A Leader to Never Choose

Selecting a leader is complicated. It is not enough to have the professionalism to evaluate knowledge and technical skills, it is necessary to have acquired the ability to frame the overall depth of the person. It is his personality that must emerge from the evaluation, not just “what he can do”.

A young talent can be trained to acquire the contents necessary to carry out a certain job, but he/she will never be able to transfer those qualities that are acquired through an inner path of self-centering with respect to values and principles that have been laboriously identified.

This time I do not want to offer the list of the characteristics of the “good leader” but, rather, list some human and leadership typologies to beware of when evaluating and selecting a leader.

The losing leader, always

Facts, not words (put-up or shut-up). Nothing smacks of poor leadership like lack of performance. Nobody is perfect, but leaders who fail constantly must have some problems. While failures help you grow, a history of continual failures indicates a pathological inability to learn from mistakes. Here’s a trivia: Those who have consistently experienced success in leadership roles have a much better chance of repeating themselves. While smart companies recognize potential, it is equally true that they reward and seek performance. So, cultivate talent, but successful insurance leaders.

The “I know everything” leader

The best leaders are perfectly aware of what they do not know and listen patiently to the people they work with, even if they express concepts that do not revolutionize corporate thinking.

A leader does not need to be (or feel) the smartest person in the room but constantly feels the desire to learn from others. One of the characteristics of great leaders is their insatiable curiosity. If a leader is not extremely curious about every aspect of his organization, believe me when I tell you that there are huge problems on the horizon.

The pathological egocentric leader

The self-centered leader always feels at the center of events. He does not conceive of his role as a service role, but, on the contrary, expects everything and everyone to serve his role as him. Obviously, he relegates all his collaborators to marginal roles and does not share the information he needs, to cultivate his sense of power and indispensability (presumed).

An excessive abundance of ego, pride, and arrogance drives away the loyalty and esteem of one’s collaborators; which, translated, means that you are no longer their leader, therefore you are nothing.

The leader who does not know communicate

If a leader is constantly not understood by his collaborators, he simply does not know how to communicate. And a leader with poor communication skills is, of course, short-lived in his position.

Great leaders know how to communicate anything to anyone. They are active listeners, fluid thinkers and know how to manage any conversation, wisely modulating its tones and tenor.

The leader who does not invest in his team

Leaders not fully committed to investing in those they lead will fail.

The best leaders support their team, integrate into the group they lead and offer themselves as mentors and coaches to their collaborators. A leader who does not invest his energy to grow his team is a mediocre leader, who encourages the mediocrity of those who work with him/her.

The leader who wants to win alone

True leaders take responsibility for mistakes and credit their team for successes, also because they know (or should know) that they are measured on the performance of the people who work with them and not on their personal performance.

A leader who falls into this misunderstanding is completely off track.

I realize that what has been said seems to be taken for granted. But how many times do we realize we have “discovered” those aspects when it is too late.

Because it must be borne in mind that the choice of a leader does not only impact on company results in the short term but, by conditioning the company culture, has direct repercussions on medium-long term results; even after the current leader has left the company that he should have helped to grow and which – on the contrary – has contributed to burying.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Great post Aldo. It covers the quality leader who meets today’s challenges with a strong character and great skills.
    The complexity of the world today calls for leaders to trust team members and help them grow, realize that knowledge grows much faster than they can capture. Besides, the leader allows for authenticity, flow of creative ideas and welcomes them rather than his ego telling him he knows better than all others.
    A great read.