Top 10 signs to question your boss’s leadership qualities (and what to do about it)

Not everyone has leadership qualities. But those in positions of leadership most certainly should. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t always go to plan. Here are some of the key signals that alert to a bad boss.

Quit looking over my shoulder!

A common grievance for employees is micromanagement. The fear of someone always looking over your shoulder will not, in any way, result in quality work or efficiency. Micromanagement is not only limiting in terms of learning and developing, it also creates a lack of trust and prevents opportunities to build a valuable loyalty.

Dude, where’s the flexibility?

It’s been said that the best leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach. When leaders fail to identify when team members are overworked and do not allow the time to do things that are really needed, it can cause eyes to start to look outside of the company for solutions. Expecting team members to be “always on” is all too common in the workplace. Help the situation by being crystal clear about deadlines early on and regularly monitor team members’ workloads.

Playing the blame game

“One for all, and all for one” as the old saying goes. To put it simply: leaders should be accountable for their team. Passing blame or isolating team members will only create a toxic culture. Leaders who pass blame simply avoid taking responsibility and focus on the problem rather than solving it.

Playing the numbers game

Bad leaders who treat people like numbers are far from encouraging about career development. Check-in’s should be regular enough to not only give team members a clear idea of their role’s progression, but also to know that the leader is interested in their work and development.

When caring isn’t sharing

Sharing works both ways. If a leader refuses to share information and similarly does not encourage team members to share knowledge and experience, the collaborative spirit is damaged or will simply be non-existent. Hoarding information, or a lack of personal and organizational transparency is one of the leading causes of turnover in a company and can lead to a severe lack of trust.

Openly critical

To put it simply, any individual constructive criticism or feedback should be given in private. Keeping it discreet to avoid causing suspicion or an imbalance within the team is crucial. Publicly criticizing or public put-downs are reprehensible. This is key for progress and not affecting the majority in the process.

Change? What change?

Change may be scary, but if leaders are not open to it, they will quickly be left behind. With globalization, digitalization and technology constantly developing, new and innovative ideas need to be encouraged to move forward successfully. Fear of empowering team members can lead to stagnant growth and high turnover.

Overpromising and underdelivering

Talk is cheap! Being optimistic is absolutely fine. But making promises without considering the impact it may have if they fail to deliver can lead to very negative consequences. Even worse, the leader might well just want to move up on a corporate ladder, no matter the cost. Remember, ‘promise’ makes up the majority of the word ‘compromise’, so try to make any development plans a two-way conversation.

Congratulations, you can do better

Failure to recognize high achievers and high performers impacts many opportunities of prolonging a number of success factors. Namely, team satisfaction, loyalty, commitment, engagement and productivity. Smart leaders recognize potential, but they reward performance.

Do not fail…ever

The freedom to fail or make mistakes enables the development of innovation. Most of the world’s leading innovators have failed time and time again before hitting jackpot. You must teach people that each failure is a step along the road to success. And you must create a safe environment in which to make mistakes. This allows for mistake-makers to learn and for solution-givers to help solve the problem.

Get the best leadership tools at Hyper Island.

Bad leadership characteristics may be easy to spot, but they can have long-lasting and damaging effects. Good leaders build teams they want to work with and if successful, the feeling will become mutual.
However, not all is lost. Do not feel like you can’t do anything to solve the problem of bad leadership. At Hyper Island, we design sessions based on experience based learning, which means learning by doing. Our Team Performance and Collaboration course allows you to explore the practical use of the tools, how to deal with the ‘how’ and other processes that emerge, as well as applying and reflecting upon your leadership.