When Leaders Fail to Lead: Overcoming Poor Leadership


We’ve all experienced it – the leader who lacks vision, shirks responsibility, or fails to inspire. Yet, in these moments of poor leadership, hope is not lost. With wisdom, courage and unity, you and your team can overcome ineffective leadership.

A Tribe Adrift

A long time ago, in a land of dense jungles and raging rivers, lived the Luku tribe. During Chief Waziri’s rule, the Luku flourished. But when his son, Chief Akono, rose to power, troubles emerged. Obsessed with wealth, Chief Akono made selfish choices that prioritized riches over people. His apathy left the tribe untethered and demoralized. Production languished, and discontent brewed.

The Path Forward

After months of stagnation, the council of elders convened in secret. “Chief Akono has failed us,” they lamented. Yet wallowing in disappointment would not spur change. So the elders resolved to guide the tribe themselves.

They reignited the community spirit by organizing shared meals where people felt heard. Production increased as they matched talents to tasks. And Chief Akono’s greed was counterbalanced by the council’s wisdom. Progress ensued not from the chief’s leadership but despite his indifference.

Navigating a Negligent Boss

Mandy found herself in a similar circumstance as an individual – reporting to an incompetent and negligent boss. Like Chief Akono, Mandy’s manager, Randy, constantly shirked responsibility. He flaunted rules and displayed no leadership skills.

Without a team for support, Mandy felt alone and overwhelmed. Yet resigning herself to resentment would only harm her wellbeing. So Mandy resolved to improve her circumstances.

She led by focusing on her own development and responded professionally when her boss’s shortcomings spilled into public view. Her poise cast the manager’s carelessness into stark relief. With time, Mandy’s talents illuminated her boss’s incompetence.

Lessons for Overcoming Poor Leadership

Whether as a unified team or individual, confronting poor leadership takes:

– Shared Responsibility: Collaborating to fill voids left by an ineffective leader.

– Internal Motivation: Finding encouragement through community and self-development.

– Tactful Confrontation: Responding with empathy and facts, not blame.

– Patience and Resilience: Focusing on incremental progress.

Escalating Egregious Issues

While persevering with patience and professionalism should be the priority, certain egregious circumstances may warrant reporting directly to upper management.

Signs that elevating concerns is justified include:

– Illegal or unethical activity.

– Abuse of power or personnel.

– Conflicts of interest.

– Mismanagement that tangibly harms the organization.

– Valid concerns repeatedly ignored.

Even when escalation is warranted, collect factual documentation and approach leaders calmly and objectively. Focus on solving problems, not punishment.

Leaders who lack self-awareness rarely respond well to public condemnation. Discretion and discernment are key.

The goal of rising above poor leadership is organizational improvement and conflict resolution, not political power plays. With judiciousness and care, escalation can serve as a tool when all other avenues have been exhausted.

The Moral of the Story

Leadership is a collective endeavor. Though progress stalls under poor leadership, hope persists when teams and individuals unite behind purpose. By leaning on camaraderie, accountability and tactical action, we can steer the ship and achieve success, even without a competent captain.


Lee Miller
Lee Miller was born in Denison, TX and grew up in East Texas with his family. He studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University taking a job in television on his last day of student teaching. Lee also provides business authoritative expertise to the broadcast industry as a consultant. Presently he is CEO of MSG Resources LLC, which specializes in consulting within broadcast best practices, distribution technologies and media strategy mastery. - - - - - Lee Miller is a well-known veteran of the broadcast media industry with particular experience in leading for-profit and non-profit broadcasting organizations. His career began in Lufkin, Texas in the early 80’s where he progressed from studio operations to creative services and network management. Mr. Miller has since received various professional designations and memberships such as Society of Broadcast Engineers accredited frequency coordinator, The Energy Professionals Association Certified Energy Consultant, and National Religious Broadcasters Television Committee & past Chair. Lee also serves as the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, is a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee and is proud to be part of Texas Association of Broadcasters Golden Mic Club, highlighting extraordinary careers in broadcasting. Continued engagement with his community is at the core of his business practices serving on the board of the Salvation Army and as keyboardist for the contemporary worship band at Harmony Hill Baptist Church. Lee lives near Lufkin Texas on one of his family’s tree farms located in the Texas Forest Country region north of Houston. He is married to Kenla and has two grown children, Joshua, COO of MSGPR Ltd Co and Morgan, a Critical Care ICU RN.

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