Thought to Ponder: Am I a Bad Leader?

August 3, 2022

Thought to Ponder: Am I a Bad Leader?

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John C. Maxwell

This is a nice thing to reflect on. People look to leaders to guide them, but not all leaders are good leaders. Some are ineffective in what they do. Others don’t just have the right attitude for it, and some don’t even realize that they need to change something to be better leaders.

John Kitchens, a contributor to Entrepreneur, wrote, “A good leader can take a failing business and turn it around, while a bad leader, on the other hand, can ruin even the most successful company.”

We all know how crucial leadership is to business growth and success. So what happens when the leader is ineffective? How do you know if you are a bad leader?

There are some telling signs.

“Bad leaders believe their teams work for them. Great leaders believe they work for the team.” – Alexander den Heijer

Take the time to reflect on yourself. Is your ego getting in the way of achieving your business goals? It is easy to fall into the trap of self-centeredness. Even I have times like that too. Pride is two sides of the same coin: it can be both good and bad, and leaders are more prone to walking that fine and invisible line. When you are in the top position, it is easy to look down on everyone else. But we all know that benefits no one.

Even if you own the business, especially if you own the business and it is your name at stake, it is all the more reason to respect the people you hired to help you. Self-centered leadership, where you think you are the only person who can be right, stunts growth, progress, and success.

As Simon Sinek puts it, “Bad leaders believe that they have to project control at all times.” And nothing kills employee morale and creativity more than a micromanager who fails to empower his team.

Ineffective leaders also fail during turbulent times. When you don’t listen to others, shoot down their ideas and opinions, and ignore the questions raised by the people who work for you, your organization flounders in the face of change. You are unable to adapt because your close-mindedness makes you inflexible.

Leaders without vision, a moral compass, and empathy also fall into the bad leader category. If you are all talk but your actions are contrary to what you are saying, your team won’t follow you willingly because you’ve lost your credibility. A leader who can’t lead themselves and can’t lead with compassion can’t really be called a leader.

And a leader who can’t take criticism remains stagnant. If you can’t grow as a person, you can’t inspire growth in others, and you can’t expect to see much growth in the business you are leading either. 

“Bad leadership is an oxymoron.” – Joseph C. Rost

If you are an ineffective leader to the extent that your team no longer wants to follow you, how can you call yourself a leader? A leader is made by the people who follow them.

To be effective in leading, you need to learn how to listen, lead them with direction and purpose, and have enough confidence to lead with authority but not to the extent of tyranny. Learn to lead yourself, embrace change and be adaptable, listen to criticism, and filter which ones you can change so you can improve and continue to grow.

Communicate clearly and openly with your team, so that both sides know how to handle failure and learn from it. And never stop educating yourself. Leadership is a lifelong process of learning, growing, and pruning.

Ask yourself today: How are you as a leader? Do you need to make some changes to your leadership style? Humility goes a long way when it comes to achieving success.

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.