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15 Signs Of Bad Leaders You Need To Take Note Of

15 Signs Of Bad Leaders You Need To Take Note Of

What makes a person a good leader? Is it a position, salary or achievements? Well, yes, but those are not the most important things. Leaders can find and reveal true talents and skills of other people; they can support and promote good workers. If it is not happening, it is not a true leader, but just a boss who happens to take this position. Such people won’t bring much use to the company, firm, organization, enterprise, etc. You can easily define such a person if you analyze his or her behavior. Here are some signs you may notice.

1. They always blame someone else

“Is the project still not ready? It is the team’s fault and has nothing to do with my management.” “Doesn’t the new printer work? It must be broken; I don’t have time to read the instructions.” “Are employees always late? We need to get the new ones; I don’t have to discipline them.” Lousy leaders always blame someone or something: people, equipment, system, etc. It is never their fault! Good leaders are able to acknowledge their mistakes and to do something about them.

2. They are afraid of talented people

Bad leaders are very afraid of intelligent and talented people. If they can, they just don’t hire them. If they have to hire them, they always try to depreciate them and their work. Such leaders are insecure and self-conscious, which are not the best qualities for leading positions.

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3. They make people work very hard while they do nothing

Do you often see your boss watching fun YouTube videos, talking on the phone with friends, playing computer games or checking their social networks while you have to deal with numerous tasks? That is the right example of a bad leader. Often such leaders love to remind their employees how lazy and useless they are. A good leader should always be an example of a hard worker.

4. They threaten their employees

Bad leaders tend to constantly threaten their employees with discharge or demotion. Surely, fear can be a very powerful motivation, but true leaders have to be teachers; they should help people to have the desire to become better and to grow professionally. In this case, the results of work will be much better than with the fear. Threatening can cause nothing but negative emotions towards such leaders and their companies.

5. They intrigue

Bad leaders turn some employees against the others. They can say that certain people spread rumors or sneak on someone. They may think that it creates competitive environment and makes employees work harder. Office intrigues affect people’s morals. Good leaders shouldn’t let that happen. They need to create positive environment that people would want to come back to.

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6. They are always hezitant

Leaders have to be able to make decisions. If a person is too hesitant about anything starting with what paper to choose for copy machines and finishing with who should present the company at the next conference, he or she is not a leader material. A leader has to be confident and make decisions even if they are not always right.

7. They are arrogant

No one likes people who are always sure that they are right and they never make mistakes. Such people always feel superior and treat people like they know nothing. Arrogant leaders are often despised by their employees and have no respect from them.

8. They have terrible relationships with everyone at work

If a boss cannot have good relationships with the majority of employees, there can be no positive environment and effective management in this office. There are situations when bad bosses have many friends, but these are exceptions.

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9. They don’t like innovations

Bad leaders often like things the way they are and don’t want to do something new, to try some new techniques, to buy new equipment or to hire new professionals. They can spend years with no progress whatsoever. Such people hinder the team’s work and don’t allow their employees move forward and develop their skills.

10. They don’t care about what they do

Good leaders are often passionate about their job and about the whole industry they are a part of. If you don’t like what you do, it will be very difficult to inspire people who work for you. Bad leaders can actually become very good ones once they change their career path and choose some other sphere of business.

11. Their employees are miserable

To define bad leaders, you can not only look at them, but also take a good look at their employees. If a boss is clever, honest and fair, employees will be happy and motivated to work. If a boss is not very suitable to be a leader, employees will look tired and unhappy all the time. Great leaders create great workers.

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12. They are excessively familiar with their colleagues

Some bosses behave too familiar with their employees seeking for approval. They think that it’ll make them closer to their colleagues and everyone will like them. They can even share some very personal things such as a fight with their spouse or problems with their kids. Every good leader remembers about the boundaries at work. Such talks will only make employees uncomfortable and confused. Those are not the best emotions for work.

13. They lie

Well, that is a bad thing for any person, not just a leader. Some leaders don’t only lie to customers, their bosses, etc., but also make their employees cover for them. Obviously, that cannot end well in any scenario.

14. They micromanage too much

No one likes it when their boss watches every move they make. Excessive micromanaging is not the job for true leaders. They are supposed to be someone whom their workers admire and want to work hard for. This can be achieved by a personal example, work ethics, honesty and respect for people.

15. They are rude

If your boss swears a lot, yells to people, punishes employees for every small mistake, calls names and argues about unimportant things all the time, better look for a new job. Such people can rarely become successful leaders and lead people towards positive changes. All they do is to embarrass, humiliate and scare their workers.

Featured photo credit: Manager at work/Kristof Ramon via flickr.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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