How To Be a Bad Leader — Common Traits of Poor Leadership
What does it mean to be a bad leader? Are there some specific traits of poor leadership? How to detect and avoid them?
It’s a known fact that most workforces are only as capable as their leader.
However, not everyone has the good fortune to work under a leader who is inspiring, capable and motivating.
As a leader, your success is based on your ability to lead effectively.
ImportantIt takes a confident leader to attract and inspire top talent, manage teams and execute despite all the difficulties that come with running a business.
Not so surprisingly, poor leadership have its consequences.
WarningPoor productivity, high turnover, lower morale, reduced engagement, damaged reputation, increased stress — these are just a fraction of what bad leadership skills can cost a team or an entire organization.
Poor leadership can cost you so much in so little time. But it’s not a permanent life sentence.
By identifying the qualities of ill-fated leadership, you will gain a better understanding of when and why your leadership may be lacking and how to turn yourself around.
When you can spot a bad leader, you can also avoid the pitfalls that would make you a bad leader in your own business.
Here are some characteristics and common traits of a bad leader that might be surprising, or, that might be all too familiar to you.
They Lack of Vision
If a leader is not focused on the future and demonstrating a clear plan for how to continuously improve, progress is unlikely to happen.
Bad leaders often get complacent and stay satisfied with the status quo.
ImportantThe job of a leader is to push forward, and good leaders should always be focused on how they can make tomorrow more efficient and productive than today.
Visionless leaders are unable to rally their employees to work towards a common goal because the purpose of the journey is unclear.
In order to lead effectively, you must have a compelling vision that will inspire your employees, as well as goals that support and enhance team performance and values that reflects the company’s core beliefs and reason for being.
The result of this is usually high employee attrition.
WarningWith an unfocused team taking on unproductive tasks, there is hardly any impact for the company, and it seems to wallow in stagnation.
Bad leaders don’t see the ROI of company culture or its value on a human level. They don’t go through the process of defining and creating a culture that empowers and uplifts their team.
A true leader focuses on goals. A poor leader focuses on authority.
WarningWhen they do not have a sense of direction, employees won’t have a sense of direction either, which will lead them to exhaustion and a lack of productivity.
Get rid of overly conservative notions. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
Modern leaders must be absolutely tenacious in getting the results they desire — from themselves, their organization, their team, even their customers.
They Have a Weak Character
If a leader is engaging in unethical behavior, it won’t be long before the employees under them are engaging in unethical behavior as well.
Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. Great leaders walk the talk.
WarningBad leaders often say one thing and then do another, which makes it all but impossible for their team members to trust them.
Bad leaders surround themselves with “yes people”.
I mean people who don’t challenge their decisions or opinions, but rather enable them to do whatever they want.
Bad leaders take credit for others work.
ImportantGood leaders take pride in their team’s accomplishments and go out of their way to make sure higher-ups know who to thank for a job well done. Simply put, taking credit for someone else’s work is shameful.
Leaders must make decisions, and so if a person always seems to vacillate on choices big and small they will probably have difficulty in a leadership position. It indicates a lack of self-confidence.
Bad leaders are too willing to compromise. They don’t challenge the status quo.
The ability to find a win/win situation is a gift for a leader, but anyone who is too quick to compromise his or her ideas or ideals is not going to be a benefit to the team. It’s a fine balance between understanding when to give in and when to stand your ground.
Being bully is the most obvious sign of a bad leader.
WarningA bad leader may bully and intimidate employees, threatening them with termination if they do not do the work to the leader’s satisfaction. The negative environment can cause extreme stress in employees and lead to negative psychological issues.
They Lack Of Humility
In order to be a true visionary leader, you need to let go of your ego and focus on your people because without them you would be nowhere.
The best leaders are ones who accept blame when things go wrong and give credit to their team when things go right.
Leaders may perceive their roles as powerful, resilient and invincible, and want to display an image of flawlessness, which can be more intimidating than inspiring.
Showing that you can be vulnerable at times can make you more relatable to your workers.
WarningWhat some leaders fail to see is that this unrealistic image of strength can be misinterpreted as having this magical armor that protects them from the hurdles that their employees are susceptible to.
Bad leaders struggle to delegate responsibilities — even when they have talented employees and partners.
In many cases, they can’t trust someone else to do as good as a job as they can. This stifles growth and kills morale.
Conversely, bad leaders tend to fail to see the strengths of their team. A good leader will leverage tools that can uncover the true potential, not only to assign tasks, but to continue to motivate and communicate effectively with their team.
People like to think that they came into their leadership position due to their knowledge and expertise.
While that may be true, it can lead to arrogance and inflexibility. Part of being a leader is inspiring the team to greater things.
Bad leaders are about themselves. They get great fulfillment from being able to tell others what to do.
The person who acts as though they can do it all — and are the only one who can do it right — is unlikely to rise to be a great leader, because they’ll be too busy doing everyone else’s job.
They Lack of Work Ethic
Bad leaders set unrealistic and unattainable goals, often doing so because they don’t care if their team is overworked or not.
Bad leaders don’t bother to care if their employees are overworked or not.
And when those goals aren’t met, they blame their employees for not achieving them, labeling them weak, lazy, or poor performers. They do not give guidance, they assign work and want things to get done no matter how and when.
Bad leaders often hire/promote the wrong people for the right job. They play favorites in the workplace.
WarningThey care more about employees who kiss ass and try to make them look good, even when they make poor decisions.
In addition, lack of consistency leads to a lack of trust and slows productivity.
Employees that are unclear on direction or expectations spend time and energy worrying about how to approach their supervisors instead of how to get the job done.
It’s a common misconception that bossy people make good bosses. Actually, someone who simply orders others around is unlikely to engender any loyalty or make subordinates feel empowered. True leaders have followers who want to be led by them.
Leaders who either gossip or don’t take measures to eradicate it are harming more than just company morale.
WarningThey are impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication throughout the organization.
Being satisfied with the status quo is never a good thing for a leader.
It signifies that they are more concerned about surviving than growing and thriving. Good leaders are forward-thinking and keep their businesses at “the tip of the spear” of change and innovation.
They Are Not Socially Smart
Bad leaders will place a low priority on listening to their employees, even cutting them off when they are voicing their concerns and feedback.
Bad leaders will not listen to their subordinates. They do not value any input from their employees.
WarningThey will typically ignore emails and messages from their employees and spend long periods away from the office.
Bad leaders all lack empathy and never show respect to their employees.
ImportantHaving the ability to step into another person’s shoes, acknowledge the value of a different perspective, and show respect for others’ points of view can help a leader — and a company — reach new levels of success.
Being unable to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, is a trait of a bad leader.
Leaders need to be able to effectively communicate in a variety of ways and with a variety of people. A person with poor communication skills cannot effectively share the company’s goals, mission or strategy to achieve them.
Though profit is important, people are key. Bad leaders focus on making money more than on providing real value or support to their customers.
Since bad leaders think they’re always right, they rarely consider your perspective or value your input.
ImportantListening to all employees as often as possible is so important to building a loyal and faithful team. Everyone needs to be part of the process and bigger picture.
Keep in mind that “communicating” doesn’t just mean getting your point across to employees — it’s about opening a dialogue.
Not only do you need to openly express what needs to be said, but you also need to listen to others and actually hear what they have to say.
Many organizations can’t seem to recognize good leaders from bad ones which often leads to poor employee retention, a uninspired workforce and a company that will forever be average at best.
Businesses are recruiting and promoting people into leadership positions who have no business being there.
WarningTo help an organization to succeed, it is important that any toxic behavior is removed as soon as possible — especially bad leadership skills.
Leaders that dig their heels in and refuse to consider new perspectives make employees feel undervalued and unable to control their own destiny.
Not only does this cause employee dissatisfaction, but also leaders miss out on potentially good suggestions to improve business.
This pattern recognition technique will help you stay focused on the positive behaviors that great leaders possess.
By observing bad leaders in action, and identifying the traits that are indicative of poor leadership, you can avoid making those same mistakes yourself.
One of the fastest ways to become a great leader is to identify and avoid the traits that bad leaders exhibit.
ImportantWith some self-awareness you can develop the qualities of a great leader and help your team and organization become even more successful over the long term.
Do you recognize any of these traits in your leadership team? How about in your own leadership style? Share your thoughts and your own experience by leaving a comment below.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.