Is Bad Leadership Contagious?

In an article found by Jody’s crew, Forbes contributor Jack Zenger posits just that. He speaks of when he was a VP of Human Resources where there was a dictatorial VP of Administration whose subordinates were fearful of him and complained about him, but turned out to adopt some of his poor qualities as well. When he was terminated, the hope was that they would do well under new leadership but they did not and were ultimately terminated as well.

In the article he goes on to site some studies conducted between “alpha” leaders and their direct reports, “beta” leaders. Then looking at the engagement of the leaders to each other of the top 10% and bottom 10% in comparison, the lower percentile of alpha leaders had much, much lower engagement with their beta leader. This further impacted the next level down (below the the beta leader) as well in the same way.

Make sound and timely decisions

(Adapted from Marine Principles “Make sound and timely decisions”)

A leader must be able to assess a situation and make a sound decision based on that assessment. Hesitation or a reluctance to make a decision leads your staff to lose confidence in your abilities as a leader. Loss of confidence will then create confusion and hesitation with your staff.

Once you make a decision and discover it is the wrong one, don’t hesitate to revise your decision. Your staff will respect the leader who corrects mistakes immediately instead of trying to bluff through a poor decision.

  1. Develop a logical and orderly thought process by practicing objective estimates of the situation.
  2. When time and situation permit, plan for every possible event that can reasonably be foreseen.
  3. Consider the advice and suggestions of your staff whenever possible before making decisions.
  4. Announce decisions in time to allow your staff to make necessary plans.
  5. Encourage your staff to estimate and make plans at the same time you do.
  6. Make sure your staff is familiar with your policies and plans.
  7. Consider the effects of your decisions on all members of your team.

~ Jody Victor