8 Traits of a Bad Leader in Any Context

Photo by Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash

Everyone wants to be led by a good leader, but let’s face it — some leaders are just not good. Whether it’s on the battlefield, the sports pitch, or the sales floor, certain qualities are universal about bad leaders; they tend to be…

1. Dismissive

My way or the highway is the attitude of some leaders, but their teams really hate it, especially when they’re doing something wonky or stupid — and they keep doing it. A bad leader refuses to listen to any of the players on their team, probably because they’re so…

2. Egotistical

Nobody wants to work for a pompous person who thinks they’re the king of the world. Leaders with a big ego tend to lay blame on others, and accept praise when others are successful. They also tend to unapproachable, which scares people off and fosters poor communication.

3. Un-empathetic

Not caring about your employees is a surefire way to make them feel unimportant and unappreciated, which in turn will lead them to unplug from the cause and find a different one where their contribution is celebrated.

4. Grudge-bearing

A good leader forgets personal offense and moves on, especially if they want to create a functional environment. By contrast, a poor leader holds on to personal offense and lets it affect everyone else’s work environment.

5. Permissive of Negativity

A good leader creates a safe space for his crew, but a poor leader fosters dissension, strife, and argument. To be fair, there have been plenty of effective leaders who have played people against each other, but those leaders usually get violently deposed in a coup…and you probably don’t want that if you’re a leader.

6. Inconsistency

This particular point can drive people insane. It is impossible to create a functional environment when the person in charge is frequently changing what they want. You can never meet their expectations, and everyone’s time and money is wasted chasing the desires of yesterday.

7. Not transparent

Granted, a leader should not necessarily reveal everything to their team (for example, pay grades and salaries), but when it comes to operational goals, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. A lack of clear direction because of hidden agendas will frequently put employees up against a wall of confusion.

8. Overworked

An overworked leader is stressed out, snappy, and perhaps most importantly, shows employees that work-life balance is unimportant — a bad philosophy for human beings who often have personal responsibilities outside of work.

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