3 Effects of Poor Leadership in the Workplace

It's a common phrase and notion that employees don't quit jobs; they quit their bosses. And it turns out; there's research to back it up. In fact, statistics from DDI, a leadership consulting firm, showed that 57% of employees who left their company in 2019, did so specifically because of issues they had with their boss. There are many repercussions to poor leadership strategies in your workplace. From unengaged employees, who lack any investment in your company's culture, to an unhappy workplace who may be ready to walk out the door.

At A Better Leader, we create online leadership training specifically developed for your organization to develop motivated, engaged leaders. Our mission is to provide solutions for your workplace that provide your leaders with resources to support, improve, motivate, and connect with employees. We understand that leadership training isn't necessarily going to be the right solution for every organization. However, we believe that having an effective system in place will foster a strong sense of culture and avoid some of these potential issues. We've compiled a list of some of the most impactful results that poor leadership can have in your workplace.

train my leaders CTA

Lack of Engagement and Motivation

Employees who have a clear direction and strong leadership from their direct managers/supervisors are more likely to perform better, while employees who lack direction are more likely to feel stressed and unmotivated. Additionally, employees who are lacking direction and recognition will have overall low morale. This is a recipe for a negative work environment. Little to no instruction, stress, and low morale are all adverse effects of poor leadership that are actually avoidable. 

Simply put, if you want to meet and exceed sales goals and better serve your customers, you need to emphasize motivating your employees. This all circles back to your leaders. Are they engaged and committed to your company values? Are they micromanaging your employees? Furthermore, are they fully invested in developing employees at all levels? Once you take all of this into consideration, it's equally important to ask yourself how you're pouring into your leaders. Perhaps they need further career development, additional on-on-one time, or custom training to take the next step and be an example for the rest of the workplace.

High Employee Turnover

In an environment where 94% of employees say they'd stay in their position longer if their company invested in their career development, employee turnover is nothing to bat an eye at. Companies that frequently see high turnover rates can typically attribute this to a lack of career development. As stated before, the same goes for your leaders. When your company focuses on leadership development, it will transition employees with potential into the positions they're best suited for. Not only that, you will continue to build a strong employee pipeline and prepare employees for leadership roles. This preparation will avoid gaps in your organization, and therefore, decrease turnover.

So, how does this relate to poor leadership? Simply put, if your leaders are not effectively trained and developed, they lack the soft skills to encourage, motivate, and, ultimately, retain your top talent.

Bad leadership increases turnover

Lack of Contribution to Culture

Understandably so, employees who feel they are not receiving enough career development, feedback, or appropriate direction will not have a strong sense of belonging in their organization. Your leaders are directly responsible for setting the tone of your company culture. Essentially, that can be the difference between a thriving, collaborative community and a negative and toxic environment.

Of course, this is easier to discuss than it is to implement. You need to make it a point to implement the importance of company culture at the very top level and ensure your managers and supervisors embrace and share this with every employee in your organization. As Harvard Business Review so eloquently explains, "The point is that building an innovative culture starts by looking at how you behave as a leader toward those trying to innovate. The same is true about any culture: It all begins with the behavior of your leaders. To say that another way, if you are interested in changing the culture of your organization, your first step should be to look in the mirror and make sure you are setting the kind of behavioral example you want everyone else to follow."

Turning Around Poor Leadership

As you can see, the effects of poor leadership on your organization and workforce can be detrimental. Having unmotivated, unengaged employees leads to customers who aren't being properly served. Essentially, high employee turnover means you are spending a fortune on replacing and training your new hires while trying to get them up to speed. A lack of morale and support for the culture you are building in your workplace will result in employees who are looking for an opportunity to leave. Be sure to conduct exit interviews regularly to check-in and see why your employees are moving on to other opportunities. Additionally, collaborate with your human resources department to address changes that will impact common deficiencies.

A Better Leader wants to support your workplace and encourage collaboration between your leaders and employees at all levels. We focus on connection, motivation, and behavioral change at a cultural level to support your entire organization and create consistent leadership training that works. We're happy to help you with a custom solution that will increase employee engagement, reduce employee retention, and strengthen your overall employee experience.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is Director of IRI's Digital Workplace Solutions Group, and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.