8 Common Traits of Bad Leadership and What You Should Be Doing Instead

Don't be the person causing the Sunday scaries. Learn 8 common traits of bad leadership and what you should be doing instead to foster an engaged workforce!

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Have you ever had a case of the Sunday scaries where you absolutely dreaded the thought of waking up the next day and having to go to work?

At some point in our career, we have all been there.

As a leader, you may consider yourself exempt from this issue, but what if you were the one causing this for your employees, and you simply did not realise it?

Studies show that 60% of people report being emotionally detached at work and 19% being downright miserable. So, the odds that some of your reports might be feeling that way are quite high.

There is, however, an easy way to boost employee morale and ensure your employees are happy to come to work. The solution is simple: find ways to improve yourself as a leader and motivate your employees to do better.

In this article, we will look into 8 common traits of bad leadership and what you should do instead.

This guide contains:
• What is bad leadership?
• Why is good leadership important?
• 8 common traits of bad leadership and what you should do instead

Let's dive in!

What is Bad Leadership?

It's highly doubtful that anyone has ever intentionally set out to be a bad leader. Thankfully, knowing what not to do as a leader is one of the first steps in becoming a great leader.

A bad leader demotivates their team and brings them down by a series of actions and attitudes like not listening to their team and taking credit for their employee's work, among other actions.

A bad leader directly affects their employees and, subsequently, their motivation and commitment to a company.

Let's look at some key statistics on employee motivation:
• Only 32% of U.S. employees overall were engaged in 2022.
Three in four employees consider effective, transparent communication as the most important characteristic any leader should have.
88% of employees believe that well-defined goals and objectives motivate them on the job.
81% of employees would work harder if their boss thanked them more often.
Gen Zs (13%) are more than twice as likely to leave their current job in the next month, compared to Millennials (5%), Gen X (3%), or Baby Boomers (6%).

As you can see from the statistics above, the recent workforce needs a great leader more than ever before.

Why is Good Leadership Important?

If you want your company to thrive, you must have good leadership. Studies show that only 48% of employees view their company's leadership as "high quality." Being a good leader is something that requires effort.

Here are 3 key things that a good leader does:

1# A good leader motivates

Employees want to work where they are motivated, and 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised. Learn how to have a happy and productive team, and motivate them.

2# A good leader adapts

Learning how to pivot is key in business. Take law as a great example of pivoting. Imagine being an amazing lawyer, and coming up with something that seems almost • impossible in a case. A good lawyer tries to find a way around the issue and mitigate the situation.

The same applies to leadership. If you implement a strategy that does not work well, don't be embarrassed to change directions and adopt a new strategy. Your employees will be grateful for this insightful leadership.

3# A good leader innovates

In a recent study, 49% of HR leaders named innovating for success as one of their top three priorities. So, find key ways to be innovative and modernise practices within your company and inspire your employees to innovate in their departments.

8 Common Traits of Bad Leadership and What You Should be Doing Instead

Understandably, no one wants to be a lousy leader. However, a bad leader may sometimes not even recognise they are one. If you read the bad leadership traits below and identify that you may be doing one of these things, don't fret. Learn how to mitigate and substitute the bad trait with a good leadership trait.

#1 Not communicating

Not communicating with your employees is a surefire way to cause bad reactions and ill feelings within your department. Employees want to be heard and know that their ideas are valued.

How to mitigate:

Do not shut them out whenever an employee gives an idea or stops by your office asking for a quick chat.

Truly implement an open door policy and be ready to actively listen to your employees and their ideas. This should be paired with different types of employee recognition so that your employees know they are appreciated when they put in tons of effort.

#2 Micromanaging to the extreme

Nobody wants a micromanager. Having someone review what you are doing every 10 seconds only leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy. A recent study found that 71% of interviewed employees said micromanagement interfered with their job performance.

How to mitigate:

Give your employees the chance to thrive. Likely, you hired the employee because they are competent, so allow them to do what you hired them to do. An easy way to stay in the loop about what they do without having to check in with them is to implement email tracking. This should keep your mind at ease if you are able to see that workloads are evenly divided.

#3 Inconsistent decision-making

Constantly varying your decisions can lead to frustration in the workplace. Employees look to you as a guide for what to do.

How to mitigate:

When employees reach out to you for guidance, analyse decisions you have made in the past and ensure you are providing them with clear and consistent direction. If something does need to change in your decision-making process, simply be open to your employees as to why something is changing.

Another important tip to consider implementing is to have a documented list of all of your standard processes and procedures. This is especially important for complex tasks that are repeatedly done throughout the work day or week.

This could be general practices when it comes to cybersecurity or a to-do list for how to conduct an audit. The procedures or processes can be easily shared when needed through a simple free QR code that will lead to the relevant document.

#4 Lack of accountability

Lack of accountability in the workplace can cause a wave of quiet quitting. Only 2 in 10 employees find their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. Additionally, 21% of surveyed employees agree they have performance metrics within their control.

How to mitigate:

Ensure that you hold employees accountable for their performance and actions in the workplace. If you have employees who are under the radar and you just quite aren't sure what they are doing, find a way to have everyone on the same page and accountable for their work.

If you need to, consider using project management software or hosting monthly meetings to keep everyone on the same page.

#5 Resistance to change

Yes, change can be hard. But in today's ever-evolving landscape, you need to be able to adapt and embrace change. Bad attitudes against change will only bring down your team and impact productivity.

How to mitigate:

Empower yourself through change with effective change management skills. Studies show that 47% of organisations that integrate change management are more likely to meet their objectives than the other 30% that did not incorporate it.

So, learn how to help people engage, adopt and use a change in their work to set you and your company up for success.

#6 Ignoring feedback

It is normal to receive complaints from your employees. However, this does not mean your team needs to go unheard. If you learn your team is overworked and unvalued, you must take action.

How to mitigate:

Allow employees the chance to be heard. Your employees are probably the ones in the trenches doing the day-to-day activities and have a finger on the pulse of activities. So, listen to what they have to say and find out how you can help them.

#7 Ego-driven leadership

Egocentric leaders are self-serving and self-congratulatory, and nobody really wants to work for an egoistic leader.

How to mitigate:

Set yourself up for success by avoiding the opportunity to be selfish or egotistic. Allow employees to provide you feedback, surround yourself with friends or find a mentor willing to provide constructive criticism, and learn how to have a servant leader attitude to serve your employees best.

#8 Lack of recognition

Studies show that 92% of workers feel valued in companies with recognition programs, while only 70% feel valued in companies without one. That's a pretty high statistic and definitely some food for thought

How to mitigate:

This solution is actually pretty simple. Recognise your employees. Give positive and specific employee feedback so they know what they are doing right. Find ways to publicly praise them and show them how valued they are in the workplace.

The Patel Firm is a great example of praise in action. The firm regularly gives public praise and shoutouts to their employees on social media. In the screenshot above, for example, the company recognises an employee’s birthday. Simple and public acts like this are key to valuing your employees.

Level up Your Leadership by Empowering Those Around You

Effective leadership requires self-awareness, empathy, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

By avoiding these common traits of lousy leadership and adopting positive alternatives, you can create a productive and motivated team that thrives under your guidance.

Remember, leadership is not just about managing tasks. It's about inspiring and empowering individuals to reach their full potential.

Want to empower others daily? Explore Pushfar's mentoring programs today!

Author Bio

Freya is an SEO consultant who helps brands scale their organic traffic with content creation and distribution. She is a quoted contributor in several online publications, including Business Insider, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, and the Huffington Post. She also owns CollectingCents- a personal finance blog that she grew from the ground up.

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