We have all noticed in our places of employment times when we look at the actions of a manager, director, or officer within the organization and thought something like "what are they thinking?" At worse times, this supervisor may be your own. Experiencing this from your own supervisor firsthand will indeed have a lasting effect on your life. If you have ever had any leadership training, this impact would likely be multiplied several times over.
If you are lucky, the worst leadership that you experience will be a short project that you have to do that is destined to fail. At worst, a poor leader will force your daily professional life to be something you dread. This can often be border-line harassment. However, even a dumb leader will know enough to keep this sort of harassment legal.
You will immediately notice the effects that a bad leader. The most obvious symptom is the lunch-time confessions and ventings of co-workers about how much they hate something that was said or done by the supervisor. Some signs could include senior or highly respected supervisors being relieved of responsibilities and consequently resigning. You see, such a leader will not be able to stay under poor leadership. The moral of an entire department or company can easily show numerous other signs within days or weeks.
How can you spot such a poor leader? First, if your supervisor is constantly talking about themselves, or telling you about things that are important to them - BEWARE! This is a clear indication that they are not interested in anything than what will benefit them. Even if they put you on a project, should it be successful, they will take full credit. It will be as if you had not existed, and they did all the work themselves.
A good leader instead will constantly be showing concern and curiosity about you and your interests. They would be picking your brain to find out what you need in order to be successful. The reality is that a good leader will know well enough that the kudos will come to them if their employees are successful. There would be no need of seeking out the recognition.
These were only a few examples of what to expect. I could easily write a book on this chock-full of examples of good and bad leadership situations.
If you are in fact a leader and you are reading this right now, I want to pay very close attention to the text below. I have adapted the leadership principles and traits to reflect the very same things we want in the non-military professions. I not only use these because I am a former Marine, but also because this is a proven formula on how a leader should act.
If you are a leader and you are not employing each of these principles, then you can pretty much guarantee all of your employees probably dislike you at varying levels (except for the suck-ups and "buddies" of course). (I can also explain the "suck-ups" and "buddies" in more detail at a late time if you wish.)
If you are not yet in a leadership position, know that is never too early to begin to use these principles. Everyone is capable of being a leader, even if the only person you are leading is yourself. Who knows? Perhaps your own supervisor will notice what you are doing and give you that over-due promotion.
I plan to make this an ongoing post. In future posts about leadership, I will explain each of these principles in more detail and also introduce the leadership traits.