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How bad leadership can foster entrepreneurship

Bad bosses are rife in the corporate world, but on HBR, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues that bad leadership in fact incubates entrepreneurship.

What do 70 percent of successful entrepreneurs have in common? They all incubated their business ideas while employed by someone else.

Indeed, most people start their own companies — or go freelance — in order to stop working for others. Why? Because most managers are simply unbearable. Year after year, Gallup reports that most employees are unhappy at work, and that the number one reason for dissatisfaction is their boss.

But there is one upside to incompetent management: by failing to attend to their employees' ideas, and continuing to demoralise their staff, bad leaders accidentally stimulate entrepreneurship. Indeed, if entrepreneurial employees (i.e., those who have the talent and drive to be inventive and enterprising) were happy at work, or at least felt that their ideas are being valued, they would contribute to innovation and growth in their employers' organisation, rather than setting up their own company. Therefore, bad leadership — or, if you prefer, incompetent management — is a major source of entrepreneurship.

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