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7 Negative Leadership Styles & Traits to Avoid - HRDQ

7 Negative Leadership Styles & Traits to Avoid

Poor management tactics can significantly hamper your team’s performance and productivity. It can be difficult to identify your own strengths and weaknesses, but doing so will help you refine your leadership style and improve workplace morale.

There are many different approaches to management—some of which are widely considered to be more effective than others. To improve your own leadership skills, it’s important to start by understanding which management styles are generally ineffective. If you want to maximize your workplace’s performance and retain your best employees, here are seven negative leadership styles and traits you should be sure to avoid.


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7 Leaderships Styles to Avoid

Being an effective team leader isn’t easy. It often requires a significant amount of trial and error to optimize your leadership style over time, but doing so will help you improve workplace efficiency, encourage employee loyalty, and keep morale high. To achieve these benefits, here are seven common leadership styles to avoid:

1. Extreme Micromanagement

As a manager, your team’s performance reflects on you. As such, it can be tempting to closely monitor your employees to ensure they are doing their jobs correctly. But holding your employees’ hands and micromanaging their every move can seriously inhibit their productivity.

Micromanaging can cause your employees to think you don’t trust them to do their jobs effectively and makes it more difficult to establish trust between you and your team. Spending excessive time micromanaging your employees also distracts you from your other managerial duties. While it’s important to take time to ensure your employees are meeting their performance goals, you should avoid attempting to control their every move.

2. Autocratic Leadership

Part of being an effective leader means being able to make important decisions, but that doesn’t mean you should make every decision. Your employees’ input matters—and when making decisions, it’s important to value your team’s opinions. Otherwise, you risk leaving them feeling undervalued and unappreciated. As a leader, your word is final, but be sure to consider your team’s feedback before making a final decision.


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3. Neglectful Management

On the opposite side of the spectrum from micromanagers are neglectful managers. These managers avoid leading their teams and spend all of their time in their office focusing on other tasks. It’s important to give your team a certain amount of independence, but you shouldn’t be the type of boss that never checks in with your employees.

You should always be available to give your team guidance when necessary and answer your employees’ questions and concerns. Alienating yourself from your team often results in your employees being unproductive or moving forward without your guidance, which can lead to inconsistencies and conflicts.

4. Indecisiveness

Leaders need to be able to make and stick to decisions. Indecision and uncertainty can lead to your team losing trust in you, which can significantly damage their morale and motivation. If you want to earn your team’s trust and encourage productivity, you need to be able to make difficult decisions that instill confidence in your employees.

5. Playing Favorites

You may have employees that you have a closer personal relationship with than others. You’re also likely to have employees that generally perform better than others, but you should avoid giving special treatment to any of your team members. To encourage loyalty and maintain positive morale, it’s important to ensure that all of your employees feel valued and appreciated. You should always be sure to recognize your employees’ individual contributions.


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6. Poor Organization

Workplace leaders set the standards for organization and productivity. Managers have many responsibilities, which can make it difficult to stay organized, but it’s important to stay on top of all of your daily activities to encourage employee productivity. This means not forgetting about meetings, showing up late, missing deadlines, etc. Effective managers lead by example, and productivity starts with organization.

7. Being Overly Critical

Nobody likes an overly critical boss. While it’s necessary for managers to hold their employees accountable and correct their mistakes, that doesn’t mean you should always be looking to discipline employees for every minor misstep. This style of leadership often leads to employees resenting their managers as they feel undervalued. If you want to preserve your positive relationship with your employees, you should avoid being overly critical and always be ready to praise them for their accomplishments.

Improve Your Leadership Skills with HRDQ

Developing an effective leadership style is the key to maximizing your team’s performance, and avoiding these seven negative management tactics is a great place to start. By adopting positive leadership methods, you can ensure your employees feel valued and boost their performance.

At HRDQ, we work with employers to provide high-quality training materials that help them get the most out of their employees. Explore the leadership training course materials available at HRDQ to help you improve leadership skills in your organization.


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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.