Learning from Poor Leadership
Course Number (ORG300) – Applying Leadership Principles
Colorado State University – Global Campus
February 28, 2014
Learning from Poor Leadership
There are many organizations and companies throughout the world that are controlled by bad or incompetent leaders. Some reasons for bad leadership are inadequate hiring practices such as hiring relatives, lack of knowledge around leadership skills, or inherit flaws of the leaders such as power trips or egotism. Whatever the reasons for the bad leadership, the results are demoralized teams and unproductive organizations (Richardson, 1994). Some of these effects are not understood until long after the damage is ...view middle of the document...
He lacked organization and time management skills that caused him to miss deadlines and produce results that were of poor quality. He also lacked integrity and at times was very unethical.
Examples of Poor Leadership
On my first day, Joe flew me to Atlanta to meet with an irate customer. The customer was angry with the company’s performance and the only thing I could offer was sympathy. Being new to the company, I lacked an understanding of the customer issues, the services the company was to provide, or what tools were available for dealing with customers. Joe was pleased that I survived the ordeal and was confident the customer would “get over it” and was ready to move on to the next task at hand.
On another occasion, Joe asked me to compose a complex testing procedure that required several weeks to research and complete. He provided minimal details around the requirements and left it up to me to “figure it out”. Upon completing the assignment, he flipped through a few pages and then threw it across the room, said it was all wrong, and directed me to start over. Joe still refused to give any direction or feedback on what was wrong with the procedure and completely disregarded the amount of effort put into the project.
Another example was attending a customer meeting with Joe in which he was presenting the documentation around the maintenance and testing of a customer’s equipment. He went into the meeting with 17 empty binders with only cover sheets and splines. He used his charismatic style to convince the customer that everything was completed as promised. I just sat there and prayed the customer did not want to look in the binders. These types of meetings with Joe were common and tested my own personal integrity.
Identifying and Learning from Poor Leaders
The examples above illustrate how Joe’s character and leadership style reflected a bad leader. Bad leaders can be characterized by poor communication and interpersonal skills, ineffectiveness in dealing with employees, unethical behaviors, and lack of strategic skills (Aluya, 2009). Norman Schwarzkopf wrote, “You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.” (Brainyquote.com, 2014). Even after 15 years, I still draw from these experiences on how to be a better leader and human being.
Joe outwardly displayed a charismatic leadership style that allowed him to create a great first impression, but his actions showed his true autocrat leadership style (Limbare, 2012). He was hostile for employees to deal with, had no confidence in others, and was only interested in getting through the immediate task such as a customer meeting. He would also use defusion or “buying time” to avoid conflict. These can be seen with Joe attending a meeting with empty binders instead of telling the customer he did not complete the...