11 Profiles in Bad Leadership Behavior

Recognizing where you fall short in your management style and then developing a plan to strengthen those areas can mean the difference between being a boss and being a leader. It can also make a difference in how far you advance in your IT management career.

Tue, April 30, 2013

CIO — Most of us have worked for a bad supervisor at one point in our lives. (If you haven't, consider yourself very lucky.) Perhaps they yelled a lot and kept everyone walking on egg shells, or maybe they couldn't or wouldn't articulate what they expected. However it manifests itself, bad leadership can kill your company's productivity and can spread like a cancer. The important thing for your career goals is that you don't let yourself fall into any of these bad management traps.

Just because you hold a leadership position doesn't mean you are a good leader. "As a manager, you wield a tremendous amount of power. You can be an incredibly negative power or a positive one who's looked up to by both peers and employees," says Kathleen Brush, author of The Power of One: You're the Boss.

According to Brush, many people in leadership positions don't understand that employees don't come self-motivated. "If you're lucky, you may have one or two [employees] who are and so it's the bosses' job each day to motivate their employees," says Brush.

The effects of bad leadership can range from mundane to catastrophic. The effects could mean missed software milestones, late product delivery, poor employee retention, unethical behavior and more.

To make sure you keep your career on an upward trajectory, it's important to determine where your strengths and shortcomings lie. Knowing this allows you to fill the gaps and strengthen areas of weakness.

The 11 profiles listed here fall into the demotivating behavior category, so If you find yourself fitting some of these descriptions, it's time for some self-examination and perhaps time to make some changes.

The Lousy Listener

Speaking of communication, this is normally a person who has a fairly large ego and typically doesn't listen because he/she feels like they have all the answers. This, in turn, causes employees to have a hard time buying into projects and goals knowing that their superior hasn't considered something that could cause issues later.

Another example that Brush offers: "I saw repeatedly that you'd have a marketing or HR person and the company is contemplating some new IT technology and they would just glaze over. Next thing you know your employees are saddled with a system that causes productivity to decrease because their manager didn't participate in the decision when they should have." She also noted the reverse with CIOs and people from a tech background. When strategy and marketing came into the play, she'd see that same vacant stare.

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