In many organizations the leaders set the stage for the culture of an organization. A great amount of attention is focused on great leadership qualities without first focusing on recognizing bad leadership and/or behavior.

Recognizing (and correcting) bad leadership can be the beginning of creating a great work environment for all employees. Some leaders are born, while others are created from hard work and dedication. Here are a few signs that are consistent with bad leaders.

LaShawn Wilson

Communication Chair
Florida Diversity Council

  • Lack of empathy– Showing a lack of concern and understanding for others creates a disconnectand does not foster a cohesive team.
  • Fear of change – The thought of making changes can heighten feelings of anxiety and stress that manifests in negative treatment of others.
  • Poor communication– Not setting clear expectations, shutting down when dealing with difficult situations and an inability to express yourself clearly and concisely can contribute to confusion and lack of productivity in team members.
  • Micromanaging – Leaders who get involved in the minutiae of every activity show a lack of trust in employees to manage and complete everyday tasks.
  • Indecision – The inability to make decisions for fear of committing to a course of action shows a lack of confidence. Indecisiveness can cause your team members to see you as weak and ineffective.

Any one of these behaviors can be overcome if acknowledged. To begin with, take time to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Accept if you possess any of these traits and others while setting a course for correction. Be humble. Be confident in your decision making ability and know that you can learn from not making the best decision. If time allows, do research before making a decision. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People states, The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value. Acknowledging the reason for change and your discomfort will help ease the anxiety about making changes.

Communication is a two-way process and according to Robert Heller, Communicate Clearly, to be effective you must be clear about what you want to communicate, deliver the message clearly and ensure the message has been understood. Delegate tasks, set clear expectations, and trust your team members to complete the tasks. Set goals for correcting bad behavior and solicit feedback from your team members as you navigate through this process. Over time, you will see a change in the total team dynamic, in addition to decreasing your anxiety and stress level.

Covey, Stephen. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, New York, New York: Fireside, 1989
Heller, Robert. Communicate Clearly, New York, New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 1989

By: LaShawn Wilson Communication Chair Florida Diversity Council

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