What leadership styles are the worst and the best for effective team management

Read on and check what types of managerial behavior we give zero points to, thus, strongly advising against practicing it to keep the leadership positions.

a mountain peak as a symbol of leadership styles

Great leaders uniquely can transform a group of individuals into a cohesive, high-performing team.

This, in turn, significantly impacts a company's overall success, including its revenue.

But how do you avoid becoming a destructive manager and instead learn to address problems, not people, to move your team forward?

How do you become a leader with a clear and inspiring vision?

A leader and a boss can be the difference between a thriving and a struggling team.

In fact, a study by Gallup found that bad bosses are the second-biggest reason employees feel unhappy and disengaged at work, only after poor compensation plans.

A staggering $360 billion is lost annually due to bad leadership in lost productivity.

So, how can you avoid becoming one of these destructive bosses?

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The Zero-Worth Manager: Behaviors to Avoid

Here are some clear signs of bad managerial behavior that can cripple your team's morale and productivity:

Zero Accountability

A bad boss avoids taking responsibility for their team's actions and the project's outcome. Instead of analyzing and learning from failures, they use finger-pointing and blame games.

When leaders fail to own their decisions and the results thereof, they stifle the development of a trusting and collaborative work environment, which is essential for creative problem-solving and team cohesion.

This lack of accountability can lead to a cycle of mistrust and decreased productivity, as team members may feel undervalued and less motivated to contribute their best efforts, knowing that success is not recognized and failures are harshly criticized.

As US Army General Colin Powell famously said:

Leadership is not rank, privilege, titles, or money. It is responsibility.

Zero Predictability

A boss whose moods are unpredictable creates a stressful work environment. Employees end up walking on eggshells, afraid to take risks or ask questions.

It stifles creativity and innovation. In an atmosphere of zero predictability, the unpredictability of a boss's mood contributes to a tense workplace.

It erodes the foundation of consistent leadership for guiding a team toward achieving its goals.

This inconsistency can make employees feel insecure about their standing and contributions, which impedes open communication and trust—key elements for fostering a dynamic and forward-thinking team culture.

A legendary management consultant Peter Drucker captured the importance of consistency when he stated:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Zero Rationality

Letting emotions cloud judgment is a recipe for disaster, especially in leadership positions. A boss who throws tantrums or makes impulsive decisions creates chaos and distrust. Emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill.

According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves in their book, "Emotional Intelligence 2.0,":

The need for self-awareness has never been greater. Guided by the mistaken notion that psychology deals exclusively with pathology, we assume that the only time to learn about ourselves is in the face of crisis. We tend to embrace those things with which we’re comfortable, and put the blinders on the moment something makes us uncomfortable. But it’s really the whole picture that serves us. The more we understand the beauty and the blemishes, the better we are able to achieve our full potential.

Zero Impartiality

Playing favorites is a surefire way to destroy team spirit. A good leader values employees based on their performance and contributions, not personal connections.

As Stephen Covey highlights in his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,"

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

This principle applies to building trust and fairness within a team.

Zero Respect for Time

Disrespecting your team's time through unnecessary meetings or unrealistic deadlines shows a lack of planning and consideration. This demotivates employees and leads to shortcuts and missed deadlines.

In the context of zero respect for time, disrespecting your team's time demonstrates a lack of planning and consideration and signals a disregard for employees' personal and professional boundaries.

This behavior can foster an environment of resentment and burnout, as team members may feel their time is undervalued, leading to decreased job satisfaction and a decline in work quality.

Overloading employees with unrealistic deadlines or unnecessary meetings strains their capacity to deliver their best work.

It undermines the team's efficiency and effectiveness, compromising the achievement of key objectives and the overall success of projects.

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The importance of work-life balance brought to light the benefits of time tracking. It proves to be a reliable way of maintaining work-life balance, which stands behind the interest of businesses to introduce time tracking software in creating less time and energy-draining workplaces.

Clear communication and realistic expectations are essential for time management.

Zero Credit

Failing to acknowledge and appreciate your team's hard work is a major demotivator. People want to feel valued for their contributions.

In the zero credit scenario, a leader's failure to recognize and appreciate their team's efforts demotivates them and diminishes their sense of belonging and value.

This lack of acknowledgment can lead to decreased morale and engagement, as individuals may question the worth of their hard work and dedication, ultimately affecting the overall productivity and cohesion of the team.

Recognition is a fundamental human need, and its absence in a professional setting can stifle motivation and the desire to innovate, making it difficult for a team to strive towards excellence and achieve collective goals.

Studies confirm that employees who feel appreciated are more than twice as likely to be highly engaged.

Recognition and rewards are essential for fostering a culture of engagement.

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The Four Habits of Highly Effective Leaders

Effective leaders display a range of behaviors that contribute to their success. Here are six key habits to cultivate.

leaders straits diagram

100% Accountability: A good leader takes ownership of their decisions and the team's performance. They are willing to roll up their sleeves and work alongside their team but avoid micromanaging.

General Norman Schwarzkopf expressed the importance of accountability when he said:

Leadership is taking responsibility, taking risks!
  • 100% Strategic Vision: Leaders set clear goals, raise expectations, and persevere through challenges. They paint a clear picture of the destination so their team can focus on the journey.

Management guru Ken Blanchard underlines:

Great leaders don't set out to be leaders, they set out to make a difference.

Leaders provide direction and purpose.

  • 100% Participation: Great leaders are actively involved with their teams. They encourage collaboration and participation in decision-making.

This fosters a sense of ownership and buy-in from team members. Nelson Mandela said it best:

None of us is as smart as all of us.

Leaders leverage the collective intelligence of their teams.

  • Effective Communication: Leaders actively listen to their teams, provide constructive feedback, and keep everyone informed. They understand that communication is a two-way street.

Business magnate Richard Branson emphasizes this by saying:

If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.

Effective communication builds strong relationships within the team.


banner for acronym for boss

Being a leader is more than just having a title. It's about inspiring trust, fostering collaboration, and driving results.

Remember, a great team is only as good as its leader. Choose to be the leader your team deserves, and watch them soar.

  • Influence: Great leaders inspire and motivate their teams. They can identify and develop talent, foster a culture of creativity and innovation, and understand the power of positive reinforcement.

As a motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar remarked:

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Leaders create a workplace where people are excited to contribute.

  • Passion: Leaders are passionate about their work and their team's success. They are enthusiastic and energetic, which is contagious. They believe in their team's potential, pushing them to achieve great things.

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, captured the essence of passionate leadership when he said:

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

Leaders inspire continuous improvement and growth.

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By avoiding the pitfalls of bad management and cultivating the habits of effective leaders, you can turn your team into a high-performing unit that achieves remarkable things.