Australia’s Worst Leaders – My New Netflix Show

Would you watch a show called Australia’s Worst Leaders? Something like Gordon Ramsey’s Horrible Hotels or Kitchen Nightmares. You have no idea how much I would love to work with teams and organisations with horrible bosses and terrible leaders and turn them around to be brilliant bosses and legendary leaders! Netflix, we are onto this—watch this space. The thing is, poor and toxic leaders and leadership are more common than we think. Even today, we discussed the impact of great and not-so-great leaders and leadership in a leadership program I was delivering. Bad leaders suck!

Poor leadership can significantly impact individuals and organisations in various negative ways. Is this happening to you? Has it ever happened to you?

Here are some of the critical impacts:

Decreased Morale and Motivation


      • Lack of Recognition: Poor leaders often fail to acknowledge or reward employees’ hard work, decreasing motivation and job satisfaction.

      • Negative Environment: A toxic work environment can develop and be characterised by fear, stress, and low morale.

    Increased Stress and Burnout


        • Micromanagement: Overly controlling leaders can cause stress and burnout as employees feel they lack autonomy or trust.

        • Unclear Expectations: Poor communication can lead to confusion about roles and responsibilities, increasing stress levels.

      Reduced Productivity


          • Inefficient Processes: Bad leaders may implement ineffective strategies or processes that hinder productivity.

          • Low Engagement: Employees disengaged due to poor leadership are less likely to be productive and innovative.

        High Turnover Rates


            • Employee Attrition: Talented employees will likely leave an organisation with poor leadership, leading to higher turnover rates and associated costs.

            • Recruitment Challenges: It becomes challenging to attract new talent when an organisation has a reputation for bad leadership.

          Poor Decision-Making


              • Lack of Vision: Poor leaders often lack a clear vision or strategic direction, leading to poor decision-making and missed opportunities.

              • Resistance to Feedback: Bad leaders may resist feedback or different perspectives, resulting in uninformed or biased decisions.

            Erosion of Trust and Credibility


                • Inconsistent Behavior: Inconsistent actions and decisions can erode trust in leadership.

                • Ethical Issues: Leaders who behave unethically can damage the organisation’s reputation and employees’ trust in management.

              Limited Professional Growth


                  • Lack of Development Opportunities: Poor leaders often do not invest in the professional growth and development of their team members.

                  • Stagnation: Employees may feel stuck in their roles with no opportunities for advancement or skill enhancement.

                Negative Impact on Mental Health


                    • Anxiety and Depression: Continuous exposure to poor leadership can contribute to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

                    • Work-Life Imbalance: Poor leaders may not respect work-life boundaries, leading to burnout and health problems.

                  Coping Strategies


                      • Seek Support: Finding support from colleagues, coaches, mentors, or professional counsellors can help mitigate the impact.

                      • Develop Resilience: Building personal resilience through stress management techniques can help cope with a toxic work environment.

                      • Look for Opportunities: Staying aware of new job opportunities or roles within the organisation that offer a better leadership environment.


                    The impact of poor leadership extends beyond immediate job performance, affecting overall well-being, career development, and organisational success. It’s crucial to recognise the signs of bad leadership, such as lack of recognition, micromanagement, and inconsistent behaviour, as these can help you identify potential issues in your environment. Implementing coping strategies can then help mitigate these adverse effects.

                    Leadership can be Taught.

                    Leadership is often considered a skill that can be developed through experience, education, and practice. If you feel unprepared for leadership due to a lack of formal training, there are several steps you can take to improve your leadership skills. Here are some suggestions to help you become a more effective leader:

                    Self-Education and Learning


                        • Read Books on Leadership: Many books on leadership by renowned authors provide valuable insights and strategies. Some popular titles include “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni, and “Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown. Also, some of my books, like Leadership Attitude and First Comes Courage, are amazing.

                        • Podcasts and Webinars: Listening to leadership podcasts and attending webinars can also be beneficial. These often feature discussions with experienced leaders and cover various leadership-related topics.

                      Seek Mentorship and Coaching


                          • Find a Mentor: Look for a mentor within your organisation or network with leadership experience. A mentor can provide guidance, share their experiences, and offer advice on navigating leadership challenges.

                          • Leadership Coaching: Professional leadership coaches can help you develop your leadership skills through personalised coaching sessions. They can help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement.

                        Practical Experience


                            • Take on Leadership Roles: Volunteer for leadership roles within your organisation, such as leading a project or heading a committee. These opportunities allow you to practice and develop your leadership skills in a real-world setting.

                            • Seek Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from your team and peers about your leadership style and effectiveness. Use this feedback to make adjustments and improve your approach.

                          Develop Key Leadership Skills


                              • Communication: Effective communication is crucial for leadership. Practice active listening, clear and concise communication, and the ability to convey your vision and expectations.

                              • Emotional Intelligence: Developing emotional intelligence helps you understand and manage your emotions and those of others. This skill is essential for building strong relationships and creating a positive work environment.

                              • Decision-Making: Learn to make informed and timely decisions. This involves analysing information, considering different perspectives, and being willing to take calculated risks.

                              • Conflict Resolution: Develop skills to manage and resolve conflicts constructively. This includes mediating disagreements and finding solutions that satisfy all parties involved.

                            Cultivate a Growth Mindset


                                • Embrace Challenges: View challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. A growth mindset helps you stay resilient and adaptable when facing difficulties.

                                • Learn from Mistakes: Understand that mistakes are part of the learning process. Reflect on your experiences, learn from them, and apply them to future situations.

                              Foster a Positive Work Environment


                                  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the behaviour and work ethic you expect from your team. Your actions set the standard for others to follow.

                                  • Encourage Collaboration: Create an environment that encourages teamwork and open communication. Recognise and value each team member’s contributions.


                                While you may have yet to receive formal leadership training, numerous resources and strategies are available to help you develop these skills. You can become an effective and inspiring leader by seeking knowledge, gaining practical experience, and continuously improving.

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