The Contagious Effect Of Good And Bad Leaders (How Are You Feeling Today?)by Jack Zenger September 8, 2016
I joined an organization early in my career in which the VP of administration was universally described as a terrible leader. He was autocratic, arbitrary, arrogant and harsh in his treatment of others. The organization finally terminated him. Over the next few years I watched every one of his immediate subordinates be let go. The exact reasons varied, but it was rather obvious that every one one of them had acquired a major element of his bad behavior. Even worse, they had lost the ability to initiate anything on their own after being told precisely what to do for so many years. They had suffered an indelible harm that no amount of coaching and development seemed to fix.
This leads to several questions.
1. To what extent does a manager’s behavior impact the engagement of subordinates?
2. How contagious is good or bad leadership? Was this example a fluke or does it represent what generally happens?
3. Does a senior boss’s bad leadership behavior impact only immediate subordinates, or does it keep cascading on down?
To explore the answer to those questions, my colleague Joe Folkman and I started by formulating a theory based on our experience and observations. Continued on Forbes.com.