10 Bad Leadership Qualities to Avoid

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I find it amazing to realize that there are many leaders of countries in the world who have been in power for decades who are now being overthrown by the populations who are rebelling. Why did it take so long for this to happen when it is obvious that the leaders were not very respected by other countries or honoured by their people?

Much of our training and literature focusses on the leadership traits that are desirable. This article will focus on 10 bad leadership qualities that should be avoided:

1. Dictatorship - This is a "my way or the highway" attitude that does not allow anyone else to have an opinion. World dictators believe that they are the only ones who have the ability to control their environment and will not stop at anything to retain this control.

2. Abuse - When a person or group hurts others emotionally, mentally, physically, financially or spiritually fear and terror rule. There are bullies involved in most environments of the world including business. Beware!

3. Deceit - When someone lies, those around that person do not trust anything that is said. A person tells one lie and then has to tell another to cover it up. Then a third lie is required as another cover up. This goes on and on until it gets to the point that the person forgets what the first lie was. It takes a good memory in order to be a liar.

4. Selfishness - When a leader is more interested in his or her own well-being, other people's needs are ignored or not met.

5. Greediness - Cutting corners raises the risk level for other people. For example, if you are running a coal mine and you do not spend money to ensure that safety is first, all the employees' lives are in jeopardy.

6. Addictions - Leaders who become involved in alcohol, drug, gambling or sexual addiction place these need ahead of everything else. As a result, their families, employees and co-workers have a low priority.

7. Incompetence - When someone pretends that they know what they are doing but is actually ignorant or incompetent, everyone loses. There are many times that it is not acceptable to "fake it until you make it", especially when others are depending on you.

8. Lacking communication skills - A leader must be able to communicate clearly so that others understand what is going on and how things should be done. Otherwise, when there is poor communication, civil war within the business or country can break out.

9. Being reclusive - A leader needs to be available to others who follow. If a person is reclusive and isolates from the world there is no leadership.

10. Untreated mental illness - Over the years I have worked with many people who have serious diagnosis but do well because they follow the treatment plan. At the same time, I have seen people who have very little wrong with them who cannot get out of bed each day. The key is the word "function" as those who cannot "function" in their own lives likely will not be able to help an organization function well.


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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