Picture reporting to a manager, and suddenly it dawns on you: My boss just isn't cut out for leading others. Then you wonder: How in the world did they make it this far?

I've thought about it myself plenty of times. People are promoted into leadership roles every day, not on leadership competencies like emotional intelligence and integrity, but on individual performance or more desired masculine traits, like confidence and charisma.

Over the course of time, confidence becomes hubris and charisma turns to narcissism. Soon, your employees are turned off and ticked off that someone was put into the esteemed role of a "leader" when he or she shows no capacity to lead humans

Over the course of 17 years coaching and developing leaders, I have observed firsthand many counterproductive--even toxic--management behaviors that destroy morale and strip the dignity of employees.

1. Stealing the spotlight.

The team puts together a wonderful product, and the client can't stop talking about how elated they are. And then it happens: The manager takes all the credit. No praise for the team, no celebration of everyone's success, no recognition of team members for their contributions. This typical mistake of stealing the light and thunder away from the team will demoralize employees and send a clear message that they're not valued. 

2. Missing in action.

Research shows that one of the most common forms of incompetent and destructive management styles is "absentee leadership." They're psychologically disconnected from their teams and avoid meaningful involvement with them. One 2015 survey of 1,000 employees found that "eight of the top nine complaints about leaders concerned behaviors that were absent; employees were most concerned about what their bosses didn't do." 

3. Not sharing information.

Managers with a penchant for hoarding information do it to wield their power and control their environment and the people in it. And the stifling exercise of power and control over people is the most effective way to kill trust. The reverse is a leader who acts responsibly by sharing information and displaying transparency with their team.

4. Lack of accountability.

You've heard the saying, "For every finger you point at someone, there's three pointing back at you." This toxic management behavior is directly related to a lack of personal accountability, which stems from hubristic pride, entitlement issues, and a feeling of being above others due to positional authority.

5. Incompetence.

This may be the boss who was promoted too soon or hired carelessly and holds a position that is beyond their capabilities. Worse off, people reporting to this boss are senior level and have the expertise the boss lacks. Consequently, working for such a boss is hazardous to your health. Researchers found that the less competent employees rated their boss's leadership skills, the higher the risk for heart disease in employees. 

6. Little to no concern for employees' work-life integration.

Although flexible work schedules and remote work are on the rise, for the most part, managers still dictate and control the amount of work and what hours their people will work. As a result, people's personal or family lives are typically sacrificed for the job; overwork is commonly evidenced by 50-hour-plus work weeks, little or no vacation time, and 24/7 availability for work communication. Consequently, there are profound health risks involved through the effects on work stress, sleep, and the conflict between work and other life roles. In one massive joint study by Harvard Business School and Stanford University, it was found that long work hours were associated with self-reported hypertension and unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking. 

Published on: May 21, 2019
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