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Absentee leaders are people in leadership roles who are psychologically absent from them. They were promoted into management, and enjoy the privileges and rewards of a leadership role, but avoid meaningful involvement with their teams. Absentee leadership resembles the concept of rent-seeking in economics — taking value out of an organization without putting value in. As such, they represent a special case of laissez-faire leadership, but one that is distinguished by its destructiveness.
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People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’...
Researchers have studied managerial derailment — or the dark side of leadership — for many years. The key derailment characteristics of bad managers are well documented and fall into three broad behavioral categories:
If absentee leadership is so destructive, why don’t we read more about it in the business literature?
Organizations don’t confront absentee leaders because they have other managers whose behavior is more overtly destructive. Because absentee leaders don’t actively ...
The popular media is full of examples of bad leaders in government, academia, and business with these characteristics. However, there is something arguably worse than an incompetent boss. It’s the manager that is not overtly misbehaving, nor is a ranting, narcissistic sociopath. Rather, t...
In contrast, the impact of absentee leadership takes longer to appear, but it degrades subordinates’ job satisfaction for at least two years. It also is related to a number of other negative outcomes for employees, like role ambiguity, health complaints, and increased bu...
The war for leadership talent is real, and organizations with the best leaders will win. Reviewing your organization’s management positions for absentee leaders and doing something about them can improve your talent management arsenal. It’s likely that your competitors are overlo...
Thus, absentee leaders are often silent organization killers. Left unchecked, absentee leaders clog an organization’s succession arteries, blocking potentially more effective people from moving into important roles while adding little to productivity. Absentee leaders rarely enga...
Both effective and destructive leaders are easy to spot once they are on the job. They also produce predictable organizational outcomes: Constructive leadership creates high engagement and productivity, while destructive leadership kills engageme...
Research shows that being ignored by one’s boss is more alienating than being treated poorly. The impact of absentee leadership on job satisfaction outlasts the impact of both constructive and overtly destructive forms of leadership. Constructive leadership
Having a boss who lets you do as you please may sound ideal, especially if you are being bullied and micromanaged by your current boss. However, a 2015 survey of 1,000 working adults showed that 8 of the top 9 complaints about leaders concerned behaviors that were absent; employees were m...
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The popular media is full of examples of bad leaders. But the most common kind of incompetent leader actually isn’t the ranting, narcissistic sociopath that might immediately come to mind.
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