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What Makes A Terrible Leader, Look Out For These 5 Traits


Once in a while, you come across an individual in a leadership position that on the surface appears to be genuine, but when you get to know this individual further, you have this funny feeling in your gut. You feel a sense of deception to the extent that you fear surrendering full loyalty to that individual, or if you already did, you quickly retract your commitment and instead resort to a reclusive mode when working with this individual.


If you ever have this feeling, you are not alone. Many leaders on the surface appear to be interested in their team success and sincerely dedicated to seeing those beneath them, not only achieve organizational objectives but also reach their fullest potential in all their endeavors. They appear, in many ways, to captivate and embody the characteristics of a truly inspirational leader, but their real qualities over time slowly emerge.


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) shared their thoughts on the traits that make a terrible leader. I will share 5 of those traits, and while you are reading, make some mental notes because these traits are prevalent in weak leaders.


1. Lack of Transparency

Staff can tell when you’re not completely honest with them. There’s rarely a reason not to be entirely transparent with your team, especially at a young, growing company. Your team will appreciate understanding exactly where the company stands. This will help everyone come together as a team, focused on the problems that need solving for the long-term benefit of the company. Lack of transparency can result in a lack of trust.

Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas


2. Not Listening

Listening to all employees as often as possible is so important to building a loyal and faithful team. Everyone needs to be part of the process and bigger picture. Interacting and listening to your team is something that is too often forgotten by CEOs, with the hustle and bustle of job and travel schedules. It shouldn’t be.

Jason Grill, JGrill Media | Sock 101


3. Ego

The best leaders are ones who accept blame when things go wrong and give credit to their team when things go right. In order to be a true visionary leader, you need to let go of your ego and focus on your people because, without them, you would be nowhere.

Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk


4. Lack of Empathy

Leaders must understand the problems their team faces, and then begin doing anything to remove barriers to entry so their team can do the best job possible. In my experience, these barriers include a lack of resources, a lack of direction, and a lack of culture.


5. Permitting Negative Gossip

Spreading any sort of negative gossip about others sends a signal that it’s not safe to be around that person. Trust is immediately shattered, and people fear that what they are saying may be shared behind their backs. Leaders who either gossip or don’t take measures to eradicate it are harming more than just company morale. They are impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication throughout the organization.

David Hassell, 15Five


Those who belong to the old school of leadership-by-force must be acutely aware that this brand of leadership cannot work and will not work in this 21st century. Leadership is all about people and inspiring people to believe in themselves, believe in their gifts, believe in their dreams, and, most importantly, to help the next generation of leaders become inspirational leaders.


If a manager has no respect for his/her team, how can you expect any respect in return? People will follow their instructions because of their position on the org chart, but they will not support them voluntarily, and all trust will be lost. When all trust is broken down, a company can never function at an optimum level, that company will experience a high level of employee turnover, and that company will be average at best.


Credits: YEC, 15 Traits of a Terrible Leader, Success

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About Gifford Thomas



I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 310,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.


You can download a copy of my book The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible by clicking the link below




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