Leadership (Part three)

Now that we understand the positive effects a good leader has in the organization and how the good leader brings everyone together to achieve the set goals, let us have a look at the effects of a poor or bad leader.

Poor Leader - A person in a leadership role that lacks the necessary skill, ability and overall qualities to effectively lead.

In most workplaces, high turnover can be a red flag for poor leadership. Poor leaders can have a negative impact on employees and might even damage the company’s bottom line. Bad leadership affects a company’s ability to retain employees and lowers employee morale, motivation and productivity.

Poor leaders may intimidate and bully employees, often threatening to fire them if work is not completed satisfactorily. Employees of a poor leader might be publicly criticized for mistakes and subject to criticism of their personality. Working in such an environment decreases staff morale and increases turnover. Creating a negative atmosphere can backfire because fear can cause stress, and reductions in performance and efficiency.

Poor leaders can be negative people who have no idea how to motivate others. They might feel free to share their negative opinions about the company or a department-wide project, rather than emphasizing the positive aspects of a situation or problem. Unable to consider anyone’s viewpoint but their own, poor leaders don’t respond well to complaints or suggestions.

Poor leaders don’t value communication with their employees and poor leaders are often poor listeners. Employees want and deserve to be heard. Failing to make expectations clear can frustrate employees and hinder their ability to successfully complete a task.

Now that we understand the effects of good and poor leadership on an organisation, team or department we need to understand the differences between a boss and a leader.

Every leader is a boss, but every boss is not the leader. This defines the difference between a boss and a leader. The biggest difference between a boss and a leader is the boss is respected and obeyed because of their seniority and a leader is respected and looked up to as an example not only because of seniority but mainly because of the qualities of character and ability.

A boss has authority, whether or not it’s been earned and the boss’ word is simply the boss’ word, whether it pleases or angers their staff. A boss holds someone’s wellbeing in their hands by permitting them to have a job, or by suddenly denying them employment. A leader’s authority comes in the form of people’s belief. A leader’s authority can be taken away more easily than a boss’ authority. If enough people stop believing in the words of the leader, he or she stops having influence over others.

To be a leader, every boss must display characteristics such as knowledge, planning, anticipation, foresight, action, result-oriented approach, respect every team member and earn their respect as well as being a mentor. This is quite a list, but if you want to become a good leader you need these qualities. This is true not only for national leaders but for people in every leadership position in any organization. Once a person earns the respect of their team members they cease to be only a boss and transform into a leader.

The boss says- “Go”; the leader says- “Let’s go”

The writer is a Kigali Based business consultant and strategist.


E-mail: john@gmskigali.com

This article is the third of a series on leadership by the author and will run exclusively on Business Times for the coming weeks