How often have you felt demotivated or eager to change jobs because of your manager’s behavior or attitude? The sentence “People leave managers, not companies” is frequently used in the business world. It is often true that many employees give up on their bosses even when they appreciate the companies they work for. According to Gallup (2019), “the quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor” in an organization’s long-term success. They looked into survey data related to team engagement over many years and found that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined exclusively by the manager. But what are some of the behaviors and attitudes that negatively impact employees’ morale and engagement? In this article, we invite you to reflect on some leadership flaws that can profoundly impact employee morale and motivation in the workplace.
Dangers of Poor Leadership
Poor leadership is something that can roll through a company and have a dramatic impact. Leaders can be negatively influenced by their own flaws and poor leadership, sometimes so severely that their reputation can be harmed. However, the real danger lies beyond bad managers themselves. When a manager is ineffective or does not take active steps to correct their flaws, team members can find themselves held back, failing to grow, emotionally drained, lacking commitment, and many will simply resign. One of the consequences of poor leadership is The Great Resignation.
Common Leadership Flaws
We all understand that managers are normal human beings and will have areas for improvement, including some of their leadership practices. You don’t need to be flawless as a leader, but you should be aware of areas you need to develop and improve and take active steps to correct or minimize your flaws. Here are some frequently reported practices of poor leadership.
Prioritizing activities and failing to lead the team members.
Managing involves getting things done, but we can never forget that leaders get there through the members of their teams. Planning, administering, controlling, developing products and services, etc., are all part of a manager’s responsibilities, but it mainly requires leading people. To bring out the very best in our employees, we need to inspire, encourage, coach, give direction and feedback, listen, etc. Never forget that one of your primary responsibilities as a leader is to provide guidance and inspire your team members to achieve the company’s objectives and their true individual potential.
“Knowing it all.”
It is very difficult to grow professionally when your manager thinks they know everything and have all the answers. This kind of leader does not collaborate with their teams and consistently pushes a notable hierarchy. They often offer no reasoning and simply make demands, leaving no room for questioning or suggestions.
A micromanager wants to manage and control employees closely. However, it is done in a manner that usually demonstrates a lack of trust. The fear of losing control is usually one of the main roots of the problem, and the results include reduced employee morale, a loss of motivation and involvement, a decrease in productivity and job satisfaction, loss of employee trust, increased turnover, and an increase in fear of making mistakes. Additionally, time is a limited resource, and micromanagement consumes time that should be dedicated to other tasks that only the manager can do.
Taking credit for their employees’ accomplishments and pointing fingers when things go wrong
How do you feel when your manager takes credit for your ideas or work? I can still remember the first time that happened to me, and I learned there and then what not to do as a leader! When things go well, good leaders make sure that recognition goes to those who deserve it and promote their team members and accomplishments. When things go wrong, leaders need to take responsibility and look for possible solutions together with their teams. Leading by example, demonstrating appreciation, and admitting mistakes are fundamental characteristics of good leadership.
What other leadership flaws have impacted your career as a leader or team member? How have you managed to overcome them or work under such a leader?
Leader Essentials Group can help your management team develop the skills necessary for good leadership in F2F and hybrid work environments. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting and learn more about how we can partner with you to develop and execute strategic leadership outcomes for your organization!
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Vera Alves is the Chief Consulting Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience in leadership development and business management. With over 12 years of experience as a C-suite executive, Vera is highly skilled in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, operations management, organizational behavior, and change management. She possesses highly developed communication, training, and linguistic skills reflective of a very strong and charismatic leadership style.
_________________________________________________________________________  Lipman, V. (2015). People leave managers, not companies. Forbes. Retrieved from People Leave Managers, Not Companies (forbes.com), 03/10/2022.  Irani-Williams, F., Tribble, L., Rutner, P. S., Campbell, C., McKnight, D. H., & Hardgrave, B. C. (2021). Just Let Me Do My Job! Exploring the Impact of Micromanagement on IT Professionals. ACM SIGMIS Database: the DATABASE for Advances in Information Systems, 52(3), 77-95.