Dirty Leadership Tricks

Unlike respect that is earned, corporate leaders are given responsibility. With this added responsibility come additional strings, expectations and pressure to perform from the top. Under the pressure to get the job done a leader may well resort to using a few dirty tricks on their team. In certain circumstances it is always easier to use the stick and not the carrot. The danger of resorting to dirty tricks more and more means that over time the carrot completely disappears. Managers tend to stick with what is working and will become very skilled in the usage of these dirty tricks.

Using the inclusion/exclusion tactic

No one wants to feel like they are on the outside, especially if they have just had the ‘door’ publically closed on them. For those on the ‘inside’ there is relief that it was not them and for the one on the outside there is shame, isolation and embarrassment. By following the leader’s example and wanting recognition the team culture can quickly become vindictive to the ‘outsider’, fostering gossip and malicious activities/comments. The short-term gains of keeping the team inline are eroded over time as each team member who was excluded has less credibility and standing within the team.

Classic Bullies and Manipulators

This tactic will be all too familiar from school. Given some form of authority the person in charge quickly learns that they can ‘throw their weight around’, using intimidation and fear based methods to insure loyalty. As with a school ground bully, the team members will quickly begin to employ coping mechanisms such as avoidance, submission or becoming co-bullies. The end result is an unhealthy working environment.

My way or the highway

The leader in this instance does not allow their authority to be questioned - ever. Any actions performed by the team that are in contrary, different or even more successful than the leaders set instructions are met with extreme disapproval.  Under blind obedience the team will not grow and will be weakened by the need to constantly check for reassurance that the current task being performed is acceptable.

Evidence that a team is under bad leadership will begin to show in the productivity, team relationships and through their interactions with external parties such as clients and other departments. Team Building is a great tool to place the team dynamics under the microscope to identify bad practices and to promote and teach the use of effective leadership methods.


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