February 7

Best Boss Ever February Newsletter

January Newsletter Recap

# 1 – The Smartest People Are Not Always the Best Leaders – as you grow in responsibility, technical responsibilities decline, and leadership responsibilities increase.

# 2 – We Are Not Developing Leaders Effectively – Re-evaluate your leadership development and question how it could be redesigned in a more efficient and effective manner.

# 3 – What’s a CEO to do in ’24? – Go beyond your best and brightest people and look for ways to develop more of your potential leaders. Notice how your culture encourages and enables both poor and good leadership.

This month’s topic, bad leadership, inspires me to do my work. It is the problem I want to solve – to minimize the effect of bad leadership. The most prominent example on display is the United States, a country with incredible leadership talent. I know no one inspired by either party’s top candidate – yikes!

My business aims to create more extraordinary leaders to reduce people’s suffering from poor leaders. If this also motivates you, contact me and let me know.

Point # 1 – What is Bad Leadership?

Bad leadership comes in many forms. Kevin Sheridan wrote: “19 Traits of Bad Bosses”. Here are a few of my favorites from his article: “bully, suck up, always right, blamer, indecisive, micromanager, manipulative, vindictive, inconsiderate,etc.” If good leadership and servant leadership are somewhat synonymous, then bad leadership and putting yourself ahead of all those you lead, is also synonymous.

The worst leaders only care about themselves. They lack empathy because they are the central figure of their story. They are typically after wealth and fame and do everything possible to get the next promotion. That’s why they use their teams to perform – so they can get promoted. They often don’t demonstrate respect and build trust because they are 100% transactional.

Ask Yourself: Do I notice bad leadership?

Point # 2 – How Does Bad Leadership Impact Culture?

Destructive leadership can become toxic to a culture and dramatically affect people. From the text “Toxic Leadership – 7 Signs You Are Suffocating Under Its Poisonous Cloud: Inevitably, bad bosses would create a calamitous culture within the organization. They will leave devastating effects on people’s careers and even mental health.”

Have you personally suffered from a bad boss? I have multiple times, and I can say that my performance and those of my team dramatically changed when the bad leader came into leadership. The dramatic emotional and mental suffering from a bad boss creates a snowball of negative emotions: depressed, worthless, hopeless, miserable, furious, enraged, horrified, fearful, etc.

Bad leadership continually cascades through an organization and eventually impacts the way employees view an organization. Susan Lucia Annunzio writes in CEO Magazine, “During more than 20 years of working with top leaders at a wide range of companies, I have observed that what goes on in the C-suite sends shock waves throughout the organization. Behaviors that originate with the CEO and his direct reports filter down, where they are repeated and magnified.”

Ask Yourself: How can I help repair the brokenness and suffering from the bad leaders around me?

Point # 3 – What Can Be Done About Bad Leaders?

Some organizations have adopted “the no-asshole” rule. Which means they culturally say that bad leadership will not be tolerated. If your culture tolerates bad leaders, you could ask others in senior positions, “Why?” One of the best ways to impact your culture is to be a more prominent, good, or great leader. The light always shines brighter than the dark – so take the lampshade off your leadership and let it affect those living in darkness. Become an extraordinary leader!

You may be called to have a crucial conversation with a bad leader. If you are called, find the courage to talk with them and determine if they care about how they impact people. If they care, find out if they notice (you can’t fix what you don’t see) how their leadership is landing on others. Often, removing the blind spot and making people aware that they have a ‘fatal flaw’ gets them into action to solve their leadership deficiencies. If they care and have self-awareness, talk to them about how they could lead differently. Suggest small things they can do. Help them practice regularly and provide meaningful feedback whenever possible to sustain their improvements.

Ask Yourself: What is life calling for me to do to address this issue?

If you want to help a poor leader who may want to become a better leader, give me their name so I can reach out to them to support them. The only thing worse than working for a poor leader is tolerating their ineptitude. Help them get some professional help. I will keep your referral anonymous and do everything possible to help them.

Want to Go Deeper?

1. The No Asshole Rule By Bob Sutton – Wikipedia

2. 3 Ways Senior Leaders Create a Toxic Culture by Ron Carucci Harvard Business Review

3. How Poor Leaders Become Good Leaders by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman

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