Find Mediators Near You:

Why Your Leadership Style May Be the Source of the Conflict

Does your workplace face recurring issues like high turnover or disgruntled employees? Is office motivation low? If so, it’s time to consider if your leadership style is to blame. Leaders are who determine a company’s success. Even a stellar team will falter behind a subpar leader.

All companies experience the trickle-down effect. What happens at the top, both good and bad, will eventually seep down to the bottom. As a poor leader, you erode the productivity and motivation of your team. On the flip side, a great leader keeps their team interested and engaged.

It’s essential to understand what bad leadership looks like. When you do, you can spot a problem before the organization — and all the employees in it — take a hit.

Common Signs of a Poor Leader

Leadership is one of the most common causes of hostility or low morale in the office.

Five common leadership styles that often frustrate workers include a lack of communication, direction, authority, trust and presence.

Lack of Communication

Communication is crucial when it comes to effective leadership. Not only do directions and expectations have to be clear, but you also need to value input from all employees. According to one survey, 91% of employees say their leaders lack good communication. Bad leaders often place a low priority on concerns and feedback. When employees don’t feel heard, they put less effort into their performance.

Lack of Direction

It’s daunting for everyone involved when a leader doesn’t have goals. A good boss is one who knows where you are, where you hope to be and how to navigate the space in between. As a boss, you should clearly communicate company goals to all employees. Without direction, those who report to you might begin questioning your company’s purpose.

Lack of Authority

A good leader needs repartee with employees, the ability to communicate openly and share common ground. However, a leader also needs to take charge of a situation before it gets out of control. Critical bosses are common. However, an unauthoritative leader — one who does nothing and clings to the status quo — can be just as destructive.

Lack of Trust

Team members often feel demoralized by untrusting managers, the type who criticize and micromanage. It’s essential to have faith in your employees’ knowledge and expertise. As a leader, you can’t have a hand in every single aspect of your business. You need to know when to delegate and when to take charge.

Lack of Presence

A good leader has to be present. Even if your team telecommutes, a leader should delegate tasks, track time, respond to employee questions and more. You can’t expect your team to put in the hours, hard work and effort if you aren’t in the office showing off your due diligence.

How to Become a Better Leader

Are you ready for the good news? Terrible leaders can transform into good ones. It’s possible to learn the skills required to be motivational, supportive and helpful.

Today’s leaders need to be mediators, able to carefully maneuver around differing mindsets. Some believe conflict resolution is an indispensable leadership skill, above traditional traits like attention to detail or the ability to multitask. Conflict resolution is a useful skill for dealing with both people and tasks, allowing you to understand context and underlying dynamics. Use what you discover to find an effective solution.

A good leader is one who values feedback, both positive and negative. Criticism shouldn’t meet scorn or retaliation. Instead, welcome it with open arms. Every employee — no matter their ranking in the company’s hierarchy — has room for improvement. In return, your team will feel their voices and opinions matter.

A little motivational prowess can improve any leadership style. Inspiring, personal stories can reignite passion in employees and spur peak performance. Think about times where you had to overcome adversity or work in a challenging environment. Consider how you pushed limits and were able to thrive. An inspirational leader is one with the right mix of both education and entertainment.

A bad leader can cause the downfall of an otherwise successful company. Don’t let a good strategy and talented employees go to waste. Spot a bad leader before it becomes a problem. Plus, learn what makes a leader great, from conflict resolution to motivational skills.


Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a business productivity journalist and wellness writer whose work has been featured on New Worker Magazine, The Muse, B2B News, and The Business Journals. To see more of her writing, visit her blog Productivity Theory or follow her on Twitter. MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Water Diplomacy

From Larry Susskind's blog on the Consensus Building Approach Managing the flow of water, as a river moves through several countries or across sub-state boundaries, can be extremely difficult. If...

By Larry Susskind

Working with Financial Neutrals

Joy Rosenthal's Mediation BlogOne of the hardest problems that a divorcing couple may face is how to divide up marital property.   Each spouse makes a list of everything they own and...

By Joy Rosenthal

Can Children be Involved in Mediation?

Divorcing parents are understandably uneasy regarding their separation and divorce, mainly what it means for their kids. Parents stress about where they will live and where their kids will go...

By Marian Grande