6 consequences of poor leadership

Leaders today are under a magnifying glass. Their decisions are scrutinized, criticized and rebuked. In the era of social and sharing media, leaders in the public eye face criticisms that are communicated to hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, without the leaders having time to respond. Social media has dramatically reduced reaction time. And this has a major impact on leaders. Their leadership can be called into question in just a few clicks. Today’s leaders therefore need to manage their impact and act judiciously. If things go off track, the consequences can be significant and even irreversible for the leader’s ‒ and even the company’s ‒ credibility. This means that today’s leaders need the qualities and skills to wield positive, unifying leadership. If they don’t, the fallout can seriously undermine their credibility and impact.

Each leader should take one of these two psychometric tests, such as the "Senior Management In Development" or the "Team Leader In Development" assessment that will allow you to discover the action priorities and development tips helping to implement and help establish conditions for a successful leader development process.

Here are six consequences of poor leadership.

1. Difficulty inspiring confidence

Never before has the integrity of leaders been such a source of concern. Because of scandals that have tarnished leaders around the world in recent years, leaders worthy of trust are more in demand than ever. The ability to inspire confidence is associated with the values of courage, respect for others and commitment, which means taking responsibility for the consequences of decisions, creating a pleasant working environment, fulfilling professional obligations, behaving in a way that is beyond reproach and more. The more people perceive these qualities among leaders, the more they grant them credibility and legitimacy. And the more leader knows how to inspire confidence, the more the organization’s reputation benefits. Leaders who exercise poor leadership have much more difficulty inspiring not only employees, but also business partners, colleagues and other stakeholders.

2. Difficulty getting buy-in

Whether formal or informal, influence is the cornerstone of leadership. It takes others to recognize leaders and confer that status upon them. Influential people use strategies to promote their ideas, get the merit of their positions across, convince others to buy in and put effort into their projects and encourage them to achieve results that allow them to have an impact on others and make a difference. Today, with matrix and horizontal organizations and geographically dispersed teams, to get people to buy in to their ideas and effectively manage reactions and reticence to change, leaders have to be able to convince others through the quality of their arguments and by adopting new strategies. Poor leadership systematically leads to the rejection of ideas.

3. Difficulty promoting alignment

A flawlessly executed plan, tied to strategy, allows the organization to move in the right direction. Leaders have to be able to transform vision into concrete actions and ensure that the actions taken and objectives set are consistent with this vision and with the organization’s mission and values. To ensure the vision is adopted and efforts aligned, the organization needs to have leaders who can convince people to act in step with organizational strategies. Leaders who adopt a poor approach may be perceived as inconsistent.

See the Senior Management In Development assessment

4. Difficulty building high-performance teams

Leaders can’t get very far on their own. They need to adopt management practices that allow team members to put their talents to use, feel like their efforts are important, make a positive contribution to achieving organizational goals and achieve success. Leaders have to provide team members support and opportunities for professional development and give them responsibilities suited to their talents. This is how they can generate commitment and motivate them to take responsibility for and put effort into their job, while allowing them to develop professionally. People who exercise poor leadership often have a hard time rallying the right people around them and helping colleagues and employees advance.

5. Difficulty creating a collaborative environment

Everyone agrees that organizations that survive will be those that adopt collaborative work strategies that are effective, both within and outside the organization. To create a cooperative work environment, leaders need strong interpersonal skills that allow them to build bridges, maintain useful connections within their network, share information and resolve disputes. To achieve the results they want while working with others, they need to have collaborative reflexes and have the right people around them. Negative vibes associated with poor leadership often reach beyond the immediate team. A poor leader’s behaviour will be expressed with a range of business partners.

To hire or develop someone with the qualities of good leader:

See the Team Leader In Development assessment

6. Difficulty creating meaning

More than ever, people are looking for meaning in their jobs and need to know that their ideas and points of view are taken into account. Leaders who can get those around them to buy into their vision of things are those who provide inspiration and enlightenment, and who understand and take into account what is important for people. By creating a connection with others, they generate beneficial change for the organization. Poor leaders have difficulty explaining their vision and getting people to buy into it. Poor leaders have greater difficulty establishing sincere relationships and emotional connections with their resources.

Who wants to put confidence in a poor leader? Follow the path forged by a poor leader? Or put their career in the hands of a poor leader? And, even more to the point, who wants to believe a poor leader?

Poor leadership has major consequences, but is too often tolerated by employees and organizations. Mastering technical skills can take priority over leadership, as can shortages of labour and good leaders. Fortunately, behaviours can be learned and skills developed. Making poor leaders aware of their impact and ensuring they recognize the effect of their leadership style is the foundation for change in the right direction. Making the shift from a poor leader to a good leader is possible... it just takes effort!


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About Martin Cloutier, Co-Founder, Business Leader & Organizational Psychologist
As President of D-Teck, Mr. Cloutier sets the company vision and coordinates its execution. He is the cofounder of D-Teck, and his mission is to reinvent online psychometric tests. An organizational psychologist by training, his approach combines artificial intelligence with organizational psychology to help clients make better decisions about hiring, promotions and development.