What We Can Learn From Bad Leaders

Almost all of us will at some point have had to work underneath a bad leader or employer, boss or even a manager. Almost everyone has an experience of feeling completely at the whim of an incompetent despot and as such, we all know just how damaging the influence of one of these people can be.

But rather than reliving bad memories, let’s try and use these experiences for positive gain. Specifically, let’s ask ourselves what made them bad leaders. What can we learn from these managers and CEOs?

Office Politics

One of the worst feelings, when things aren’t going well in an office, is the feeling of being embroiled in office politics. This means people are talking about one another, subtly undermining each other and generally creating a bad atmosphere. Very often, it’s hard to precisely put your finger on what is wrong – there’s just a general air of discomfort.

In a lot of cases, this stems from poor management. In some cases, it is a result of a manager themselves being too petty and trying too hard to be ‘liked’. In other cases, it is simply a failure to solve the problem by separating people who are creating a bad atmosphere.


No one likes to be micromanaged and actually, this will very often create a lot more problems than it solves. This makes people feel like they’re being watched and removes the freedom and flexibility for them to do things their way when necessary.

Lack of Direction

Worse is a leader who shows no direction whatsoever. This person might be afraid to take responsibility for things that could go wrong, or they might just lack the understanding necessary to make smart decisions for the team. Either way, they shouldn’t be leading!


Of course, a leader still has emotion but it’s important for them to have this under wraps. Being a good leader means being a barometer for the rest of the office and helping others to feel calm and in control. If your leader is constantly yelling at people and is visibly nervous, this won’t create a positive atmosphere at all.


Perhaps the biggest crime of all though is complete disinterest. If your leader is obviously not passionate about what they’re doing and resents being in the office, then this will have a big negative impact on the way the whole team feels. Just as passion is contagious, so is a lack thereof!

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