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Jan 17, 2023 Leslie Beale, PCC, JD

Three Leadership Styles That Drive Away Your Top Employees

As you dive into the new business year, you may be reflecting upon your leadership team. You’re thankful to have these high producers in place, and their consistent track records never fail to move the needle in your company. But, are you certain that they are leading your people in the most effective way? 

While many top leaders excel at business skills, they may have room for improvement in their people skills. Negative leadership styles decrease morale and productivity, affecting your company’s bottom line. Even more crucial in this time of the Great Resignation: red-flag behaviors can cause costly turnover. In this blog post, we’ll explore three unfavorable leadership styles, and what you need to watch for. 


Signs that your employees may have an autocratic leader:

  • Lack of innovation

  • Slow professional growth

  • Resistant to provide opinions 

Autocratic, top-down leadership is the classic command-and-control style: “Don’t ask questions, just do what I say.” While this mode of managing can be beneficial during a crisis or hard pivot, it allows for little flexibility or creativity from employees. Often autocratic leaders are micromanagers, punishing in their approach, and can appear frustrated or agitated when they are questioned. If you notice that certain team members are afraid or unwilling to step up or contribute, it may be time to increase their leader’s emotional intelligence. 


Signs that your employees may have a people-first leader:

  • Inconsistent productivity

  • Uninspired work

  • Decreased morale among overachievers 

Although people-first leadership is highly touted for the care and attention provided to employees, too much of a good thing can be harmful to productivity. People-first leaders tip the scales too far when they allow problem performers to stay in place without improvement. As a result, team members who take their work seriously end up picking up the slack… and burning out. If your leaders spend more time "in the trenches” than they do making tough decisions, they may need to learn how to achieve the perfect balance of people and results.  


Signs that your employees may have a narcissistic leader: 

  • Confusion over an ever-changing vision

  • Overwhelm at a growing list of tasks with unachievable deadlines

  • Frustration due to lack of support or praise 

While most successful leaders possess a healthy level of self-confidence, the narcissistic leader’s belief in themselves is off the charts. More often than not, they are dominant, arrogant, and communicate with hostility and criticism. Usurping the good ideas of team members and touting them as their own, narcissistic leaders leave their employees demoralized and mentally exhausted. Even if your narcissistic leader is a rock-star performer, their short-term achievements may not be worth the long-term employee sacrifices.  

For leaders to truly motivate their teams they must be willing to take control, naturally care for their people, and possess a strong belief in their own abilities. These sought-after qualities can backfire, however, in the form of autocratic, people-first, and narcissistic leadership styles. By investing in the leadership abilities of your top executives, you will increase the engagement, growth, and loyalty of your best employees. 

Curious about the top skills today’s leaders need to attract and retain talent? Download this infographic, then give us a call to learn more.

Published by Leslie Beale, PCC, JD January 17, 2023
Leslie Beale, PCC, JD