A quick search on the internet and you will find a list of leadership qualities relatively quickly. The list of personal qualities will range from the top 3 list of good qualities to the top 10 and even extend to more than 100. I am going to try and take an opposing view and compile a list of bad qualities. This list will be offset by “The Complete List of Extraordinary Leadership Qualities” by Dan Rockwell.
Daydreamers tend to be aloof while those who face reality tend to be analytical and data driven. Daydreamers have their place as it can help with arriving at innovative thoughts. However, leaders who are routine daydreamers will find that they lose sight of their goals and lack awareness for their surroundings.
Leaders who are unable to articulate their thoughts will find a difficult time inspiring those around them. Their followers will be unable to understand the best method for achieving the organizational mission. Meanwhile, a leader who can define “better” will strive to motivate others to achieve top performance. Followers will not have to guess what better means, they will be able to anticipate the needs of the leader.
Leaders need to put the values of the organization at the forefront. Leaders who are self-obsessed prioritize their needs of ahead of the organization or those of the team. This will generate resentment and frustration on behalf of the team. My way or the highway leaders will find a lack of connection with team members.
Demanding or authoritarian leaders can be successful in some settings. For example, military leaders can get away with this leadership style. For other industries, Workers will not appreciate this type of style. Authoritarian leaders will tend to raise angst and workplace retention will follow and lead to unnecessary problems. Whereas, as servant leaders will help model valued workplace behaviors. When followers see that you are pulling up your shirt sleeves and contributing to the success of the organization, it will build goodwill and workplace engagement will rise.
Leaders who settle will never progress. It is easy to avoid stressful situations and avoid asking challenging questions. If you are a leader, who chooses to settle than perhaps you should consider reducing your stress and be a follower instead. Those leaders who reach high reflect and pursue new challenges. The pursuit of these problems allows the leader and the organization to progress, increase sales and offer new opportunities to followers.
Followers do not appreciate receiving blame when they are not responsible or have little control over the outcome. A leader who does not represent or support their team is bound to find that they are unable to hold a leadership position for long. As a leader, it is wise to take responsibility for the outcome of a situation when things go wrong. On the other hand, when a team accomplishes a goal, gratitude should be shared to all the individuals who made it possible.
Leaders may not make decisions quickly all the time. There are appropriate circumstances to wait, reflect, or collect data before making a decision. Racing to make a decision may be unwise. Leaders are not afraid of making decisions. Knowing what you do not want or what to eliminate can help you make a decision.
Taoism is more than a spiritual or philosophical belief but rather a way of life. Taoism is about accepting the path or way rather than studying the challenges and struggles found in life. In other words, a leader following Taoist philosophy will accept things the way they are and appreciate them for what they offer. Business appears to be at odds with Taoist philosophy. The goal of business is to increase sales or expand operations in some sense which is at odds with letting things be. To be successful leaders need to set goals not only for themselves but the organization in general.
Introverts are capable of being leaders, but this relies on placing key people in visible positions who support the leader. In this sense, leaders who are introverts act behind the scenes. In a play, they have no desire to be in the leading role and find more comfort doing there leading behind the curtains. If leading from behind the curtains or playing the starring role does not suit you due to shyness, you will struggle. Leaders are visible in some capacity because they act with boldness.
Leaders who are inflexible tend to be status quo keepers. While this may be fine in an environment with little competition or highly regulated industries, this will not be a long-term solution in other environments. The reason is that your audience continues to evolve due to the likes of technology advancements. Your competition also strives to address the needs of those they are trying to serve and are continually evolving and adapting to market changes. Those who are willing to adapt and evolve will find an easier time of being responsive and employing the benefits found with new technology.
The point of setting goals is not to take the time to develop goals only to lower them eventually because you fall short. As a leader success only comes to those who can deliver results not just periodically but consistently over the long term. Leaders who are not capable of meeting the objectives they set will eventually lead to weariness in followers.
Failing to monitor progress and using the wrong metric are the same. When tracking performance, it is important to align the performance metric with those of the goals. The measurement of progress should support the goals. Leaders understand that measurement of achievement is necessary and spend the time to identify which metric is the best indicator of success.
Individuals who cannot motivate themselves will not be able to empower and encourage others. Followers will see that the leader lacks personal motivation and transparency will be evident to the members who are scrutinizing the actions of those they choose to follow. The top leaders instill confidence in others and empower them to achieve great feats.
Closed minded leaders are those individuals who do not welcome the input of others. Some leaders get stuck in a rut and view their surroundings through tunnel vision. Closed mindedness deters input and will limit the potential of the team. Leaders must listen to their team members. Listening to others allows the organization to benefit from the collective knowledge. Collective knowledge is the process of welcoming input and using the ideas of many people to address organizational problems with a solution that comes from the diversity of thought.
Have you ever worked for a micro manager? Micro managers always look of your should and question the actions you take. Micro managers view others as untrustworthy. They empower you with a short leash. They give you enough leeway to hang yourself before getting involved and taking over. Suspicious leaders do not allow others to create results in fear of the position they hold.
Leaders with a shallow network tend to trust only a select group of people. Their circle of trust is limited to a few. Meanwhile, leaders who like to form connections take the time to learn about the skills and passions of others. They utilize this knowledge to benefit the team as they assign tasks to those people who possess specific expertise or interests.
The best leaders ensure that important projects receive the necessary support to be successful. Leaders do not always accept help themselves. The problems they face become less important and they choose not to burden others by receiving help. If you are aware of your needs, it becomes easier to receive help. By accepting help, the leader can free themselves to focus on other important matters.
Organizations benefit from leaders who are good delegators. Delegation allows leaders to address multiple tasks while providing experience and additional leadership opportunities to others. Controlling leaders, on the other hand, limit organization involvement. Controlling leaders may be able to fight one fire, but another may be present in another location. Controlling leaders are found on the ground floor while leaders who delegate fly above and can locate opportunities for improvement.
Unclear expectations can result in a lack of priority. Followers may find that they either focus on an incorrect task or accomplish a project only too late find that the leader wanted it done differently. Frustrations ensure when expectations are unclear. The challenge for leaders is to communicate and provide ongoing feedback. Feedback allows others to develop and feel like a valuable part of the team. Feedback helps to remove frustrations and provides a doorway for two-way communication with the leader.
Leaders who can match individual strengths and interests with organizational demands will achieve great results. While an average person may be able to accomplish a task, the result will be less superior to those of a person with a specific core strength or interest. Leaders who leverage areas of above average intelligence do so because they listen and have developed a list of good qualities of their followers.
Learning is a lifelong journey. Leaders who accept and teach persistently will develop existing strengths while developing new abilities. Those who are uneducated will not find value in collecting and using data. Ignorant leaders will tend to waste resources. For example, uneducated leaders will assign the wrong person to a task or provide projects with to many people leading to wasted time.
Any bad list of leadership qualities should include leaders who are selfish or self-absorbed. Leaders find their place and possess this responsibility because their focus in upon organizational objectives. They also spend energy on team members who allow the organization to execute plans and activities that support the corporate mission. In order for leaders to accomplish this task they cannot be self-centered rather they must show concern for developing future leaders.
There was a time in history when leaders could get away with little emotional intelligence. This was a time when people started and stopped working at the same business for their entire career. Nowadays, leaders need to be emotionally aware of their followers. The consequence of a little emotional intelligence is a high turnover rate as employees seek to be emotionally fulfilled and feel as though they have connection to a greater purpose.
Leaders who do not take care of themselves are unable to care for others over a sustainable period. Leaders must find the equilibrium or balance in caring for themselves with caring for their followers. There are different seasons that allow you to change your priorities depending on the goals and or challenges that arise.
Credit for positive performance and accomplishments must be spread across the team. The team will continue to make progress as long as they feel like a valuable component of the organization. When you forget about team recognition, members will slowly consider other options where they are awarded for their contributions.
The last characteristic on this bad list of leadership qualities is greed. Greedy leaders will have a negative impact on the morale of the team and in the eyes of the customers. Employees and consumers both want to know that they support an organization with a purpose they can support. This means that leaders need to give back to the team and communities they serve to build goodwill.
David Moriarty writes about leadership, life purpose, and cancer recovery. He is a teacher who works with youth. Previously he overcame his battle with cancer. Currently he is pursuing a degree in leadership.
How a Democratic Leadership Style is a Competitive Advantage
Life Influence of USMC Leadership Traits and Principles
Project Management Leadership Styles and Cancer Cure
How 11 Leadership Principles Can Help You with Cancer
Moving from Good to Great: The Characteristics of a Leader