10 Flaws of a Bad Leader

by | Apr 9, 2013

10 Flaws of a Bad Leader

A recent study revealed the top 10 flaws of a bad leader. Although a leader may think strategically and drive for results, it’s a common occurrence for the very same leader to reach a success plateau where cooperation thins and frustrations escalate. Leaders can become stale and their boss sees results decline and information silos start to drop and absenteeism begins to soar. 

The study analysed the behaviour of 30,000 managers and close to 300,000 360 degree evaluations of their peers, reports and bosses. By analysing the top 1 %, bottom 10% and recently terminated executives they looked for warning signs that predicted failure. What they found was that bad bosses stem from signs of omission, lack of commitment and a lack of leadership development programmes.

What makes a “bad leader” is they could be doing more in the eyes of those below and above them. These “bad leaders” require leadership development programmes so that they can accurately be in tune with what’s going on internally, and so they can better articulate a clear vision and purpose to teams. By investing in formal leadership development of themselves they get a clear understanding of what it takes to personally inspire the leadership of others. Before you can lead other people you must first be able to lead yourself.

Some of the leadership development needs can commonly be identified from the following key 10 flaws of a bad leader.

1. A failure to inspire and a lack of enthusiasm and energy

A number one reason sited by their peers labelling them as unenthusiastic and passive.

2. A failure to improve and learn from mistakes.

A large reason why leaders fail is because they have reached a level where they no longer need to learn more about leadership training. They feel that leadership development programmes are below them when in fact by participating in a leadership development programme they display to peers and colleagues that they are willing to learn from their mistakes and willing to grow.

3. An acceptance of mediocre performance.

Poor leaders do not attempt to make goals long term and as a result employee’s coast – feeling that mediocre performance is acceptable.

4. No vision or direction

Poor leaders are unsure of what the future holds and unsure of what decisions need to be made, and what direction needs to be given. Because of that, transparency levels are low and employees feel that they’re not working towards a common goal, or any goal for that matter.

5. No desire to collaborate or to be a team player.

A successful leader has frequent communication with his or her team, they don’t avoid interaction with peers or subordinates and they work to develop personable relationships. Poor leaders view work as a competition and colleagues as opponents.

6. Walk’s the walk. But doesn’t talk the talk

Leaders’ not accountable for their actions is the greatest way of losing trust amongst peers. Poor leaders make bad leadership practices acceptable.

7. Unable to lead, innovate, or share new ideas.

Poor leaders are unimaginative and closed minded and as a result training programmes become stale and disengaging.

8. Failure to develop others

By not participating in or providing leadership development programmes, then leaders are seen as self – centred and uncaring for their peers / colleagues. The greatest thing a leader can do for a peer or subordinate is to demonstrate care and a want to develop their skills.

9. Poor interpersonal skills.

Poor leaders talk down, be rude, are abusive and insensitive of those around them. Because of this fear and pressure among subordinates increases whilst respect and admiration for their leader decreases.

10. Bad judgement and poor decision making.

The worst of all leaders are those who have no care whatsoever and just jump into the fire without considering the consequences. They fail to see the long term implications of not developing leadership in their team.

So now you must be thinking well how can I avoid becoming a bad leader? What can be done to ensure leaders stay focused and inspired yet in a unique way that also inspires and engages others?

At Leadership Management International UK Ltd we have been developing leaders for over 40 years and in 60 countries worldwide to live their lives to their full potential and to achieve measured success results both in their business and personal lives.

We have many leadership development programmes that over time can develop the “Total Leader” in the four key domains of leadership, namely; executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking.

In my experience many companies fall into the trap of sending managers on conferences and courses for education and networking but do not give them a tool kit to use as a process for implementation and changing their habits.

As with top level sports people, managers also need but rarely get, personal coaching to learn new techniques, gain feedback on their performance and improve their mindset. In sport this is the way in which performance is continually improved to keep up with and beat the competition. The coaches work on improving knowledge, skills and motivation.

The key leadership characteristics that need to be developed in people are:

  • The ability to vision the future and set goals (desired outcomes)
  • The ability to have written plans and targets in place to reach the goals
  • The self motivation and desire to reach the set goals
  • The supreme self confidence and self belief to reach the set goals
  • The dogged determination and persistence in spite of obstacles and set backs to reach the set goals.

The need for leaders to be able to set goals and shape desired outcomes for their companies cannot be over emphasised enough. The leaders in future who can develop themselves in the following personal skills and habits will bring continuing and sustained success for themselves, their teams and the wider business in which they operate:

  • Build and create a high performing team
  • Create a vision and articulate the purpose for their teams.
  • Connect every team member to the Big Picture
  • Confront realities, dump baggage, and make the appropriate changes to drive forward.
  • Motivate and engage teams to enhance results.
  • Determine the right process for team effectiveness and team morale
  • Develop individual clarity of personal leadership drivers.

And who do we need to expand leadership through? It will be through people with the right attitude who have passion and enthusiasm and want to realise their true potential. These people will have self confidence and a strong self image and self belief based on a set of values they have received through their upbringing and education. They are pro active and team players who want to see both themselves and others succeed.  They are self starters with a positive mental attitude and can do spirit.

There is currently an imbalance of leadership in organisations still weighted towards command and control rather than building collaborative relationships and expanding leadership through personal example. Organisations are people. People are emotional. Leadership is therefore about dealing with the emotions of people so that the goals of the organisation are achieved.