11 Things Employees Complain Most About Their Leaders

As a leadership coach, I constantly hear people complaining—sometimes with good reason. Here are some of the top complaints I hear about leaders, with a positive action for each. Ask yourself if any of these sound like something you and your coworkers say. If so, start working to create the change you need.

My leader makes everything urgent. When everything is always top priority, nothing ever really gets done. Let your boss know that you need to understand priorities so you can focus on the most important things.

My leader is controlling. It’s always demoralizing when decisions are made and announced without any input from others. Demonstrate for your boss that inclusion is the secret to innovation and creativity.

My leader is not genuine. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between who a person says they are and what they demonstrate. Things don’t match up. Make sure you maintain for yourself the importance of authenticity in words and actions.

My leader is unpredictable. With this kind of leader there’s never a dull moment, but not in the good way. Inconsistency causes people to always be on edge. Do everything you can to steer your organization—or at least your team—toward consistency.

My leader micromanages. If the leader always thinks they can do everything better than anyone else, why should employees put forth an effort? Starting with small projects, try to persuade your boss to let you go at things on your own.

My leader is never satisfied. It doesn’t matter how much you do, this leader is always saying, “You could have done better.” Ask your boss in advance about expectations for success.

My leader is indecisive. Too many leaders that have “paralysis of analysis” and can’t make a decision. And everyone waits. And waits. And everything feels stuck. Help your boss with making decisions by talking them through and guiding them to a conclusion.

My leader withholds information. When you don’t have all the information you need, you can’t succeed. Ask specific questions and offer to help with fact-finding.

My leader gets defensive. When you can’t talk to your leader about a problem without a defensive response, it’s time for a different approach. Instead of bringing the problem, approach your boss with lots of potential solutions—even if you have to call them directions or strategies.

My leader is lazy. With some leaders, it’s not “Do as I do” but “Do as I say, because I’m not doing anything.” Challenge them to become a co-creator on your projects.

My leader is always distracted. Sometimes leaders appear so busy that no one ever seems to have their full attention. Make sure your boss is present and attentive by catching them at the right moment and grabbing their attention with a well-organized set of questions and ideas.

Negativity in the workplace costs billions of dollars and impacts the morale, productivity and health of individuals and teams. We all have complaints about our leaders and bosses, and many are warranted. But whether the complaints are mild or serious, we don’t have to become the victim of our circumstances—we can always do something about it.

Lead from within: Complaining is never an effective strategy. There is always a positive action you can take to deal with any complaint you have about your leader.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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