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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

Inaction from senior management: The catalyst that disengages staff.

We’re seeing an increase in candidates unhappy in their role currently. There’s usually a perfect storm of events that leads up to an employee checking out. Typically people have left because of their direct manager.

What we are hearing currently is slightly different. It is the inaction of senior management to address middle management that is leading to good performers wanting to leave their organisation. We have seen this as a motivator in over 45% of candidates surveyed between January 2019 and March 2019.

How to spot a bad leader and what to do

The worst thing you can do is...nothing. We’ve all experienced bad leadership. Some of us have been the bad leader.

Personally, my early days of leadership taught me huge lessons.

I was a bad leader.

I was inexperienced, I cared about my role, I thought I was doing the right thing - not the best thing. Luckily, I learned. The positive was that I cared not only about my role...but I really cared about the people in my team. I still do.

There are generally 2 types of bad leadership that I’ve encountered (and one that I’ve been guilty of myself):

  1. Poor Character

  2. Inexperience

What differentiates the latter is that they genuinely care about people and demonstrate empathy over narcissism. The inexperienced leader listens to feedback and wants to improve.

The poor character believes they are right. The “my way or the highway” tyrannical type.

People are unpredictable and we’re all imperfect.

Your culture and your people are at the heart of what you do. The key takeaway is being able to spot a bad leader and taking action.

Schyns and Schilling’s research in “How bad are the effects of bad leaders?” looks at traits poor leaders have:

  • Poor leaders and abusive supervisors are not trusted and their requests are resisted by followers.

  • Poor leaders create dissatisfaction in followers and de-motivate them.

  • Followers of poor leaders are less committed to their jobs and organizations. They look to leave the organization. They may even engage in counterproductive work behaviors.

  • Poor, abusive leaders create stress in followers and can have adverse effects on their health and well-being.

Ben Brearley BSc BCM MBA talks about The #1 Way That Leaders Damage Team Trust and how Undermining Team Members Kills Team Trust.

A sure way to kill trust in your team is to not deal with poor leadership

There are different approaches. For example the obvious solution to an inexperienced leader is to guide them, give them feedback, invest in them and develop them.

The approach with Leaders who fall under the “Poor Character” category is what causes people to leave their organsiations.

The adage of "people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses" is one we hear so frequently at present and inaction is clearly the catalyst. So in short, if you want to keep your people engaged and keep their trust - make sure you take action on improving poor leadership.

Mark Johnson is Director of Executive Search and Financial Recruitment at EGM Executive Search and Recruitment.

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