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Leadership Flaws: What Makes a Bad Boss so Bad?

Posted on  21 August 12  by 


What makes a good manager?  We’ve blogged about what not to say, how to be a better listener, and even how to work with teammates you don’t like, but here’s some pretty direct guidance from leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman.  They just released 10 fatal flaws for a team leader, and what I find most interesting is that most of these things aren’t bad things a manger does, but rather a list of inaction: things that they aren’t doing that they should. 

And there are a few things on Zenger and Folkman’s list that resonate particularly for market research departments:

  • A lack of clear vision and direction-research departments with a clear mission for insight far out-perform others in the quality of insights produced.  Everyone on the team needs to know what is expected of them and how their contribution benefits the company as a whole.   Effective Research leaders make sure that researchers’ personal roles in generating insight is clear and that insight is seen as a top priority at their organization.
  • An inability to lead change or innovate owing to a resistance to new ideas-resistance to the new is especially deadly in the Research department, where it’s your job to challenge conventional wisdom and identify new opportunities.  In fact, we have found that researchers who are rewarded for creativity and risk-taking throughout the research process will create more impactful insights for the entire organization. 
  • Inept interpersonal skills-here’s a great example of leader inaction being just as bad as taking the wrong action.  Because being a bully is definitely going to put you in this category, but so is being disengaged, asking the wrong questions, and not listening.  It’s a good thing that our research found that influencing skills can be trained on the research team!

What traits would you add to this list of deadly leader sins?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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