7 Awful Things Leaders Do To Their Employees

7 Awful Things Leaders Do To Their Employees

John Eades 24/02/2019 8

We focus a lot on what leaders can do to improve, but we often forget to analyze our current actions and which behaviors we need to stop doing. Most likely, you aren’t an awful leader, but there are definitely some things you don’t want creeping into your relationships with your employees.

Since we are embarking on a new year, here are some behaviors you should eliminate because your team doesn't deserve a leader doing any of them.

Too Critical

Do yourself a favor and don’t get caught in the trap of criticizing your employees’ every move. Choose to see the good in the work that your people are doing. Compliment them on the things they do well, before ever giving any feedback on the things you don’t agree with. Next time you find yourself filled with critical comments, take a deep breath, count to 4 and start with a positive message.


Believe it or not, you aren’t always right. Your team can often and should often make better decisions and come up with better ideas. It’s hard to put your emotions aside and think there could be a better way, but it’s imperative. If it’s always your ideas how will your team ever grow into the team you actually want and need them to be?

Too Busy

Your schedule is booked, your emails pile in, and your phone is constantly pinging and buzzing with notifications. This is precisely why you have to make your team members a priority. Use your schedule to make time for your team and their professional development.  


Yes, you have a position of power but it doesn’t give you the right to berate and degrade a team member. They deserve your upmost respect, much like you demand from them.

Misaligned Expectations

The last thing your team members need to hear is that they aren’t living up to your unrealistic expectations. Please don’t compare them to prior team members at past jobs, or some dream employee that probably doesn’t even exist. If you do, your comparisons will crush their self-esteem and confidence. Your role is to build them up, not tear them down. If somebody isn’t cut out for a role, don’t hinder their ability to figure out if they could be.

Not Coaching

The best athletes in the world have coaches -- many of whom pay a lot of money and give a lot of credit for their successes too. You have the unique ability to be a coach who helps create the best version of your team. Channel your inner Tony Robbins and provide coaching that leads to self-discovery.


If you think you can get away with being dishonest, you are in for a rude awaking. You owe it to employees to be honest about the quality of their work, the state of the business, or your commitment to leading the team. Choose to be honest, choose to be loyal, choose to be the leader you would want to have. You owe it to yourself and your team.

If you find yourself living out any of these habits, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, commit right away to make changes regardless of the sacrifice in 2019.

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  • Jonathan Busby

    Not all leaders are like this, I am thankful to have a friendly boss.

  • Vinnie Neale

    I hate going to work.. I can't stand our management...

  • Matthew Talbot

    We might not agree what makes a good leader, but we can agree what might make a bad one.

  • Chris Dunkin

    Fascinating read

  • James Gibson

    Great insight

  • Dominic Wilkins

    A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

  • Gareth Hughes

    You can help egoistic boss as much you can. They will not give you credit for it. They eventually will see you as more smart and more hard working as they are and they will get rid of you.

  • Mark Dent

    Absoletly loving it.

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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