Bad leadership behaviors and how to avoid them

Leadership traits are possessed only by a few, and it is important to use them correctly. Here are a few bad leadership behaviors and how you can avoid them

Not everyone you deal with is bound to have sufficient leadership qualities. Only a handful of them proves to be great leaders in actual lives. Leadership is not about being the head and exercising your authority to get the work done by your team. It is all about being a coordinator more and less of a boss. It is about being a part of the team while also helping the team to achieve successful results. Your team should not be scared of you, they should be able to open up to you regarding anything, be it good or bad. The team should look up to you as being their ideal. A good leader always sets a tone for the department, that helps everyone in the organization become better. So what are the bad leadership behaviors and how to avoid them?

Likewise, a bad leader can prove to be harmful for the entire organization and create a toxic environment for all the people working there. There is always a chance that you might have or will encounter at least one bad leader in your lifetime. Read on to find out more…

1. Taking credit for employees’ work

A lot of managers in leadership positions tend to take credit for the work done by their employees and present it as their stuff. This not only demotivates the employees but also gives rise to feelings of disappointment. There are rising tensions between the leaders and their departments because of such bad leadership behaviors and it’s important to avoid them.


Put yourself in the shoes of an employee and imagine the credit for the work you did being taken by someone else. As a leader, realize the fact that when the whole team looks and does good, only then is the leader portrayed as good. It shows the excellent job done in leading the team. Even small recognitions go a long way in this regard, so make sure to keep a track of the employees doing great jobs and give them their due credit.

2. Lack of trust in employees

If you as a leader do not inculcate the sense of trusting each other, then how do you expect your team members to trust each other? Unless you hired the wrong individual- which is also one of the bad leadership behaviors & it’s important to avoid them- it is necessary to trust the people that work with you.


Trusting your employees is the basic building block towards a good team spirit. You hired them because they are capable, smart, and fit for their roles. So that leaves no room for distrusting them. Allow your team members to make decisions themself and have faith in their judgments. This will also work as a motivation for them

3. Overworking people

Getting projects done and meeting deadlines is a good thing, but overworking employees beyond their usual hours is not. Everyone needs to maintain a proper work-life balance. People who overwork their employees exhibit this trait of bad leadership behaviors & it’s necessary to avoid them for the better good.


Consider and accept the fact that everyone needs a break. A lot of people suffer from anxiety and stress because of too much work. Allow flexible working schedules for your employees and promote work from home if needed. Be realistic about how much needs to be done at what time and do not pressurize employees with work. Chalk out a proper work plan and allow for sufficient breaks.

4. Refusal to advocate fair compensation

It is a very common phenomenon that employees are getting paid less than the amount of work done by them and their employers do nothing about it. This reduces their job satisfaction and leads to the worsening of employee relations in a company.


Firstly, accept the fact that employees are underpaid. As a good leader, you need to be prepared to fight for the fair compensation of your employees. Make sure to determine the right pay-scale for your employees with a fair package for compensation. Check-in on employees after a pay raise is given or denied.

5. Hiring or promoting the wrong people

As a good leader, hiring the right people for your team is the most crucial task. A bad hire can cost a fortune to a company. And you don’t want the turnover rate to increase because of the bad hires. Even with the case of promoting, make sure to promote the right talent for the right reasons.


It is important to make sure that good leaders recruit the right people, without any form of biases. You should discuss your decisions with your colleagues and have shared opinions. When you hire or promote someone, it is good practice to share the reasoning behind your decision with the rest of your team. Not only does this ease doubts among your people, but it can show them how they can progress in their concerning careers. Use technology to make your hiring process more accurate. An applicant tracking system can prove to be the most efficient tool for this situation.

6. Shifts blame in disputes between employees and clients

When in a dispute, do you notice whether the clients are always right or your employees? The fact is that neither of them is always right. And that communication is key.


As a good leader, you need to communicate freely with your employees and own up to your actions. An honest and fair leader is always appreciated by their team. A great leader doesn’t shift the blame; they take responsibility for the actions of their employees.

7. Fails to provide direction

If your decisions are misleading the team and results are not achieved on time, then you need to think about your position as a leader. A good leader always succeeds in providing the right direction to their team and guide them towards the goals.


As a leader, you should be setting a clear path for the team. When you see an opportunity to teach your employee something new, go for it! People want to learn under your leadership and will value you as a mentor if you can help them grow their careers. As a good leader, you should be able to give critical feedback that helps your employees progress, not just say what makes people happy.

8. Micromanages everything

A lot of employers keep going after their employees for every minute thing and tries to micromanage everything. This practice can cause immense irritation amongst employees in the long run. You’re not your employees’ babysitter and they’re not interested in being babysat.


As a leader, you are there to provide initial direction and insight, not to hover over every step of your employees’ projects. What matters most is their final product; how they get there, for the most part, is up to them. Discuss with your employees how much they want you to be involved in certain projects. Whether it’s something new or something they’ve done 1,000 times, they deserve the chance to do amazing work on their own.

9. Focusing more on weaknesses than strengths

Stop criticizing your employees for all their mistakes and highlighting their mistakes. Focus more on their strengths and praise your employees from time to time. Paying more attention to weaknesses always can have a demotivating effect on your employees.


Motivate your employees and praise them for their good work and their achievements. Fairly reward them for their exceptional performances. This keeps them satisfied. Providing constructive feedback also helps in the long run

10. Failure to set clear expectations

Creating confusion amongst employees for the standard of work can have detrimental impacts not only on them but also on the functioning of the organization as a whole. It is necessary to avoid confusion as much as possible.


Employees should know what is expected of them from day one. Start by setting goals during the onboarding process, and continue by setting new goals and checking in with employees during one-on-ones.

Always remember that communication is the key to any problem, and as a leader, it is important to make sure that you are easily approachable by your employees and have healthy conversations with them.

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Suchismita Panda