the rear
Arnold H. Glasgow has once said that a good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. In the same vein, bad leadership skills would drive you to seek success by pushing the ones who deserve the real credit to the backburner. You try to focus the spotlight on yourself at the expense of your employees which would ultimately be to their individual detriment. On the other hand, good leaders blend professional drive and humility quite well and would show an unyielding resolve to accept blame for negative issues should and give credit where it is due for positive outcomes.
How you lead your set of employees or your team ultimately results to how your company would grow. The five attributes listed above should serve as insights on how not to conduct yourself as a leader. The key is an awareness of how you are doing as a leader and the willingness to change to perform better lest you remain locked in a stifling pattern of lousy behaviors as a leader. Remember, no one wants to work for a bad leader, but even leaders themselves would not admit when they are bad. Have a closer introspection and see if there are areas you would need to improve on. It does not matter whether you are a community manager in the philippines or wherever, if you have noticed any of these in your behavior, then maybe it is time to do some changes.