Last week I talked about 5 things that would make you a better leader, you can read more about it here. Today I will talk about 5 things that will make you a bad leader, and the impact they may have on your team.
#1 Lack of Direction
Maybe the worse of them all. To be honest, for me, leadership is about setting direction. If you don’t know where we are going, then you are not suited to lead the way.
Imagine in the old days of world exploration. The crew just realizes that the captain of a ship (the leader) has no idea where to go. No idea how to navigate the stars. No idea what the end goal of the mission is. What do you think will happen next? Mutiny, right?
You are either leading the way or in the way. There is no middle ground for a leader.
#2 Lack of Authority
It is easy to spot the bossy type, and to be honest, it gets old very quickly. No one likes one of those.
Equally annoying is the leader who doesn’t make a single decision. The dancer. The smooth talker. The one that always has a reason why that cannot be done right now.
This is the leader that effects NO change. The one that provides bad feedback. All of this, in most cases, leads the team to burnout. Unproductive lack of progress that is just frustrates everyone.
#3 Lack of presence
We can also call it the absent manager syndrome. There is not much more that I can say about it.
An absent leader creates absent followers. It’s as simple as that. If you want your people to follow you, you need to be there to guide the way.
Don’t get me wrong here. This does not mean you cannot take vacations or long weekends. It means that if you want your team to put in the effort, be there also. Do you have a big release that needs to happen after hours? Be there with your team if they are in the office.
I remember to this day executing a data migration Dry Run late at night, no one else in the office, everyone else went home. There were only two people in that building, me and my manager. Did he needed to be there? No, he didn’t code or knew how to execute the migration. Did he wanted to be there? Probably not also, I bet he wanted to be home with his family. But the thing is, he was there. I put in the effort and he also put in his effort.
#4 Lack of Transparency
Man, I really hate this one. Transparency for me is KEY. Yes even KEY with all caps. I understand that not everything can be shared, but that is very different from not sharing anything.
A couple of posts ago I talked about a concept dear to my heart. I didn’t come up with it, but that doesn’t mean I like it less. The idea is “Radical Transparency”. If you search for the term and Ray Dalio you can read more in depth about what it is. For me, it is simply changing the “need to know basis” to “cannot know basis”.
#5 Lack of Trust
It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.Steve Jobs
Imagine this scenario. Your leader has no trust in your expertise or knowledge. Do you think he will ever follow the quote above? The most likely outcome will be micromanaging.
Nothing is more demoralizing to a team than to realize that their leader has no trust in what they do. I understand that trust needs to be won, but I like to start by trusting the people instead of the other way around.
What do you think? Are there any other traits of a bad leader that you know about?
Feel free to share them with me in any of the interwebs social networks or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.