Ahsan Parwez
Your Growth Strategist

What Makes a Bad Leader?

Table of Contents

Leadership shapes our organizations, communities, and overall nation. It guides us by making far-reaching decisions that will affect the masses. Amidst the most prominent characteristics of good leadership include communication, gratitude, the ability to delegate, and integrity. With traits like these, a good leader inspires people to achieve their best. Unlike a bad leader, a good leader will establish a clear vision, share it with the people to follow, and provide knowledge, methods, and resources to bring their vision to life. 

While a competent leader can achieve success in their organization, a poor leader, with their certain habits and conduct can lead to workers’ lack of willingness, engagement, and faith. Working under bad leadership is demotivating for the team. So, let’s find out what makes a bad leader with some striking examples of bad leadership skills. 

What is a Bad Leader?

Not every leader is the same or created equal. Some leaders are outstanding who are meant to deliver the best results, while others have certain traits that can make them unproductive. Lack of direction, lack of presence, and micromanagement also depict poor leadership. Most of the problems find roots in a lack of communication between employees and their leaders and not having the right tools and resources to lead organizations. We can’t define bad leadership in a sentence since it’s an amalgam of many poor leadership qualities. Let’s explore!

Poor Qualities of a Bad Leader

Loss of Direction/Leadership Drift

The business world keeps changing, more often than not, and the leaders who keep up with the latest trends through keen planning, networking, and engaging are capable of achieving success. Leadership drift can make leaders forget their purpose and core mission in an organization. The signs of lost direction may include apathy, coasting, the concession of work ethic and principles, and resistance to feedback. Therefore, efficiencies are damaged, costly decisions are made, and deadlines are missed. In addition to that, the drifting leaders tend to miss crucial information involving day-to-day accomplishments, which obstructs them from taking the right decisions.


Absence of Executive Presence

The executive presence is the ability to depict great poise, confidence, and dignity as a leader. Good leaders have an executive presence as they can work well in difficult times and show great decision-making abilities. While a terrible leader shows no such executive presence because they don’t have apt communication skills so they’re unable to handle every situation. They don’t actively contribute to the overall efforts of their employees and end up losing their respect and trust in an organization.


Lack of Power

Leaders who take exclusive control over all decisions are terrible but the leaders who show a lack of power are more awful. Working with such leaders can cause frustration since they are quite indecisive, they can’t anticipate outcomes of their decisions and give a poor response; ultimately damaging the reputation of their team as well.


Lack of Transparency

In the business world, transparency is crucial to create the trust and keep the trust. You can’t have trust without transparency and vice versa. So, a leader should always share information and let their team know what’s going on within an organization. On the flip side, the leaders who keep secrets or withhold information can end up breaking the trust within an organization. So, in ideal circumstances, a leader should tell people about the nitty-gritty of their business except for information such as mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, and any nuclear launch codes.


Stubborn Leadership

Stubborn or inflexible leadership is also among the poor qualities of a leader. Poor leadership portrays a lot of workplace inflexibility while dealing with the changing situations of the business. Stubborn leadership shows rigid adherence to deadlines. Such leaders want people to follow their instructions strictly. They don’t give space to others. The employees always feel choked in such an environment that adversely affects their performance. This habit of rigidity makes it difficult for an organization to connect and work smoothly. Inflexible leadership can only end up damaging work-culture and hence causing non-productivity within an organization.


Passive Listening

Since leaders are among the senior people in an organization; people are reluctant to share their honest thoughts, opinions, contradictions, and feedback with them. It becomes more problematic when people have a valuable opinion or feedback that can improve a project but they can’t share them due to a strict boss. While leaders exercise power and have full control over large decisions, they’re not likely to get honest opinions about their decisions. So, passive listening is one quality what makes a bad leader bad. To be a good leader, you should ask for honest criticism and feedback from employees every so often! You can begin with 3 A’s; the attitude, the attention, and the adjustment! Have a positive attitude and actively listen with an understanding that we should always learn from others’ feedback and even respect their criticism. Being a good listener, you should expand your attention span and finally adjust by simply being open-minded to what others have to say.


Ignorant of Flaws

While most leaders claim to know their weaknesses and strengths, many of them score low in 360-degree feedback surveys since they don’t know everything happening within the organization. This signifies that leaders are lacking something, it may be a lack of responsibility, lack of building good relationships, and/or lack of strategic thinking. Being unfamiliar with such weaknesses will obstruct the leader’s influence within an organization as well as hamper their career growth as a leader. Self-awareness can help leaders recognize their flaws and weaknesses so they can improve on them.

Inclination to Micromanage

Micromanagement is a style of leadership in which leaders tend to direct and control even the smallest actions taken by employees. They’re only satisfied when everything is done according to their choice and preferences. Micromanagers get involved in every action taken by employees so they can control the outcomes of the projects. However, the outcomes are always compromised because of the unwanted involvement of leaders. Hence micromanagement gives birth to resentment among people because they feel they’re monitored like children. The employees end up lacking in responsibility and autonomy as they tend to carry out activities at a lower level. To deal with this problem, a leader should trust the abilities of their people and give them a free hand to some extent.

Read More: Leadership Skills For Kids – Teach Your Child To Be A Leader

Staying in Comfort Zone

Good leaders outsmart their competitors and pull the future-forward. They are unhappy with the status quo. They always prefer growth over survival. Great leaders are committed to constant innovations and changes, both internally and externally. On the other hand, the static leaders who stay in their comfort zones are not likely to show progress. They are reluctant to change and hence hamper the success of an organization. To fight this habit, leaders should take a forward-thinking approach to foster growth and innovation within an organization.

Never Take Responsibility

Leaders are not meant to make excuses. They are meant to take accountability for everything that comes under their leadership. After taking missteps, they ask themselves that what could they have done differently to improve the outcomes. They create opportunities from mistakes. Whereas, a poor leadership is meant to play the blame game. A bad leader will always try to take a little less than his share of the blame and a little more than his share of the credit. As a result, when a leader doesn’t take responsibility for the thing doing wrong, they’re likely to lose morale from their team. So, don’t look for scapegoats, rather look for good partners in your team to solve problems.

What to do When Your Boss is a Bad Leader and Needs to Be Fired?

Now with the examples of bad leadership skills above, you can draw a line between a bad leader and a good leader. If your boss is a micromanager, non-communicative, stubborn, irresponsible, ignorant of his flaws, or your values are not synchronized with the values of your boss and you think this imbalance is never going to change; you need to change your boss! If that is impossible, help yourself by following the tips as follows:


Do Proper Analysis

To deal with a poor leader, first, you have to make sure you’re facing the one! Analyze the situation objectively! Find whether there are any good reasons for their bad leadership or you’re just being hard on them! See whether the situation is out of their control or there are actual flaws which need to be addressed.


Access the HR

If you’re done with your analysis and find out bad leadership qualities in your boss, consult with your HR. First, you have to make sure that your HR has a reputation of supporting employees before. If this is so, access them and let them know about the issues you’re facing with the boss as well as the actions you have already taken to patch those gaps. You will find HR offering you excellent solutions to handle this problem. 


Be Respectful 

No matter how bad your boss is, you must treat them with respect! Don’t get personal with them! Try to handle things more objectively than emotionally! Never let your emotions come in the way of your work and affect it! If they lack boundaries, establish your own!


Make Requests

If your boss dislikes honest feedback or criticism on their decisions, make requests to suggest them how to improve. Don’t be straightforward in pointing out their mistakes! Just give suggestions in a light mood to get better outcomes!


Be Progressive

You can’t blame your boss for your bad performance after all. No matter how bad a relationship you share with them, it shouldn’t affect your performance whatsoever. Be focused and give your best to contribute to the overall success of your organization. 

Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job When You Have A Bad Boss

Dealing with bad bosses isn’t a joke. Some inept bosses even compel employees to quit their jobs. You may have some disagreements with your boss like you have with your friends and family members. But if things are more complicated than that and if any of the following signs are showing up, it’s time to quit your job.


You’re not growing under bad leadership


A leader or boss is someone who always fuels your growth, lifts you, guides you, teaches you, and challenges you for good. A good boss always helps you improve on your weaknesses as well as boosts your strengths. Whenever a boss encourages the strengths of their employees, it will enhance the sense of self-efficacy and personal growth among them. On the other hand, a terrible leader will make you feel you’re not growing but shrinking. You will feel wasted as your talent goes underutilized under their bad leadership. If your boss doesn’t value your efforts, it’s a good sign to exit.


Your values are compromised under bad leadership


A boss who bends the rules and principles once in a while to achieve specific outcomes is not bad at all. We’re talking about the ones who’re morally corrupt, tone-deaf, and perpetually oily types who will repeatedly make you feel like your values are compromised. They are stubborn, inflexible micromanagers. When your non-negotiable, closely-held values are being compromised, more often than not, it can cause despair to the extent that you don’t want to carry on your job anymore. It becomes inevitable to quit this job and look for a more productive opportunity.


You have no room to breathe due to micromanagement by bad leadership


You can never be fully productive unless you have some autonomy and self-rule. Self-sufficiency is crucial in carrying out certain tasks. A micromanaging boss just kills your creativity by constantly controlling and interrupting every step of your assigned project. You just feel helpless as you can’t give your best in this situation. It’s okay if this happens in a while for some specific, more crucial projects in which strict supervision is required. However, if you always feel being micromanaged while executing tasks; it’s time to leave your job and find one that empowers employees. An empowered employee shows more loyalty, higher job satisfaction, stronger performance, better motivation, and lower turnover. 


Your Boss’s career as a leader is at risk


We have seen people whose career was lifted by one great leader. And, also the other way round. Sometimes, the employees are held accountable for the poor performance of the boss. If this is your case, it’s time to leave this job and find one where your efforts are valued. Such bad boss problems can become more dangerous if ignored.


Your boss always holds you accountable for all the mistakes and failures


If your boss is overly critical, never acknowledges your efforts, continuously holds you responsible for bad outcomes, and/or ultimately shakes your self-confidence; do you think you can work in such a toxic environment? The fluent beat downs may cause you to doubt yourself and your abilities at an alarming rate. You start thinking of yourself as a culprit. However, the actual culprit is your bad boss. So, what’s the point of working for a person who will never acknowledge your abilities and efforts? Just move on for good! God is there to help you!

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