Why do People Stay with Poor Leaders?

Across Canada, the top curling teams in the country were competing for the opportunity to represent their province in the national championship to be held in March.  My husband is a curler and the team he curls with once again made it to the provincial championship.  Unfortunately, their quest ended earlier than they had hoped and we ended up watching games together in the comfort of our living room, instead of on the cold benches of an arena.

As we were watching various games and highlights from around the country, I was struck by the different leadership styles demonstrated by the skips.   All of the teams are there for one reason; win the provincials and get to the nationals. They all got to that level because of a lot of hard work, a lot of skill and a very competitive nature.  And yet, how they handled their moments of pressure and their moments of frustration when a shot or opportunity was missed, varied widely.

The slamming of brooms, kicking of rocks and swearing was down this year due to new rules put in place, but some skips seemed to let each missed shot or opportunity eat at them.  Their disappointment was clearly evident and they seemed unable to put the last missed shot or opportunity behind them.  Other skips encouraged a team member when a shot was missed and immediately focused on new options.

In some cases, after a lost game, the skip blamed his team for the loss.  In other cases, the skip would say things like “We missed some key shots” or “I was having trouble reading the ice.”

Of course, poor leadership is not limited to sports.  There are people who go to work every day and treat the people that they work with poorly. They demand perfection and when perfection is not attained, they get angry and frustrated. When their team does not meet goals or targets, they blame the team and take no responsibility for the failure.

Knowing this, I have to ask “Why do some people stay when their team leader is negative, confrontational and only accepts glory, but no blame?” I’m stumped.  What do you think? Why do they stay?

4 thoughts on “Why do People Stay with Poor Leaders?

  1. I think one answer Laurie has to be low self-esteem. Knowing that you have value, and having a healthy awareness of your own worth must be crucial to somebody identifying the abuse that they are experiencing through poor leadership.

    • Thanks Peter. I understand that sometimes financial responsibilities may make an immediate change impossible, but putting a plan in place to move towards the positive is at least a step in the right direction. I think you’re right. Low self-esteem and not recognizing ones own value is one reason people stay in a negative environment.

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