In my first article this month I discussed the qualities of a good leader. In this article I plan on delving a little deeper and taking a different spin on the topic, to point out the five qualities you don’t want to posses as a leader, and why.
So here are the 5 Qualities of Bad Leaders:
1. You’re never right – You know this type of boss; the one who refuses to listen to another person’s ideas, and is always going to turn the conversation around to where they are the ones who have all the answers. This is ok as long as they actually do have better answers, and it’s not just their ego getting in the way. You can spot these people by their non-verbal signals that say: “I’m more important than you, and let me tell you why.” The mark of a good leader is one who is able to listen to their team for valuable insight and ideas, and realizes that it’s ok for others to come up with solutions from time-to-time as well.
2. Never a thank you – Positive reinforcement and pats on the back work not only for dogs but people too. And for good reason. It’s encouraging! No one wants to work their tail off day in and day out, never to get a single thank you. Why would someone stay at a company like that? And who wants to work for someone like that? Not many people can, or will. Even if you aren’t the type of person who thrives on that sort of thing, you still like to know you’re either A. On the right track or B. Appreciated in the company. You spend more time working at your company than with your family and friends. So why do it for a leader who doesn’t even notice your work? Don’t let this be you; thank your team.
3. Double standards and hypocrisy – Ouch. This one is really painful, for everyone involved. I’m sure you’ve worked for someone who lives by the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ rule of thumb. And if you haven’t then count yourself lucky. The bottom line is that as a leader you are being watched. Constantly. Don’t let that worry you or make you anxious, but know that you have been given an opportunity to show, not tell, your team what a good leader looks like. So set a good example and practice what you preach. Above all, don’t talk about it- be about it!
4. Gossip and backstabbing – It’s sad this one even needs to be on this list. But it does happen, and needs to be addressed. You would think that someone who has reached management status knows better than to talk behind anyone’s back, especially about someone on a team to someone else on the team. You wouldn’t want people saying things about you without your knowledge, so we need to be careful and do the same for others. The example we should set as leaders has to be a higher standard than the world around us. If not, then why are we called leaders?
5. Not rewarding hard work – This may sound like a duplicate entry for the one about never thanking someone, but actually it’s more about rewards above and beyond verbal encouragement. A little fact leaders might not know is that the people under you have a mental timeline. For what you ask? They have in their minds a set amount of time to pass before they expect a reward of some kind for all of their hard work and efforts. Rewards run the gamut from raises, to bonuses, to time off, to free meals or letters of recognition. We need to remember that different people are motivated by different things, and we need to use all of the tools at our disposal to show people we recognize and appreciate their efforts.
I hope you’ve received some valuable reminders as a leader of what NOT to do as a leader. Before we start thinking of all the things we should start doing as a leader, let’s be sure and stop doing some things we may be doing now that are bad leader behaviors.
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