Bad Leadership Traits

Bad leadership traits can be like dirty socks, you don't want them but you leave them somewhere and forget about them until you randomly come across there stench from picking up old clothes. Unfortunately, people often hold onto these traits and characteristics to the point of disaster and destruction. A little too dramatic? we shall see.

Bad leadership traits and characteristics can be as obvious as a serious anger problem right through to the subtle issues of being passive aggressive or being disorganized. These managers or leaders who display one or more of these traits should be avoided but what you should avoid even more is your own character adapting them.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Abraham Lincoln

Identifying Bad Leadership Traits

We want to provide you with a list of some of these characteristics we've come across on our journey so that you can see that they aren't healthy and should be avoided. You need to be equipped with the knowledge and discernment to know right leadership from wrong leadership.

  • Bad Intentions - This might be a vague leadership trait but the truth is that bad intentions can poison the best of environments. I like to think of leadership as idealistic in nature, whereby I mean that a leader should want the best for their team, want the best for their own leaders and position and have no hidden agenda's which could get in the way of that. Too often this is the number one issue in teams and it brings division where there should be unity. Bad intentions are never hidden among a team.
  • Bias and subjective treatment - This is another grey characteristic which you can choose to disagree with if you desire. Often we've seen leaders who treat people very differently and therefore create a social hierarchy amongst a team which should not exist. If someone deserves to be praised or promoted then excellent but don't praise and promote someone for other selfish reasons. A good example of this is if a leader personally likes and gets a long well with a team member and decides to reward and treat them differently, even though they do not deserve this good treatment.
  • Miscommunication - This is broad but one we are very passionate about. Miscommunication wont kill a team but it will severely limit the effectiveness and success of their ventures. If a leader doesn't know how to act or communiate appropriately then they will lead poorly. Have a read through our communication tips for more information on great communicators!
  • Unwillingness to change - If someone says to me that they act a certain way because that's who they are and they will not change then I will certainly NOT want them on my team. This isn't rare by the way, some of the most significant leaders in high up positions will employ this bad leadership trait to their doom. Even the greatest leaders should want to develop and grow. The ability to grow and change is the bread and butter of successful leaders.
  • Negativity - This spawns death in teams as negativity pushes people away and brings a multitude of other bad leadership traits to the table. The antonym of this is positive leading and I can't encourage you enough to read through this article and learn how to lead with positivity. You may ask why negativity is so detrimental? Well thats's another whole articles worth of information, but let me say this - people in this world strive for positive things, the real minority focus on negativity.

How to Avoid Bad Leadership Traits

We've identified some of these bad leadership traits but there are an endless list of others. The purpose of this article is to empower you to know what they are and identify them in your everyday lives. Read through the process below to get a good idea of how to deal and identify these traits.

  1. Develop your Discernment - Using your own wisdom and understanding is your first weapon in the war against poor leadership. Developing your own discernment and wisdom will help you as a leader to know what is good and what is not. Know what you should change and know which leaders to steer clear of!
  2. Se smart and not stupid - There's an easy opportunity here to over-react and see 'demons' everywhere. The truth is that every leader has bad leadership characteristics but they try and make them less and less. Don't go overboard but just make sure your developing and those around you are taking a positive step forward on the mission for better leading.
  3. Open your eyes and take off the blinders - Often we are either sitting there judging the leaders around us or we're so blind we become 'yes' men and women. We want to find a place of tension between the two so that we can observe and know what's going on around us but also BE leaders and be proactive in leadership rather than just using our heads all the time.
  4. Don't worry if you get it wrong - Hey! we all make mistakes along the journey, don't beat yourself up. Go into every situation with the best intentions and learn from your mistakes. It's the only way to go and there's no way of avoiding a face full of mud sometimes. Be a leader and get up to try again, and again.

We were even a little concerned writing this article as negativity can really push people away. However, leadership must be holistic in nature and allow for a little negativity from time to time - it's healthy. Bad leadership traits can be countered by good leadership characteristics. The journey we're on is one of adventure and opportunity - never give up, it's the only way to lose.

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.