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7 Signs That Instantly Identify Someone With Bad Leadership Traits

Last updated: 11-26-2019

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7 Signs That Instantly Identify Someone With Bad Leadership Traits

Do you work in a toxic environment under bad leadership? If you do, and you choose to keep your job, there comes a time when you need to hold up the mirror and decide if it's worth it.

Over the years, I've gathered enough evidence to support the case that bad leadership may hurt you, the employee, in several ways, including:

In the digital age, where communication apps like Slack, email, and texting are utilized for work productivity, bad leaders hide behind their tech and solely manage through digital interactions rather than the preferred human interaction to problem-solve issues that digital mediums of communication can't effectively resolve. A problem that could have taken two minutes to fix in person now takes two hours or two days, as workers try to interpret their managers' words over a screen.

Some of the most successful leaders in the world are known for their charisma. But charisma clouds people's evaluations of how leaders actually perform, says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, author of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It).The professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University points out that charisma, when combined with narcissism and psychopathy, is a lethal combination. Furthermore, research has shown when followers have more information on a leader, the importance of charisma declines.

Employees have no idea what is really going on and no one knows the real truth of the current situation or what the future holds. This causes confusion, fear, and anxiety in the minds of workers.

A person with bad leadership micromanages to the last detail. The situation is overbearing and stifling because he or she wants control over decisions. He or she distrusts the team and doesn't delegate; there's no room for group discussion or input because the leadership style is autocratic. In turn, creativity or learning something new is absent under this dictatorship. The motto is: Just take your marching orders and report back. 

Ever work with a manager who's always right and you're always wrong? A person with bad leadership skills has a hard time taking blame or ownership for things and will never admit to having made a mistake. He's more concerned with preserving his reputation and saving face. 

Does your boss give you all the information you need? If not, this is one of the most predictive traits of people with bad leadership, according to the literature. It is reflective of someone who generally hoards or withholds information, and employees often end up lost and confused. 

Bad leaders aren't concerned with driving the company mission or aligning team goals to organizational objectives. It's about their individual performance and getting that annual bonus. Bad leaders displaying this attitude are playing for the name on the back of the jersey and are only concerned about their accomplishments and how they look to their superiors.


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