The High Cost of Poor Leadership

I often use the phrase “poor leadership costs a lot of money and is a terrible waste of human potential.”

I was recently asked by one of my clients to prove it.

So, I put together some statistics on the cost of bad leadership and the upside of excellent leadership.

My Client needed this information so that he could help support making the investment in hiring me to do a leadership training workshop for his organization.

Most people understand that subpar leaders/managers have a negative impact on the organization. However, when you look at how big the cost of poor leadership really is, then you begin to re-examine the importance of leadership development within the company.

In order to review the high cost of poor leadership, I am sharing the information I sent to my client:

Poor leadership practices cost companies millions of dollars each year by negatively impacting employee retention, customer satisfaction, and overall employee productivity.

 Evidence of the High Cost of Poor Leadership

 According to research from the Blanchard Company:

  • Less-than-optimal leadership practices cost the typical organization an amount equal to as much as 7% of their total annual sales.
  • At least 9% and possibly as much as 32% of an organization’s staff turnover can be avoided through better leadership skills.
  • Better leadership can generate a 3-4% improvement in customer satisfaction scores and a corresponding 1.5% increase in revenue growth.
  • Most organizations are operating with a 5-10% productivity drag that better leadership practices could eliminate.

According to Gallup:

  • It’s a sad truth about the workplace: just 30% of employees are actively committed to doing a good job.
  • Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report indicates that 50% of employees merely put their time in, while the remaining 20% act out their discontent in counterproductive ways, negatively influencing their coworkers, missing days on the job, and driving customers away through poor service.
  • Gallup estimates that the 20% group alone costs the U.S. economy around half a trillion dollars each year.
  • The single greatest cause for employee disengagement? Poor leadership.

According to Harvard:

  • Quite simply, the better the leader, the more engaged the staff. Take the results from a recent study on the effectiveness of 2,865 leaders in a large financial services company.

There was a straight-line correlation here between levels of employee engagement and our measure of the overall effectiveness of their supervisors.

The best leaders (those in the 90th percentile) were supervising the happiest, most engaged, and most committed employees — those happier than more than 92% of their colleagues.

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