Employees can learn a lot from their bosses, those that embody the quintessential characteristics of leadership as well as those who lack the leadership traits necessary for success. Learning from bad leaders is important because it teaches us what not to do. Here are some wise lessons you can learn from the worst leaders.

1. Embrace humility
We’ve all had at least one bad boss in our lives who belittled us and at times made us feel disrespected. An arrogant leader is a great example not to follow, and the key lesson we can learn from such a leader is to lead with humility. Arrogant leaders often focus on commanding instead of leading and quickly lose respect in the eyes of their peers. You have a much greater chance of being looked up to if you’re gentle and focus on leading with humility.

2. Be grateful
Acknowledging the hard work of employees and showing them well-deserved appreciation for their efforts is the true sign of a great leader. This instills the confidence and inspiration to be better in your team. It also teaches them how to appreciate those around them, creating a healthy and positive work environment.

3. Cultivate calmness
A leader who loses their cool every time things don’t go according to plan isn’t an ideal boss for anyone. Calmness reflects strength and being able to handle problems calmly and find a way forward with an even-keeled temperament elicits respect. It also inspires trust and loyalty and makes it easier for those who work under you to approach you in times of crisis.

4. Mitigate conflicts
Conflict resolution is an important part of leadership and a good boss is always a great mediator. If you’re not a good mediator, chances are your employees may not trust you with important issues, resulting in fractious team relationships, which in turn can adversely affect productivity. A good leader will always try to seek a resolution to a conflict without siding with one party, resulting in a win-win situation for everyone involved.

5. Be a good listener
Effective communication requires being a good listener. Good leadership is a healthy balance of discipline and empathy and it’s easy to become a bad boss if you fail to observe, listen, and learn. Conversely, a good boss will spend a significant portion of their time listening to their employees and learning from them. This inspires the confidence amongst the employees that their input is valued and their ideas matter.

6. Unlock the potential of every employee
As a boss, you’re likely to lead people with diverse strengths and weaknesses. A bad leader focuses on weaknesses but a strong leader can adapt to these different personalities. Strong leaders unlock the potential of every employee by valuing people for their strengths, acknowledging their weaknesses, and making smart decisions about assignments, roles, and responsibilities. This is what enables a good leader to get the best out of their team and give every employee a chance to grow and succeed.

7. Don’t hold grudges
Bad leaders judge and shame employees for their mistakes and thus stifle creativity in the process. Good leaders have a quality of forgiveness and a forward-thinking approach that earns them respect. Mature leaders have the ability to look past mistakes and give their employees second chances. This encourages creativity and fosters a risk-taking and problem-solving culture among the team.

Final Words

You may not have believed that learning so many valuable lessons from a bad leader is possible. But the truth is, every positive or negative experience in our life teaches us something. No one enjoys having a bad boss, but learning from less-than-perfect leaders is important to hone your own leadership skills.

So, in addition to seeking out positive mentors and role models, consider looking back at bad leaders youve worked with in your career. Discovering what not to do in a position of authority can be truly eye-opening and these lessons can allow you to become a better and more impactful leader.

At the end of the day, being a leader isn’t about your designation. It’s about your attitude and your ability to get the best out of your team.

About SeraphCorp

SeraphCorp is a Singapore-based leadership institute that offers leadership development training, courses, workshops, and bespoke programmes.

Our goal is pure and simple: to strengthen the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore, to impact communities by building up leaders, and to have every organisation and every leader come away from our programmes fundamentally changed in some way.

Our clients include leaders and managers from all sectors and industries, while the companies we work with span the spectrum from SMEs to global corporations. Our faculty is recruited from diverse fields & industries and have previously been CEO, CFO, general manager, founders of companies, head banker and director.

Whether you need your organisation’s leaders to engage better with its employees or identify the leadership capabilities essential for your organisation to continue to thrive and grow, we can help you accomplish your leadership goals.

Book an obligation-free consultation with one of our learning advocates today to find out more about our programmes.

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