- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
In any business situation, it takes great leadership to keep things moving. Clients are happy, employees are bonding, the workplace has a great morale and productivity levels are high! Part of achieving this is being able to recognise and steer clear of poor leadership qualities.
Whilst some traits of a poor leader are easily visible, others can often go unnoticed. The last thing you want to be doing is displaying the attributes of a poor leader without even being aware.
What Are The Traits Of A Bad Leader?
Whether you have found yourself in a new leadership position or are struggling to keep the ship afloat, here is a list of poor leadership qualities that you’ll want to avoid.
Lack of adaptability
Simply put, things change in business. One of the characteristics of a poor leader is the lack or outright refusal to change. A true leader is able to adapt and encourage new trends, policies and strategies. When changes take place, a good leader has a plan so that their team can easily adapt and transition. Being a leader is no time to be complacent.
To be a respected leader, you need to have strong communication skills. You should be willing to listen to your employee’s concerns, ideas, and feedback to improve your working environment. At the same time, you must be able to reach out to those same people and ask questions. Poor leaders don’t take the time to understand employee concerns and simply dismiss ideas instead of asking for more information.
Lack of vision and focus
Poor leaders lack vision and focus. They fly blind with no plan and get easily lost with competing priorities. When you as a leader do not focus on the task at hand, your team will feel like they don’t know what to do. Your employees need a leader who knows what needs to be done and can see the potential results.
At some point, you will have an employee who will raise concerns about how they feel in the workplace. A good leader is empathetic in this situation and will take the time to understand their employee’s point of view. A poor leader does not extend care nor take the time to relate to how their employee is feeling. When an employee is suffering on the end of this poor leadership, they’ll question why they are contributing their time and energy.
Tying into the poor communication example, a great leader involves a whole lot of ACTIVE listening. It is quite obvious when you are not listening and you will lose the respect of your team and employees very quickly. When you don’t listen, it appears that you would rather focus on your self than your team. This is a very poor act of leadership and will lead you to missing important concerns, deadlines and the achievements of your team.
Lack of self-awareness
Leaders who have self-awareness have the ability to see themselves clearly. They know about their strengths and can easily identify their weaknesses. For someone with poor leadership qualities, they either don’t care about their strengths and weaknesses or refuse to focus on them. This leads to false assumptions on what they are good and not so good at. So, take a moment to identify your strengths and how you can use them to your advantage. At the same time, assess your weaknesses and put some actions in place to improve them.
A leader must hold themselves accountable for their mistakes. Sadly, there are leaders who refuse to do so and instead blame others. For what reason? Poor leaders are only concerned with making themselves look good. Blaming others for your mistakes will cause your employees to resign and rightfully so.
In times of conflict, a leader must always search for a solution. Once the solution is in place, it’s done. A leader who avoids conflict is possessing one of the gravest characteristics of a poor leader. Even if you are not involved with the conflict directly, you as a leader need to step in and provide a solution.
Potential solutions for bad leadership qualities
If you are guilty of one or more of these poor leadership qualities, it is not too late to turn a corner. Here are some ideas to consider:
Hold yourself accountable (and apologise)
Holding yourself accountable is the first step in becoming a better leader. It is important to talk with your team and let them know about your mistakes. When you hold yourself accountable, you are also displaying to your team that you possess self-awareness. If you feel that you have let the team down in some way, apologise. After, make a promise that you will learn from your mistakes and move forward.
Assess the situation: what have you done?
This is a good opportunity to build your self-awareness. What exactly have you displayed in terms of poor leadership qualities? How will you do things differently moving forward? Take a moment to assess and take solace in knowing that when conflict happens, you’ll know what to do.
Now that you are aware of these poor leadership qualities, the first thing to do is avoid them. Be sure to hold yourself accountable and be aware of what you are doing wrong as a leader. The more you improve yourself, the better. As a result, your team members will respect you and be more willing to go that extra mile!
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell