Good bosses can make or break an employee and the workplace. In fact, many employees grin and bear it through a crummy job so they can stay with a good employer rather than take an easy or better-paying job with a terrible boss. This shows you the power of a productive and talented business leader. On the flip side, if you have a bad leader in the office, it will most likely translate to poor business output and a high employee turnover rate.
So, what are the traits of an effective leader? Here are a couple of warning signs that you need to look out for if you wish to identify bad leadership in your workplace.
This is one of the easiest signs to spot, but it’s also very difficult to pinpoint. Not all cases of poor results stem from bad leadership, but all instances of lousy leadership will eventually lead to poor results.
Good bosses have the skills to look for the root of the problem within their own department and make necessary adjustments. They have the attitude to turn things around or at least have alternative plans to help mitigate losses. They will keep gossip and backbiting at a minimum and focus on making positive steps toward the future.
A Divided Team
One big warning sign of a poor employer is if the department is split into two camps: one who is pro-boss, and one who is anti-boss.
If you run into this polarized scenario, it’s a pretty good bet that the bad leadership is spinning office politics, and nobody has time for that. Purposely sowing discord and division in a team is detrimental to office productivity. Positive leadership will stress unity and synergy because these two elements yield the best results.
Employee Turn-over is Exceptionally High
Employees leave for a variety of reasons, and sometimes even the best employees will seek better pay or bigger companies. This is normal office behavior, and a good boss will always have contingency plans for this. However, a bad leader will force employees out.
- On a related note, here’s a good read on how I went over a decade without an employee quitting. And I’m proud to say that in the years since writing that post, I still haven’t had anyone else quit.
Fear as a Strategy to Make People Follow
Employees will follow a good boss and strive to make their leader’s goal a reality. Unfortunately, not all bosses are effective motivators. Some of them mainly use fear and punishment as a means to get their employees to do what they need them to do. If employees are mostly doing their tasks because they are afraid of upsetting their leader, things are headed in the wrong direction, and the quality of work is probably not sustainable.
Good leaders are hard to find so if you manage to get one in your organization, make sure to foster that talent as they can help your business grow. Luckily, there are plenty of books and resources available so that you can also train yourself to become a better boss and lead in the most effective ways.