Now come on, you know I am joking right? However I do say you can learn just as much from a bad manager or leader than a great one as long as it is NOT what to do. I have seen the opposite where emerging leaders have learnt bad behaviours as they do what they see. Why this title? Well many of you must think bad leadership is okay as you accept it? I have lost the amount of times, conversations and meetings where the CEO or HR Manager shares with me the issues and challenges with their leaders and leadership and the impact it has on well-being, motivation, turnover, engagement, stress, productivity and I could go on on and they turn a blind eye to it – and ultimately accept it! Now that was a long sentence there however we are so passionate about helping you not accept this and to do something about it. We get it – the pain and expense might seem uncomfortable at the start however the reward and ROI will out way this 10 fold. Ultimately can you afford the costs of poor leadership? In turn, bad leaders are also contagious!
The Costs of Poor Leadership
Many of us have seen poor leadership in action – those bosses that drive away your colleagues and new hires in droves, possibly even forcing you to quit as well. You’re left wondering why the management hasn’t changed, even in the face of such poor employee retention. When leadership in a company is poor, millions of dollars are lost each year due to the way it affects customer satisfaction, staff retention and productivity. When only 30% of your employees are actively trying to do a good job, there’s a problem. We’ve gathered some statistics to show you just how much poor leadership really costs.
- Between 9-32% of staff, turnover could be avoided with better leadership
- Poor leadership can cost the typical company up to 7% of their total annual revenue
- Improved leadership can eliminate the 5-10% drag in productivity that many organisations are operating with
- 25% of staff quit because they don’t feel empowered by their leader
- In a company of 250 that has 25% of its staff leave each year, with an average turnover cost of $5500 per staff member, this equals an annual turnover cost of $343,750!
- These figures are the dollars lost in staff turnover due to poor leadership: Entry level – 30-50% of salary. Mid-level – 150% of salary. High level – 400% of salary
When poor leadership is ignored, every aspect of a company suffers. You’re not getting the best from your employees, many of whom are actively trying to ‘get back’ at their leaders through reduced performance. Customers sense (or can plainly see) staff unhappiness, leading to poor customer retention; it’s not just employee retention that suffers.
The culture of an organisation and business is so important, and ineffective leadership causes damage that cannot be repaired until the root problem is addressed. So how do we start improving the leadership within an organisation, and decreasing its high costs?
Start investing in your leaders, and in turn, your employees, by providing opportunities for improvement in their leadership skills. Whether you decide to do this internally with your HR department or outsource to an external company, you’ll soon see the benefits – and so will your bottom line.
Culture changes don’t happen overnight, but it’s worth reassessing your goals, vision and mission to make sure they align with the new culture you’re wanting to introduce and grow – one where employees are led by the best, where they feel valued and appreciated, and want to put in their best efforts for the company. Investing in your leaders means your staff will start becoming more invested in their work, and in the company as a whole.
Companies can’t afford to pay the high prices of bad leadership, so it’s time to be proactive and start facing the problem head-on – can you and your staff continue to pay the price, both monetary and emotionally? Don’t drive away your best employees (and customers) with bad leadership.
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Bad Leaders are Contagious
There is much talk about great leaders being able to positively affect an organisation through decreasing turnover of staff, increasing sales…the list goes on and on. But what happens when you have an ineffective leader; does the opposite apply? The answer is quite adamantly, yes.
An ineffective leader has a similar impact on an organisation by spreading their negativity throughout. Even if a team senses that their leader is negative and intentionally tries not to mirror their mood, they unconsciously start to adopt certain practices and the atmosphere changes as a result. And once the harm is done, even after removal of the negative leader, it can be hard to reverse it.
Our brains are made up of many billions of minute working parts, and neurons inside our brains make us react and mimic the feelings and emotions of others. Termed appropriately as mirror neurons, those negative feelings are being picked up by others automatically through their brain. They are automatically processing others’ outward emotions even before they realise it.
On a positive note, this is great news for leaders struggling to understand whether they actually make a difference to the team they lead. If you are showcasing good habits and a positive attitude, then your staff will follow suit. But the same applies to your poor habits; they too will be mimicked by others.
Happiness being contagious seems to be common knowledge. If you come to work and see someone smiling then, chances are you will respond in kind. If you visit a friend who is happy, then you will leave feeling happier from the visit. You only need to do a quick “happy” test to see the results for yourself. Smile at the next person that you come in contact with and see how quickly it takes for them to smile back. Watch their expression change. A little bit of happiness can definitely go a long way.
A leader with a bad attitude operates very much in the same way. The negativity can be a likened to a virus and can spread quickly through an organisation. The overall work environment and morale of the team as a whole can be affected with catastrophic results. One bad apple can, in reality, can spoil the whole barrel.
The obvious solution, then, is to bring your best leadership attitude with you.
Taking the time to stay results focused and developing a positive vision will take you and your organisation far. Opt for positive self-talk on a daily basis and project the best mental picture you want your team to mirror. When selecting the team members you wish to work with, choose people who take a positive approach and don’t rant with negative emotions every time something goes wrong. People will notice and take the same approach to their daily set of tasks.
Your reach or your influence is greater than you think therefore always represent yourself in the best light possible and always act like someone is watching. Because they probably are! If you are awesome, the chances are you team will be too.
Don’t let your competitors overshadow you because they invest in leadership – invest in your leadership today!
Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills and set yourself and your team up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.
Sonia’s Story – CEO of LeadershipHQ and McDonald Inc.
Sonia McDonald is a courageous leader. A cutting edge entrepreneur. A high performing businesswoman and seasoned professional. A caring mother. An impactful speaker. All with an action bias.
From little things…
Following a forced lifestyle change in 2006, founder Sonia McDonald joined the consulting world and discovered her purpose in inspiring people to learn and grow. With a flair for leadership and strong writing talents, Sonia started the LeadershipHQ blog in 2007. It quickly became a must-read for leaders looking for a more people-centred way of leading.
…big things grow!
With a growing following and the desire to make an even greater impact, Sonia established the LeadershipHQ consulting business in 2008. Since then, she has helped thousands of leaders through her advisory work, keynotes, coaching, workshops and presentations across the Globe.
Sonia believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, doing rather than telling. She is known for her mantra ‘just lead’.
She leads by example. But not content with words alone, Sonia inspires action, helping individuals and organisations grow through one-on-one practical coaching, keynotes, workshops and advisory services.
…she has grown great leaders!
Sonia has helped thousands of good leaders become great leaders; progressing their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire others to join them.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of Human Resources, Leadership and People and Culture. She has held leadership positions worldwide. Through experience, research and study, Sonia has come to realise what it takes to be a truly courageous leader.
…she speaks bravely!
Sonia speaks bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, her personal journey and career challenges. It is this relatable, heart-warming and humorous approach that resonates with her audience and has seen her become an in-demand keynote speaker with a timely message of courageous, kind leadership.
Putting people at ease, Sonia starts important conversations and inspires courageous action in people around the world. She is an award-winning author of Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Her new book First Comes Courage is now released!