Poor Leadership in the Caribbean. What is it Really Costing Our Economy?
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Poor Leadership in the Caribbean. What is it Really Costing Our Economy?

11 Apr Poor Leadership in the Caribbean. What is it Really Costing Our Economy?

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When you think of cost what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it dollars and cents? Bear in mind that cost doesn’t only have to be monetary. After all, we all human beings so we should weigh benefits and costs as it relates to us emotionally, psychologically, spiritually—as well as financially.  

It is a matter of urgent national and regional pride for the next tier of leaders poised to assume their roles directing the course of the Caribbean understand that the current leadership model in the Caribbean is no longer relevant. Poor leadership is not valuable to the prosperity of the Caribbean people.

The reasons highlighted are based purely on my work experience and discussions I had with my fellow Caribbean colleagues over a 13 year period. 

Increased Absenteeism

If you don’t like who you work for, you don’t want to see them. You don’t want to hear them and you certainly don’t want them in your personal space. So what is the best way to avoid poor leaders? Utilise sick (sanity) days as much as possible.

Stifling creativity and proactivity

I have heard business owners complain bitterly that they can’t seem to find employees who think for themselves, who take initiative and who are dependable. I scoff when I hear this because I know that this is lip service. Are these business owners in fact, creating an environment where employees feel safe to express their ideas and be proactive? So let’s take a step back.

If I am being proactive what does that actually translate to? It means that I am not going to check in with you my boss for everything. I will only reach out to my boss as needed to update and if an issue comes up. If I am being creative, I am not waiting for my boss to give me ideas on how to improve operations or customer service. I was hired for this position and as a professional, I will use the experience of myself, my colleagues and other professionals (via different mediums such as books, professional sites and networking sites).  

Why do some bosses react negatively to employees who seem to be independent? Maybe, just maybe, the business owner is feeling threatened that his employees can function smoothly without them? Maybe just maybe the manager may feel, these employees if given the opportunity are able to be more effective than the business owner in the same space? As I told a business owner of 30 years when he was complaining about his staff to me, “Have you created a culture where your employees are free to independent of you or do you enjoy being the Daddy here?”

Talented people running for the door

Talented, smart, ambitious people don’t settle. They know their value and if they are not being valued they quickly begin looking for the situation that values what they have to bring to the table (albeit many companies suffer from “micromanagmenitis” in its various forms).

Its average and below average performers who settle for poor leadership.

Staff turnover costs

Has there ever been an analysis of the cost to the company of turnover? The lost time and effort spent having to train and retrain staff. The cost of lost skills, knowledge base and the inefficiency that results? Do you leaders factor this into your budgets or yearly targets? I don’t believe so.

In my opinion, it should be a metric which is quantified and monitored. How much does it cost your managers to recruit and train new employees? How long does it take the average employee to onboard the technical and soft skills required to excel in her job?  If you think poor leadership doesn’t impact the growth trajectory of your organisation, then maybe looking at how costs are eating into your bottom line will make you think twice.

Maybe if this cost was quantified companies would not be so willing to tolerate poor leaders who decimate staff to the point that they have no choice but to head for the door.

A toxic work culture

It is the leader’s responsibility to create an environment where teamwork, camaraderie, and respect thrive. Leaders need to create the framework, set the values and enforce these values (not be verbal rhetoric and threats) but by inculcating these values by rigorously reflecting these values in how they speak, act and what behaviour is tolerated.

Part of a toxic work culture includes a ‘don’t care’ attitude towards the daily operations of the company. This results when employees are no longer personally invested in its success.

Miserable life experiences

We spend the majority of our life at work interacting with colleagues. So needless to say poor leadership and a poor work environment could lead to misery and drudgery for the majority of your life. Not engaging employees leads them to become a zombie in the office going through the motions who only come alive for the weekends—employees who lack the zeal to get out of bed all week, miraculously are filled with energy to jump out of bed on Saturday morning.

Tell me in the comments below:

Do you agree that poor leadership is one of the root causes of suppressing the Caribbean economy?

In what other ways, have you seen how poor leadership hampers the productivity of an organisation?


  • Namela Henry
    Posted at 10:32h, 11 April Reply

    I totally agree with your views on poor leadership!

  • Sadé Shari St. Louis
    Posted at 14:26h, 24 May Reply

    I share your views!

    Poor leadership is definitely contributing to the suppression of the Caribbean economy in a major way, but why? What is causing us to accept this level of “governance” as norm? Why are we so (cognizant) aware (of the cause) but yet so unresponsive (to the solution – the necessary action i.e. the way forward)? Why are we so tolerant of this status quo? Certainly, the path we’re on as a region is unsustainable and while strides have been made (particularly in mobilising and engaging the right persons and having the right conversations), there is so much more still to be done to enact meaningful change… to produce tangible results… to yield positive outcomes.

    Poor leadership is also manifested in the workplace when employees feel so disengaged that they are no longer invested in the success of the organisation. They stop meaningfully contributing to discussions, they no longer bring problems/ ideas to the attention of the leadership; the environment in place (systems & processes) is not accommodating enough and not appropriately stimulating employee engagement. This is oftentimes the negative impact of poor leadership.

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