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7 Poor Leadership Qualities and How to Fix Them

June 21, 2022

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Effective business administration leadership is an essential ingredient when it comes to creating a positive workplace. It can help keep morale high, promote teamwork, inspire trust, and provide a sense of purpose and direction for the organization.

Unfortunately, not all leadership has this transformative effect.

Sometimes, individuals in management roles have poor leadership qualities that can negatively impact business operations, workplace culture, and productivity levels. That’s why it’s important to identify these bad behaviors as soon as possible and fix them so you can mitigate any problems that may follow.

This guide will shed light on some of the poor leadership qualities found in the workplace and explore ways in which these issues can be fixed.

1. Poor communication skills.

Ineffective communication from a leader can ripple its way throughout the entire business hierarchy. Poor communication can manifest itself in vague project deliverables, poorly defined timelines, and ambiguous roles and responsibilities. Consequently, this leads to misunderstandings, bottlenecks, failures, and dissatisfied customers and employees which can wreak havoc and disrupt the smooth flow of business operations.

A woman telling a man, "We learn how to communicate."

You can upgrade your communication skills by focusing on empathy and inquiry. A common mistake people make is to assume that the person they are communicating with is experiencing the same thing they are. This can lead to serious communication breakdowns.

Instead of just simply stating a list of instructions, try asking your coworker gently-phrased questions to assess whether they’ve understood. This can help to identify any knowledge gaps without having them feel like they’re being quizzed.

The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand — we listen to reply. Try to ground yourself in the present moment and actively listen to what the other person is saying. Then, pause after they share their concerns, ideas, and suggestions, and try to fully understand their perspective before responding. When you do respond, start by using their words to let them know you heard what they were saying and clarify that you got it right.

2. Unable to take responsibility or accept blame.

Accountability is the obligation of an individual to take responsibility for their activities and transparently disclose the results. Bad leaders typically fail to take full ownership of any mistakes and point fingers at others instead.

If you refuse to admit you’ve done something wrong as a leader and won’t take accountability for failure, it’ll start to breed resentment within your team. This eventually leads to a loss of trust and respect which can make employees feel less aligned with company values and push them to start looking for a workplace that’s a better match.

A true leader pulls the thumb before they point the finger. They take responsibility for everything and turn every misstep into an opportunity. In the face of failure, ask yourself these questions: “What could I have done differently?” or “What can I learn from this mistake so that I don’t do it again?” Answering questions like these can help you take full ownership of problems without passing the blame to others.

A good leader realizes that they truly had no claim on any of the credit at all in the first place — they see the contributions everyone has made towards the company’s success. Instead of making things personal, privately address your employees' mistakes and kindly explain how they could do better next time — not from a position of authority, but a position of genuine care. Great leaders take this one step further by taking the blame publicly without dissent.

3. Tends to micromanage or fails to delegate.

Do you have to always keep close tabs on your team? Need to be consistently cc’d on emails? Prefer to laser in on every single detail?

Then there’s no kind way to say this, but… you’re a micromanager.

According to Muriel Maignan Wilkins, an executive coaching and leadership development firm, “micromanaging dents your team’s morale by establishing a tone of mistrust — and it limits your team’s capacity to grow.” It hampers the ability to focus on what’s truly important and induces a lot of stress in the workforce. So, what can you do to fix this?

The first step is to look inwards and ask yourself why you’re micromanaging. Then, identify the root cause(s) of it. In most cases, it’s due to insecurity — you place a lot of value on the opinions of others, so to ensure that your team executes the tasks exactly the way you do, you obsess over each step they take. Once you’re aware of these reasons, you can take the necessary steps to deal with them.

You can also start prioritizing what matters and what doesn’t. Remember, a good leader trains and delegates. You can’t take on everything regardless of how important the tasks are. Identify the most value-adding tasks and focus all of your energy on them. Pass the tasks that are “low-hanging fruits” to the rest of the team. That'll help you complete a range of tasks while strengthening the trust between you and your team.

4. Avoids conflict.

It isn’t uncommon for conflicts to arise in the workplace. A sign of poor leadership is avoiding tension to create the appearance of harmony. Instead of addressing grievances directly, bad leaders take the easy way out by brushing things under the rug.

A man awkwardly turning to exit a room.

Leaders who do this are more concerned about being well-liked, avoiding a negative reputation, or being put into a situation that might reveal their leadership vulnerabilities. Avoiding confrontation is a sign of weakness, and their attempts to maintain peace only contribute to an artificial, untrustworthy work environment.

A good leader is comfortable being uncomfortable. Instead of dodging difficult situations, leaders must face them head-on. Rather than imposing your influence, hierarchy, or rank, seek to understand the perspectives of the stakeholders involved in the conflict. Try to reach a consensus with the parties in a way that satisfies them (with a few sacrifices from all sides, of course) and aligns with the values of the company.

Remember, conflict resolution is not black and white — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Great leaders have the self-awareness and wisdom to confront and diffuse tension while being fully aware that their decisions can’t please everyone.

5. Unable to accept mistakes.

Try not to look at mistakes as failures. This unfortunate frame of mind instills a natural fear of mistakes within a team. Since employees aren’t allowed to fail, they hold back on their potential, constantly judge themselves and their work, and eventually lose trust in the organization.

A true leader understands through empathy. Making mistakes is not the end of the world — we’re all human, flawed, and make mistakes. Leaders should make it a point to forgive more often and “humanize” their relationship with their employees. As the saying goes, “to err is human, to forgive divine.”

Forgiveness creates room for new possibilities and sends an important message to employees: keep trying. Your team will appreciate your company and invest more of their time and effort into its goals. This is the only way to help each member of the team reach higher levels of success.

6.  A know-it-all attitude.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are willing and determined to learn, no one can stop you." There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement — but how does it apply to leadership within a business?

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school or finally get that senior position in a company. If you aren’t willing to continue learning, then your brain is subject to idleness, and passivity, and will come to a standstill.

A man saying, "Are you incapable of restraining yourself, r do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

Many leaders use their paper-based qualifications to exude a know-it-all attitude and dismiss the ideas of their co-workers and employees because they believe themselves to be superior. An excellent leader has the wisdom to know what they don’t know. Despite their power, ranking, and previous educational background, they continue to work on themselves and learn from others, regardless of the position they hold.

Be willing to learn, remain coachable, and be teachable. Be open-minded — listen, observe, and consider different points of view, perspectives, and ways of being. Everyone is valuable and has something different to contribute to the team.

7. Lack of respect.

ResumeLab found that a whopping 72% of the people they surveyed were treated rudely or disrespectfully by a boss. Furthermore, nearly 70% of respondents were criticized in front of their peers, and 83% of them felt bad about it.

A man in a wrestling ring yelling, "You will treat me with respect!"

Overstepping employees’ limits is the worst leadership characteristic. Keep in mind that when a leader does this, it has a critically negative impact on the whole team. You’ll begin to lose your loyal employees to other opportunities that grant them the respect that they deserve.

A respectful workplace brings enormous benefits to an organization. Employees are more likely to be resilient, cooperate with others, perform better and more creatively, and take direction from their leaders.

If you want your employees and co-workers to respect you, you have to lead by example. Treat others as you'd like to be treated, act with integrity, and treat your colleagues, employees, and clients like they matter — because they do.

Good leaders share good knowledge

A good leader isn't defined by the position they hold in a company. It starts with being aware of their actions within a larger organization and how they influence those around them, regardless of their position.

If you saw yourself in some of the characteristics listed here, don’t be discouraged. Recognizing where you can do better is the first step to developing strong leadership skills, and in turn, a stronger company and culture. Technology can also help you take the necessary steps to improve your leadership qualities. A top-level learning management system-alternative like Trainual can streamline and automate your training process in a single, personalized platform.

The platform is equipped with different modes of learning (visual, video, text) to suit your learning preferences. Let’s say you are struggling with accountability. Using our business playbook, you can house all of your company's processes, policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in one place. Since it outlines exactly how your business does what it does — down to each role, responsibility, and business strategy — your team stays aligned and you can hold your people accountable (including yourself, of course).

You can use this resource to point out the areas of leadership you might personally be weaker in or struggle with. Once you’ve recognized those areas, Trainual can help you construct modules and assessments that specifically address those issues and set you well on your way to becoming a better leader.

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Article

7 Poor Leadership Qualities and How to Fix Them

June 21, 2022

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Share it!
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You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Effective business administration leadership is an essential ingredient when it comes to creating a positive workplace. It can help keep morale high, promote teamwork, inspire trust, and provide a sense of purpose and direction for the organization.

Unfortunately, not all leadership has this transformative effect.

Sometimes, individuals in management roles have poor leadership qualities that can negatively impact business operations, workplace culture, and productivity levels. That’s why it’s important to identify these bad behaviors as soon as possible and fix them so you can mitigate any problems that may follow.

This guide will shed light on some of the poor leadership qualities found in the workplace and explore ways in which these issues can be fixed.

1. Poor communication skills.

Ineffective communication from a leader can ripple its way throughout the entire business hierarchy. Poor communication can manifest itself in vague project deliverables, poorly defined timelines, and ambiguous roles and responsibilities. Consequently, this leads to misunderstandings, bottlenecks, failures, and dissatisfied customers and employees which can wreak havoc and disrupt the smooth flow of business operations.

A woman telling a man, "We learn how to communicate."

You can upgrade your communication skills by focusing on empathy and inquiry. A common mistake people make is to assume that the person they are communicating with is experiencing the same thing they are. This can lead to serious communication breakdowns.

Instead of just simply stating a list of instructions, try asking your coworker gently-phrased questions to assess whether they’ve understood. This can help to identify any knowledge gaps without having them feel like they’re being quizzed.

The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand — we listen to reply. Try to ground yourself in the present moment and actively listen to what the other person is saying. Then, pause after they share their concerns, ideas, and suggestions, and try to fully understand their perspective before responding. When you do respond, start by using their words to let them know you heard what they were saying and clarify that you got it right.

2. Unable to take responsibility or accept blame.

Accountability is the obligation of an individual to take responsibility for their activities and transparently disclose the results. Bad leaders typically fail to take full ownership of any mistakes and point fingers at others instead.

If you refuse to admit you’ve done something wrong as a leader and won’t take accountability for failure, it’ll start to breed resentment within your team. This eventually leads to a loss of trust and respect which can make employees feel less aligned with company values and push them to start looking for a workplace that’s a better match.

A true leader pulls the thumb before they point the finger. They take responsibility for everything and turn every misstep into an opportunity. In the face of failure, ask yourself these questions: “What could I have done differently?” or “What can I learn from this mistake so that I don’t do it again?” Answering questions like these can help you take full ownership of problems without passing the blame to others.

A good leader realizes that they truly had no claim on any of the credit at all in the first place — they see the contributions everyone has made towards the company’s success. Instead of making things personal, privately address your employees' mistakes and kindly explain how they could do better next time — not from a position of authority, but a position of genuine care. Great leaders take this one step further by taking the blame publicly without dissent.

3. Tends to micromanage or fails to delegate.

Do you have to always keep close tabs on your team? Need to be consistently cc’d on emails? Prefer to laser in on every single detail?

Then there’s no kind way to say this, but… you’re a micromanager.

According to Muriel Maignan Wilkins, an executive coaching and leadership development firm, “micromanaging dents your team’s morale by establishing a tone of mistrust — and it limits your team’s capacity to grow.” It hampers the ability to focus on what’s truly important and induces a lot of stress in the workforce. So, what can you do to fix this?

The first step is to look inwards and ask yourself why you’re micromanaging. Then, identify the root cause(s) of it. In most cases, it’s due to insecurity — you place a lot of value on the opinions of others, so to ensure that your team executes the tasks exactly the way you do, you obsess over each step they take. Once you’re aware of these reasons, you can take the necessary steps to deal with them.

You can also start prioritizing what matters and what doesn’t. Remember, a good leader trains and delegates. You can’t take on everything regardless of how important the tasks are. Identify the most value-adding tasks and focus all of your energy on them. Pass the tasks that are “low-hanging fruits” to the rest of the team. That'll help you complete a range of tasks while strengthening the trust between you and your team.

4. Avoids conflict.

It isn’t uncommon for conflicts to arise in the workplace. A sign of poor leadership is avoiding tension to create the appearance of harmony. Instead of addressing grievances directly, bad leaders take the easy way out by brushing things under the rug.

A man awkwardly turning to exit a room.

Leaders who do this are more concerned about being well-liked, avoiding a negative reputation, or being put into a situation that might reveal their leadership vulnerabilities. Avoiding confrontation is a sign of weakness, and their attempts to maintain peace only contribute to an artificial, untrustworthy work environment.

A good leader is comfortable being uncomfortable. Instead of dodging difficult situations, leaders must face them head-on. Rather than imposing your influence, hierarchy, or rank, seek to understand the perspectives of the stakeholders involved in the conflict. Try to reach a consensus with the parties in a way that satisfies them (with a few sacrifices from all sides, of course) and aligns with the values of the company.

Remember, conflict resolution is not black and white — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Great leaders have the self-awareness and wisdom to confront and diffuse tension while being fully aware that their decisions can’t please everyone.

5. Unable to accept mistakes.

Try not to look at mistakes as failures. This unfortunate frame of mind instills a natural fear of mistakes within a team. Since employees aren’t allowed to fail, they hold back on their potential, constantly judge themselves and their work, and eventually lose trust in the organization.

A true leader understands through empathy. Making mistakes is not the end of the world — we’re all human, flawed, and make mistakes. Leaders should make it a point to forgive more often and “humanize” their relationship with their employees. As the saying goes, “to err is human, to forgive divine.”

Forgiveness creates room for new possibilities and sends an important message to employees: keep trying. Your team will appreciate your company and invest more of their time and effort into its goals. This is the only way to help each member of the team reach higher levels of success.

6.  A know-it-all attitude.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are willing and determined to learn, no one can stop you." There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement — but how does it apply to leadership within a business?

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school or finally get that senior position in a company. If you aren’t willing to continue learning, then your brain is subject to idleness, and passivity, and will come to a standstill.

A man saying, "Are you incapable of restraining yourself, r do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

Many leaders use their paper-based qualifications to exude a know-it-all attitude and dismiss the ideas of their co-workers and employees because they believe themselves to be superior. An excellent leader has the wisdom to know what they don’t know. Despite their power, ranking, and previous educational background, they continue to work on themselves and learn from others, regardless of the position they hold.

Be willing to learn, remain coachable, and be teachable. Be open-minded — listen, observe, and consider different points of view, perspectives, and ways of being. Everyone is valuable and has something different to contribute to the team.

7. Lack of respect.

ResumeLab found that a whopping 72% of the people they surveyed were treated rudely or disrespectfully by a boss. Furthermore, nearly 70% of respondents were criticized in front of their peers, and 83% of them felt bad about it.

A man in a wrestling ring yelling, "You will treat me with respect!"

Overstepping employees’ limits is the worst leadership characteristic. Keep in mind that when a leader does this, it has a critically negative impact on the whole team. You’ll begin to lose your loyal employees to other opportunities that grant them the respect that they deserve.

A respectful workplace brings enormous benefits to an organization. Employees are more likely to be resilient, cooperate with others, perform better and more creatively, and take direction from their leaders.

If you want your employees and co-workers to respect you, you have to lead by example. Treat others as you'd like to be treated, act with integrity, and treat your colleagues, employees, and clients like they matter — because they do.

Good leaders share good knowledge

A good leader isn't defined by the position they hold in a company. It starts with being aware of their actions within a larger organization and how they influence those around them, regardless of their position.

If you saw yourself in some of the characteristics listed here, don’t be discouraged. Recognizing where you can do better is the first step to developing strong leadership skills, and in turn, a stronger company and culture. Technology can also help you take the necessary steps to improve your leadership qualities. A top-level learning management system-alternative like Trainual can streamline and automate your training process in a single, personalized platform.

The platform is equipped with different modes of learning (visual, video, text) to suit your learning preferences. Let’s say you are struggling with accountability. Using our business playbook, you can house all of your company's processes, policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in one place. Since it outlines exactly how your business does what it does — down to each role, responsibility, and business strategy — your team stays aligned and you can hold your people accountable (including yourself, of course).

You can use this resource to point out the areas of leadership you might personally be weaker in or struggle with. Once you’ve recognized those areas, Trainual can help you construct modules and assessments that specifically address those issues and set you well on your way to becoming a better leader.

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7 Poor Leadership Qualities and How to Fix Them

June 21, 2022

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