7 Warning Signs of Bad Leadership

Great leadership is not all about authority. In fact, renowned leaders are often distinguished for their ability to influence people. So, for those eyeing a leadership role, know that not anyone who has that position has what it takes to be there. To be an exemplary leader, one must embody the balance of ideals and reality. There are lots of tips online that define the traits of an ideal leader, but how about the traits you need to avoid? Below, we compiled the most common signs of bad leadership you need to note.

1. Micromanagement

Employees can work tirelessly as long as there are no distractions. Unfortunately, there are bosses who love to nitpick every task their employees are doing. Instead of completing a task, employees will have to go through all details again to ensure all ‘requests’ are done. They won’t lose composure—they’ll lose track of time, too. Are you among these employees? If you are working under a micromanager, know that you’re up for immense pressure. Reading tips on how to become more assertive at work can help you in the long run.

2. Poor judge of character

We know that we cannot judge a book by its cover, right? To fully grasp the book, you must read it first. The same goes for leaders when accepting new subordinates. First impressions are crucial, but smart leaders should know that first impressions don’t last. Here’s the most common stigma among leaders: they think they have the right to box you and predict your progress as you go. This trait fosters conflict in the long run.

3. Lack of humility

This trait is seen as a form of supremacy that allows leaders to keep a ‘higher’ ground. As impudent as it sounds, some leaders still practice this nowadays. Lack of humility takes on many forms. Arriving late to and showing inattentiveness in a meeting is two of the most obvious signs of this bad leadership trait. 

4. Apathy

John Maxwell once said, “Good leaders know when to display emotions and when to delay them.” Putting up a solid facade and avoiding emotions are not what subordinates want leaders to do. In fact, apathetic leaders who simply accept the level of performance their employees choose to give without offering rooms for improvement are leaders who cannot guide their subordinates toward success. To work efficiently, employees need to develop personally, too. Unfortunately, most leaders rely on logic alone, failing to see how crucial empathy is in leadership. This is why apathy is among the worst signs of bad leadership you need to watch out for.

5. Gaslighting

Ever worked for a laidback boss who pressured you to do all the work for you have the ‘skills’ to do it? These types of bosses will shower you with praise until you lose track of the responsibilities you should and should not be doing. Further, when one of the tasks assigned to you failed, you’re left to shelter all the responsibility alone. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse—you need to look out for yourself to avoid it.

6. Furtiveness

Secrecy is crucial but only to a certain extent. Working under an extremely secretive leader often leaves employees uncertain of what to do next. In an organization, it is acknowledged success is only achieved by having the same goal in mind. However, if leaders don’t trust their employees enough and keep crucial plans to themselves, the company and its goal can be put at risk. 

7. Close-mindedness

Leaders should not only direct people—they should listen to them, too. Cooperation is crucial to create and manage processes. The leadership is not objective anymore if a leader is having problems listening to the feedback and suggestions of fellow employees. This type of bad leadership must be shunned to prevent avoidable conflicts and issues.

It is true that not anyone succeeds fully at leading. Possessing one or two traits on this list doesn’t perforce bar on anyone from acquiring a leadership role. Truly, it takes guts, determination, and courage to become a leader. So, if you aspire to be one someday, bear in mind that avoiding these traits can set you apart from your prospective competitors. Do better than your past leaders to cultivate a positive culture.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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