You are currently viewing Three traits that identify someone with poor leadership skills
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As a keynote speaker, I simplify and break down leadership into its most basic form: helping people and supporting them to be and do their best.

When employees don’t have the right tools, training, time, or support, their morale drops, and they might not put in much effort. This can happen right from the start, within their first few weeks.

It’s important to realize that not all managers are created equally, and many must learn how to lead effectively. Through my experience, I’ve noticed three common toxic behaviors in management that can really hurt a team and damage a business.

1. Failing to recognize people’s work

Don’t underestimate the power that comes from recognizing high performers who are intrinsically motivated by their work. In fact, Gallup has surveyed more than four million employees worldwide on this topic. They found that people who receive regular recognition and praise:

  • increase their individual productivity.
  • increase engagement among their colleagues.
  • are more likely to stay with their organization.
  • receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
  • have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job.

How to turn things around: 

Recognize employees who display positive behaviors to create a solid organizational culture. This reinforces good behavior and models it for others. Publicly or privately acknowledging employees (depending on their preference) who embody your organization’s values signals that such behavior is valued and helps foster a deeper connection between employees and the company’s culture.

2. Being a control freak

A boss who micromanages wants to control everything, making the work environment feel suffocating. They don’t trust the team and rarely let others take on bigger tasks. This means there’s hardly any room for teamwork or new ideas because the boss calls all the shots. This kind of environment can be frustrating for employees who want to feel valued and enjoy their work. If things don’t change, managers might eventually lose their people to a competitor.


How to turn things around: 

Trust your team to do the work you hired them to do. Shift your focus from task management to results-driven leadership. This allows you to prioritize strategic responsibilities and demonstrate trust in your team’s ability to do the work, fostering confidence and productivity.

3. Having the last word

Many managers I’ve coached over the years operate on the assumption that because they’re the boss and in charge, they have to have the last word on everything. A moment of honesty: This person rides on the wheels of low emotional intelligence. When a manager doesn’t solicit the opinions of others, get buy-in from team members, and listen to the collective voice of the team in pursuing a particular strategy or vision, people don’t feel cared for, respected, or valued. Consequently, trust erodes, and morale goes in the tank.


How to turn things around:

Genuinely listen to feedback. Customer-facing people on the front lines may know more than their bosses. Good managers will leverage this to get more valuable feedback from employees to manage problems and create solutions. They will listen and learn something from their smart and more savvy workers once they learn to operate in an ecosystem instead of an ego-system. Engagement skyrockets when employees are given the opportunity to provide ideas and input.

If you’re in a management capacity, what do you need to do–or stop doing–to break out of these three patterns that may be holding you back from becoming more effective?


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