8 Bad Leadership Behaviors That Destroy Organizations

I’ve heard it said that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. If this is true, then what is it about these particular managers that cause people to bail? What poor behaviors are being displaying that drive talent away and risk the success of their organizations? Related: 7 Tips For Becoming A Leader At Work If you are in a leadership role, now is the time to pay attention. Here is my list of eight bad leadership behaviors you must eliminate if you want to keep top talent and set the stage for your organization to prosper and thrive.


1. Failing to listen to those you lead

Do you listen to your team members when they share information with you? Are you listening to what they tell you in meetings and appointments? And, do you care about what they are telling you? Because you are working with many people, personalities and work styles, it is imperative that you pay attention to the issues, concerns, successes, and challenges of each of your team members. Good leaders know what their team members are doing, take the time to listen when they need mentoring and go to bat for them whenever necessary. Failing to listen will result in frustrated team members who lose faith in their leader and their organization.

2. Failing to embrace and utilize the talents of those you lead

Each of your team members has a unique gift that brings value to your organization. Do you know what these unique gifts are for each of your team members? Have you taken the time to discuss with each team member how you want to embrace and utilize their gifts? Have you consulted with each team member on the knowledge they have regarding your industry and how they can help you improve your organization because of their gifts? Good leaders actively embrace and engage their team members in work that compliments their unique gifts and brings value to their organizations. Failing to engage your team will result in discouragement, lack of motivation, and low productivity for your organization.

3. Failing to acknowledge the work of those you lead

When is the last time you thanked your team members for the work they do? How often do you acknowledge their efforts, address their successes, and identify how each member has contributed to making your organization a success? Good leaders take the time to acknowledge efforts and success and they end with a charge that motivates future effort and success. Acknowledging good work will build loyalty and empowerment in your team members and they will be determined to do their best work for you. Failing to acknowledge your team will drive down performance and effort eventually harming the progress of your organization.

4. Withholding information from those you lead

What are you doing to keep your team informed of issues in their departments? Are you sharing positive feedback as well as negative? If a complaint is made regarding a team member, do you address it with that person immediately? Do you collect all the facts before you make a judgment or a decision on how you should proceed? Good leaders are loyal to their team members and make every effort to address and correct performance issues with them. Failing to communicate crucial performance information will destroy loyalty to both you and your organization.

5. Being a spin doctor

Do you avoid giving your team members straight answers to their questions? When your team members need answers, are you denying them direct, clear and specific information? If you are unwilling to provide a straight answer, you are withholding information and cutting off valuable communication to your team. Good leaders answer directly and are not afraid of communicating positive or negative information to their team members. Failing to provide answers when needed will result in mistrust from your team. And, mistrust will result in poor performance that harms your organization.

6. Being a bouncer

Do you demand that all information, content, ideas, suggestions, proposals, and so on, end with you? Do you refuse your team members access to higher level management, or deny them the privilege of assisting you in presenting their ideas and/or information to higher level management? If so, you are a bouncer keeping your team behind that proverbial white line. Good leaders provide their team members the honor of sharing their unique gifts and value to the entire organization. This builds enthusiasm, trust, and loyalty and failing to remove the white line will result in discouragement, reduction in performance and potential for harming your organization.

7. Holding grudges against those you lead

Perhaps a team member disagreed with a decision you made. Or, you were criticized by a team member and you took it personally. Do you turn these conflicts into grudges? If so, this is not leadership behavior and, if you are not able to grow a thick skin, you have no business leading. Good leaders welcome feedback from their team members knowing the importance of allowing everyone a voice. Organizations run at their best when everyone holds one another accountable. Failing to allow your team members to have a voice will destroy trust and critical feedback necessary for the organization to run at its best.

8. Bullying those you lead

Maybe you don’t physically push, punch or trip up your team members, but are you doing it emotionally? Do you talk down to your team members or use a condescending tone? Perhaps you disrespect your team members or shame them in public. If so, you are a bully and your team members will do everything possible to avoid you. And, avoidance will result in poor communication, lack of motivation, loss of productivity, and an organization heading for ruin. Good leaders make it a point to be approachable and respected by their team members. You must be the go to person for their issues and concerns in order to maintain a strong, successful organization. So, how did you do? Are you guilty of any of these? Remember, it only takes one of these behaviors to begin blazing a trail of destruction through your organization. However, there is hope for you. Identifying what you are doing wrong is the first step. Remember. You have the power to change and it is never too late to become a leader who will bring your organization to the top. Feel free to share your experiences of poor leadership behavior. Thanks for reading my post, and feel free to check out my coaching page. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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About the author

Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson is an Independent Career Coach for CareerHMO.com. Her mission is to help clients find their professional mojo through purpose and passion. She is thrilled to be contributing to CareerHMO and brings to clients, her expertise in career coaching, branding, professional etiquette, image consulting, social media and blogging. Liz has over 18 years’ experience in higher education coaching University and College students as they transition from student to professional. She holds a Master of Science degree in College Student Affairs from Purdue University and is also certified in Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consulting through the Protocol School of Washington. Check out her CareerHMO Coaching page.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CareerHMO coach. You can learn more about expert posts here.   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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