How to Recover from Being A Bad Leader

It’s Never Too Late to Turn Things Around

We’ve all made mistakes as leaders. Maybe you were newly promoted, overwhelmed, and unsure of your role. Perhaps you fell victim to copying a toxic leadership style you once worked for. Whatever the reason, you could find yourself in a difficult position: you know you haven’t been the best leader, and your team culture suffers.

In all of my keynote presentations, I tell audiences, “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.” When things have gone wrong for so long, today is the best time to start making them right. Taking ownership of your shortcomings and actively seeking improvement can be a challenge, but it’s the first step on the road to redemption.

So, how do you recover from being a bad leader and rebuild trust with your team? Here are four actionable steps to get you started:

Step 1: Self-Awareness Is Key

The journey begins with introspection. You can’t fix what’s wrong until you know what is wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask the people around you for honest feedback on your shortcomings. Reflect on your leadership style and its impact on your team. Have honest conversations with trusted colleagues or a mentor. Consider anonymous feedback surveys to understand your team’s perspective.

Step 2: Authentic Apology and Acknowledgement

Take responsibility for your actions. Schedule individual or team meetings (depending on the severity) and offer a sincere apology. Acknowledge how your behavior has impacted them and express your commitment to change.

Step 3: Focus on Open Communication

Create a safe space for open communication. Encourage your team to share their honest feedback and concerns. Be an active listener, demonstrate empathy, and avoid defensiveness.

Step 4: Action Speaks Louder Than Words

Apologies and promises are a good start, but true change requires concrete action. Develop a clear plan outlining how you’ll address the team’s concerns and improve your leadership style. This could involve skill development programs, revised communication strategies, or a more transparent decision-making process.

Remember: Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent effort. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Focus on continuous improvement, celebrate small wins, and remain committed to being a better leader.

Looking for Additional Resources to Enhance Your Leadership Skills?

Consider buying a copy of my action guide “Just Lead: 44 Actions to Break Down Barriers, Boost Your Retention, and Build a World-Class Culture.” Also check out my blog post on Six Books Every Leader Should Read. Learn leadership skills that will help you have a world-class impact on your organization.

If you’re looking for an advisor to inspire and guide your organization toward a healthier company culture, consider booking me for your next event. Also, don’t forget to connect with me on LinkedIn

Leading with Authenticity and Purpose

Becoming a good leader isn’t always linear, but it’s a pathway worth taking. By acknowledging your mistakes, committing to growth, and taking action – you can inspire and empower your team to achieve great things.



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