Strong leaders have certain qualities that make them attractive and likewise, poor leaders also have qualities that affect the way they lead others.
We tend to do better when we’re influenced by powerful leaders but not as well if we’re working for or with a weak leader. Having strong leadership skills is a necessary requirement if we want to have the influence or make the impact we want.
Becoming aware of poor leadership qualities can be a critical step as we strive to become better leaders and serve others as best as we can.
Many years ago, a manager I worked for displayed a mix of good and weak leadership qualities. On the positive side, he was knowledgeable of internal processes and supported many improvement projects in the business. He had good people skills and got along well with most of his team members.
On the negative side, he did not prioritise his day well. He tended to be unprepared during team updates or meetings, and was often disconnected from what his team members were working on. One thing that annoyed team members was he often played games like solitaire on his computer, while everyone else was under pressure trying to get things done on time.
That one behaviour caused his team members to not be as receptive to his leadership style, which resulted in the business not performing as well as it could have. Had he been aware of how he was perceived by his team members, chances are he would have changed his behaviour.
It’s important to realise that even some of the smallest things in our leadership style can have a major effect on how others perceive us as leaders.
5 Poor Leadership Qualities to be Aware of
- Not leading by example. A key leadership principle is we should not expect someone else to do something we are not prepared to do ourselves. An example of not leading by example is not supporting a new initiative that can make things better or easier, and only focusing on the negatives. To avoid this, we have to develop the ability to be objective and be prepared to do things first before asking others to do them.
- Not having a vision for your team or business. Great leaders focus on what’s possible and the direction in which they are heading. Poor leaders get caught up in day-to-day activities, which relegates them to being a business operator or manager. To avoid this, we have to define a vision for where our team is heading and better align team members strengths with roles in order to reach the vision.
- Taking credit for team success. Poor leaders often like to take credit when things go well and make excuses when things are not going well. The whole concept of a working in team means everyone contributes to and is as much a part of the success or failure of the team. To avoid this, we have to continually monitor progress against clearly define objectives and make adjustments as required. Outstanding leaders take full responsibility when goals are not achieved.
- Not willing to deal with conflict quickly. Bad leaders avoid conflict because it can be uncomfortable. The longer conflict lingers on, the more issues they’ll cause, which can affect the dynamics within teams. To avoid this, we have to become better at dealing with and resolving conflicts. Getting additional training can be one way to learn more about dealing with conflicts.
- Trying to lead everyone the same way. While consistency is important for being a leader, we have to recognise that people have different personalities, interests and preferences. By trying to lead everyone the same way, leaders are not taking into account the differences in people. To avoid this, we need to develop our people skills and also start paying more attention to what is going on around us.
If we want to develop our leadership qualities, we have to give more focus to the things we do and how we lead others. Leadership skills are vital if we want to succeed in achieving major goals in life. As we develop more of our leadership qualities, we will start achieving better results.
Question: What are other poor leadership qualities that need to be avoided?
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