Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

The impact of poor leadership in an organization


Guest post by Jen of JenLeads Blog

In business, being a leader doesn’t just fill a job title. You must have the capacity to motivate your team to enable them to deliver their tasks in a timely manner and in line with the overall goals of the company.

On the other hand, unmet targets are only the start of the problems caused by bad leaders in any organization. Today, let’s talk about the effects of poor leadership on your team.

Poor leader3

Lack of direction

Poor leaders are characterized by their lack of ability to provide direction to the team, which may stem from their own lack of vision. Chron says not setting clear expectations keeps workers from understanding what they actually need to deliver. It can cause frustration on both ends when the deliverables are not completely in line with what the department needs.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to provide not just clear instructions to your team, but also to help them see how their tasks contribute towards achieving the company’s overall objectives. Keeping them informed of how their efforts impact the organization can motivate them to perform at their best while considering their own obligations.

Plus, you also get to see how your employees grow as the business moves forward. Constant growth of workers is more vital than simply completing tasks because at the end of the day, they are still the main driving force towards the company’s success. In other words, an employee who does what’s required is good; but one who exceeds expectations and develops into an invaluable company asset is the best.

Lack of coordination and teamwork

In most instances, a bad leader only looks after himself or herself. This involves trying to look good with the top management at the expense of the other people, particularly his/her teammates. The result is distrust, not just with the employees towards their head, but also with the top management toward their staff if they believe what the bad leader is saying.

In case things go wrong, a good leader should accept shared responsibility, instead of simply foisting the blame on others. Menlo Coaching stresses a leader should do their part to fix problems. You are instrumental in effectively linking the top management to its employees. You should be able to communicate properly to both parties in terms of what either side needs in order to achieve the firm’s goals.

The employees will see what the management wants to achieve, while the bosses will be able to understand what support their staff needs in order to deliver well. If the situation permits, collaborate with your team to be able to quickly formulate the best solutions.

Loss of morale

As the saying goes, “People do not leave jobs, they leave managers.” Poor leadership is cited as the main reason why employees leave, largely because of loss of morale. eHow reported a survey by the Arizona Department of Public Safety which revealed that 67% of workers in the state experience low morale because of their manager. This happens if employees believe that some of their colleagues are being favored over others. The feeling gets worse if they experience burnout, or if they’re demeaned and their efforts are not appreciated.

Talk to them regularly so you can see how they are handling their job. A previous post here on Lead on Purpose explained why leaders should assign tasks according to their employees’ strengths. You are in a unique position to push your employees and boost their spirits. Such actions yield two main benefits: they can perform their job effectively and; they are going to be happy working for the organization.

Moreover, it is your job to make sure they do not feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks that you put on their plate. Each step taken with an employee should always be accompanied with your full engagement so they’ll know that they really have someone at their backs in every step of the way.

No leader is perfect, and each one has his/her own strengths and weaknesses. An effective leader, however, takes the time to analyze where they are weak so they can take measures to mitigate or prevent these issues from affecting the organization.

Questions: How can  you improve the leadership in your organization? What changes will make the difference? Please leave a comment in the space below.


Jen (of JenLeads Blog) has an MBA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Brown University. She is currently a freelance writer, contributing to publications like Reader’s Digest and The New Yorker.

The Product Management Perspective: Leadership makes (or breaks) a product organization. Because PM teams work so closely with other teams in the company—over whom they rarely have managerial responsibility—leadership is key to success and progress. Take a close look at your organization and find ways you can add to its success through your improved leadership.

5 thoughts on “The impact of poor leadership in an organization

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  3. One thing that is almost never mentioned in these countless articles on leadership and management styles etc is: why have leaders and managers at all? Does having that strata make things better or worse? The basic need for them at all is never questioned, always presumed. Yet we do have the option of a horizontal organisational style in which all staff connected to a job have equal say and responsibility. Why must it always been a tight vertical hierarchy style?

    The next thing which is sometimes asked but no where near enough is: isn’t it the very nature of that inflexible vertical hierarchy that creates most of the problems? The isolation and arrogance of the top level leaders is encouraged by it. The feeling of powerlessness and lack of a ‘stake-hold’ in the organisation felt by those of the lower level staff is created by it. Problems such as ‘motivating your team’ often originate in the very organisational nature of the business and of the basic capitalist character of the system it operate within. The lack of motivation comes from feeling like just a robot in the system, not valued as a human, not being asked for your view about how X process should be done or why we are making Y useless product in the first place, etc.

    The article here mentions a report noting ’67% of workers in the state experience low morale because of their manager’ – and then go onto mention individual aspects. Is it not just as likely to be systemic aspects that cause the problem? They are burned out because the exploitative system they are in burns them out! Has as its basic aim to get the most work out of them for the least pay. They are demeaned not just by the manager but by the basic system they are in which robs them of the ability to control their own work and receive the full benefit of their efforts. Thats are system also demeans the manager too – just with less ferocity than it demeans the main staff.

    So, basically, the problem is not with leaders and managers, its with the system both normal staff and managerial staff operate within. If our real aim is the happiness and efficiency of workers then we need to change the whole system. The article even hints at the real solution, almost be accident. It says: ‘collaborate with your team to be able to quickly formulate the best solutions.’ Yes, the collaboration of EQUALS is the way to come up with good solutions. That is, a work system in which each staff member is not an employee being exploited and powerless, but someone with equal power, equal say and who receives an equal benefit from the work done.

    Why is that solution almost never discussed?

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