Worst Performing Leaders: 5 Qualities that Define Them

In 2015, we analyzed 360 leadership feedback data on 1,000 managers supervisors, and senior level leaders, as well as the most popular leadership training and executive coaching requests and discovered patterns and themes in the “worst performing” and “least effective” managers and leaders.


The Worst Performing Managers, Supervisors, and Executives:

  • Inability to communicate clear vision and direction
    When employees ask them “why  they are performing a certain task,”  they respond by saying, “you worry about it doing your job, and let me worry about why you’re doing it.” They focus on daily, monthly, quarterly goals, and fail to creatively connect those activities to long-term strategic priorities so employees can understand the big picture. The majority of their staff cannot explain the organization’s strategic vision, which explains their tendencies to make decisions with a silo mindset.
  • Fail to develop others
    They can rarely miss work without being repeatedly called or emailed to answer questions or resolve issues. Due to their job insecurity, they rarely share organizational/job knowledge with those they perceive as threats and the potential to outshine them. They assign busy, tedious work and when employees complain, they say “well don’t ask for development opportunities if you can’t handle the workload.”
  • Closed minded
    They say they have an open door policy, while simultaneously having a close minded policy by resisting staff suggestions for improvements and innovative ideas. The long-term impacts of this behavior is low employee survey response rates, minimal participation in meetings, and the development of “paycheck only mentalities.”
  • Lack energy and enthusiasm
    They have a go-through-the-motions mindset. They skip training opportunities, announce changes in processes or procedures with a disloyal and sarcastic tone , and rarely deliver employee praise and recognition of performance. Instead, they say “they should be glad to have a job.”
  • Inability to adapt to various personality styles
    It’s their way or the highway! They expect and demand employees adapt to their leadership style. They manage and treat all employees the same way, from high performers to low performers. They perceive others with different communication styles as “problem players.” When asked too many questions, (especially by new employees) they perceive them as challenging their authority.

Learn how on-site training can equip your managers to be high-performing authentic leaders.

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