Doing Life Together

leadership-913043_1920Think about every job you’ve had. Now think about the leader. The leader has everything to do with your memories of the job being a good one or a challenging one. So what is it about leaders that can make an organization a difficult or great place to work? Here are five characteristics of leaders that are warning signs and should caution you not to follow the leader!

  1. The leader’s ego drives the organization. This is the leader who thinks he is above everyone else in abilities and talent. The organization is fortunate to have him or her because they are right on everything. Under the facade of confidence is a lack of self-esteem despite all the bravado. The problem is that decisions are made in order to make them feel important or empowered, rather than in the best interest of the organization.
  2. They have poor emotional intelligence (EQ) and do not see this as a need. Good leaders examine their actions and interactions and are constant learners. Self-growth is important. But leaders who lack emotional intelligence don’t value self-growth and believe they are fine the way they are. They don’t seek feedback from their leadership team. They focus on the bottom line rather than people. Leaders with poor EQ are often top down leaders who are transactional, not transforming in their style.
  3. They hire YES people. I have seen this over and over. Because of insecurity and an elevated ego, the leader has to be around people who continue to admire and reinforce their greatness as a leader. As a result, they surround themselves with people who do not disagree or challenge their ideas. This is as dangerous in leadership as it is in government. There are no checks and balances, no new ideas, and no critical evaluation of how the organization is progressing. This characteristic keeps an organization stagnant.
  4. The leader is terrible at dealing with conflict. An example comes to  mind of a leader who was called to a meeting and did not address a conflict because he was afraid of the repercussions of standing up to an injustice. Instead, he threw his employee under the bus. The leader was driven by fear and was conflict avoidant. Upon further examination, the leader had grown up in an alcoholic home in which conflict was not safe. It could end in violence or abuse. This learned style of conflict avoidance followed him into an executive position. Conflict avoidance or reactivity to conflict is detrimental to an organization and thus often results in fear and distrust in the organization. When people can’t trust that leaders will come to them and talk through a conflict, mistrust is established.
  5. Bad leaders don’t learn from their mistakes; they blame others. No one is perfect, yet failure or mistakes can be a fertile ground for learning if the attitude is one of humility. But so many leaders will make a mistake and not ask for help. They don’t want your input or discussion about what could be improved and how to move forward in a different way. Good leaders look at failure and mistakes and lear from them. Often what I see is when a mistake happens, the leader reigns in the control and begins to micromanage. And micromanaging is a morale killer.
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