We all know that problem leaders cause upset and drama, but the toll their behavior takes on an organization is not always obvious. It manifests itself in a number of ways and can be very costly.
First off, it affects results by creating a compliant team, rather than a team that’s committed to success. A committed and engaged workforce produces far better results than one that is simply complying with the commands of a poor leader. The Gallup Organization has conducted studies that show the ROI of an engaged organization is 2.5X greater than that of an organization with weak engagement. Problem leaders drive disengagement, which undermines results.
Secondly, problem leaders drive excessive turnover. Some turnover is expected, but high turnover is expensive. There’s the loss of productivity due to understaffing, the cost of recruiting, and the cost of low productivity during on-boarding and training. Plus, it slows progress quite a bit. Problem leaders cause high turnover and are expensive.
The next issue is that problem leaders drive “quiet quitting” – the dynamic where people “check out”. They don’t quit. And they show up to work every day. But they do the minimum required. Quiet quitting can become pervasive in a team led by a leader who’s always causing upset. Studies have shown that quiet quitting can be as high as 50% of a workforce. The impact, of course, is slower growth, missed deadlines, and mediocre results. Problem leaders are expensive.
The final issue relates to culture. Most people think of culture as the values and behavior a company aspires to. But in fact, a company’s culture is defined by the values and behaviors a company tolerates. When an organization tolerates things like bad behavior, a lack of mutual respect, poor communication, emotional outbursts, micromanaging, and treating people like things, a dysfunctional culture evolves, causing widespread disengagement. Problem leaders create a weak culture and are expensive.
Unfortunately, many companies wait until the situation becomes unbearable before they get help for a poor leader. Don’t make that mistake…