Leaders are always on the helm of their companies and there are many who shine in this position. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are among the best ones that you can say exhibit good leadership. However, while good leaders always inspire, the bad ones can teach you some valuable lessons.
Bad leaders do exist and when they’re placed at the helm, they don’t always shine. The following are a few examples of bad leadership in different industries:
1. Volkswagen – VW – Martin Winterkorn
When car emissions were found to be contributing to air pollution and global warming, various car manufacturers vowed to reduce emissions. Volkswagen was among them but Winterkorn, the CEO at that time, didn’t take it to heart. Under his leadership, VW was in hot water for installing defeat devices to pass the emissions test by the Environmental Protection Agency – EPA.
11 million cars were manipulated and cleared the tests. In reality, these cars actually released 10 times more than regular emission levels. When called out for this incident, Winterkorn denied all involvement. VW was taken to court and is still reeling from the aftermath.
2. Theranos – Elizabeth Holmes
Offering patients a way to take blood tests that were less invasive and cheaper too, Theranos experienced exponential growth under Elizabeth Holmes leadership. However, it drew the attention of heavy scrutiny that Theranos failed to survive.
While they were promoting the use of finger-stick tests, they were using third party, traditional methods too. Holmes defended Theranos’ methods but further investigation found that one of the labs was not running according to standards. It was found in violation of five deficiencies and could have posed a threat to patients.
3. Turing Pharmaceuticals – Martin Shkreli
Shkreli made headlines when he pushed up the price of a life-saving drug from $17.50 to $750. The price hike was an insane 5000% and he quickly became known as the most hated leader. It was also found that Shkreli was manipulating investors and was siphoning money from the fund to appease investors of another. His elaborate Ponzi scheme style was responsible for finally getting him arrested.
Most of his investors were led to believe that they would double their money soon if they just kept investing. It was also found that Shkreli had created new hedge funds, purely to fund older investors and had to juggle different assets. During this time, he also directed $11 million in stock and cash assets to himself.
4. Zappos – Tony Hsieh
Once hailed for having one of the best work environments, Zappos quickly went from being cool to completely zany with Hsieh. As an employee-focused company, Zappos was always included in the lists of best companies to work for.
While Hsieh’s previous plans earned him plaudits and praise from the industry, his decision to remove all organizational structure quickly hobbled the company. He decided to practice self-management to achieve organizational enlightenment. While Hsieh was known to be eccentric, this move ended up causing 29% of the staff to resign in one year.
It’s always good to keep the bad leaders in mind to ensure that you’re not turning into one.
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