“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”
There are many articles and books written about leadership. If you ask people who they consider to be good leaders, I’m betting they would have difficulty naming ten! But ask people for some examples of bad leadership and they can produce a long list! Most of us can more easily identify what makes a bad leader than a good one!
So, here are ten ways, or ten more ways, to identify what a good leader is NOT!
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A dictator – Dictators get things done, there’s no doubt about that, but no one really wants to follow a dictator and when dictators fall, there are not many who will stick around to catch them or pick them up. Additionally, they won’t put in 100% or have much loyalty to the company, and will constantly be looking for their next position.
Someone who has all the answers – No one knows everything. Good leaders are smart enough to know that they don’t know everything. Good leaders seek information, knowledge, and data so that they have all they need to give informed, intelligent, well-thought-out answers.
Someone who is surrounded by sycophants – Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet was comprised of his rivals because he felt that he could not deprive the country of their knowledge. Good leaders seek good people to surround themselves with, not “yes” men or women. Good leaders respect others’ opinions and input.
Someone who doesn’t know how to inspire – Employees can be influenced and/or motivated to perform, but the ability to inspire someone to perform is a quality that good leaders have. A good leader can inspire others through words and deeds to see the same vision that he/she sees and to want to follow through with what it takes to accomplish that vision.
Someone who doesn’t listen – It’s only lonely at the top if you make it lonely at the top. The easiest way to be lonely is not to listen to others because then, no one will want to talk to you, offer suggestions to you, or try to help you. Good leaders are not so enamored with their next words that they don’t listen to others. Good leaders relish input and ideas.
Someone who is no longer learning – The time we stop learning is when we are dead. This is an ever-changing world especially with the constant changes in technology. Effective leaders know that it is not only important, but vital to continue to stretch their abilities by seeking knowledge that will be valuable not only to themselves, but to their company and the employees therein.
Someone who does not take responsibility – “The buck stops here,” has become a dated quote because it seems that very few want to take responsibility for their own actions. As a business owner, anything that happens within your company is ultimately your responsibility. Passing the buck to a subordinate doesn’t gain respect and is not the quality of a true leader. A good leader is characterized by taking responsibility, fixing the problem, and ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.
Someone who only sits in the office – Good leaders get into the trenches so that they can actually understand the problems and issues that their employees face on a day-to-day basis. Bad leaders rule from the ivory tower, only have meetings with their direct reports, and learn about issues from reports given by people who are far removed from the actual situation.
Someone with questionable integrity – Good leaders lead with a set of values and integrity that don’t waiver depending on the situation. They don’t put themselves in a position where they don’t have to worry about justifying a decision. They don’t bend to political or social pressure and actually believe that there are things that are black and white and that sometimes you do something because it’s just the right thing to do. Good leaders are remembered for their integrity long after they are no longer leaders.
Someone who doesn’t know how to lead – Many people can manage, but not all managers can lead. A good leader leads through inspiration and puts others before him or herself. A good leader is a mentor and a coach. A good leader can be counted on to tell the truth whether it is good or bad. A good leader is respected. A good leader talks the same way to people at all levels. A good leader is willing to empty the garbage and clean the bathroom if need be. Good leaders don’t believe in their own hype. A good leader has his or her ego under control. A good leader has a strategic vision and a tactical plan to see the vision come to fruition. A good leader is an influencer. Good leaders are made, not born. A good leader stands on a solid ethical foundation. Good leaders can read others and can effectively balance optimism with realism. Good leaders draw people to them. A good leader knows how to empower. A good leader is a great communicator. A good leader leads through all these actions.[/message][su_spacer]
There is one final test. A bad leader has no followers.