The top 20 bad leadership traits

The leadership books I have read in the last couple of years mostly focus on the top leadership qualities or traits of great leaders. Some examples are:

  • Personal characters (honesty, integrity, trustworthy, humility, etc.)
  • Clear vision and purpose
  • Strategic thinking
  • Passion for what you do
  • Competence (intellectual and emotional)
  • Openness and risk-taking
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability, admitting mistakes and learning from them
  • Leading by example
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Continued learning and growing
  • Inspiring and empowering
  • Hiring people who are competent

Lately I have been thinking about what makes bad leaders. Just as there are many qualities or traits that make good leaders, there are many qualities or traits that make bad leaders or bad managers.

Here is a list of the top 20 bad leadership traits I came up with. I welcome your additions and comments.

  • Having tunnel vision
  • Micromanaging
  • Being incompetent
  • Being rules oriented and not people oriented
  • Demanding perfection
  • Having fear and doubts regarding employees’ competence
  • Having low self-esteem and confidence
  • Having emotional insecurity and immaturity
  • Making decisions based on emotions
  • Acting as a roadblock between upper managers and employees
  • Acting differently in front of their superiors and subordinates
  • Blaming others for failures and taking credit for successes
  • Showing favoritism
  • Reacting negatively to criticism
  • Making assumptions without fact checking
  • Not willing or not able to change and adapt
  • Not willing to learn and grow
  • Not taking no for an answer
  • Not listening
  • Not caring about how their actions impact others
Tags :

58 thoughts on “The top 20 bad leadership traits”

  1. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover somebody who
    truly understands what they are discussing online. You actually
    know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people really need to look at this
    and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since
    you most certainly have the gift.

  2. Thanks for every other magnificent post. The place else may anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal manner of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such info.

  3. Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward
    to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

  4. Hi awesome web page! Gentleman. Lovely. Astounding. Let me save your web site along with grab the for in addition? Now i’m content to discover numerous helpful tips here inside upload, we need produce extra strategies normally made available, many thanks for discussing.. title records search

  5. I don’t even know how I finished up right here, however I assumed this submit
    was once good. I don’t realize who you’re but certainly
    you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who are not already.

  6. Howdy very cool web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I’m satisfied to seek out a lot of helpful info here within the submit,
    we want develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  7. Admiring the commitment you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site
    and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google

  8. Thank you for every other magnificent article.
    Where else may just anyone get that type of information in such
    a perfect manner of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  9. Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this website on a regular basis,
    this web site is actually fastidious and the users are truly sharing good

  10. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website.

    I am hhoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you
    in the future as well.In truth, your creative writing
    abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site
    now ;)

  11. Pingback: white wall
  12. hello!,I like your writing very a lot! share we keep in touch more approximately your article on AOL?
    I require a specialist in this space to resolve my problem.
    May be that is you! Taking a look forward to see you.

  13. Magnificent web site. A lot of useful information here.
    I’m sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thank you to your sweat!

  14. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back at some point.
    I want to encourage that you continue your great posts, have a nice day!

  15. Excellent post. Keep writing such kind of info on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and in my view suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this website.

  16. ‘to make reconciliation for iniquity,’ while the end of
    the long period was to mark the opening of
    the judgment hour in heaven, the cleansing of the sanctuary, preparatory
    to His second advent. But when Israel needs friends she can depend on most of the evangelical Christian to come to her aid.
    Let him save you from what is about to come on this earth.

  17. As people open the files beyond there torrent directory the seeds
    dry out and the. When you’re making a juice from dark, leafy greens,
    try including a little cucumber. So, your website walks an incredibly thin tightrope,
    legally speaking.

  18. Creating notes digitally has actually come to be very popular.

    How ever I have been given a private viewing of the upcoming new Samsung Galaxy S
    5 and this is what I have found. The phone has also surpassed the popularity of Galaxy S3 within few days.

  19. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site.

    I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own website now ;)

  20. Remember, nonprofit organization has a specific meaning that day
    will get tax concession on their income. If your
    automobile is 10 years old or older reviewing your insurance coverage is always recommended.
    In order to stop companies from running pre-approval application checks, you must request to be
    removed from a mailing list.

  21. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to
    and you’re just extremely great. I really like what you have acquired here,
    really like what you are stating and the way in which you
    say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep
    it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you.
    This is really a wonderful web site.

  22. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have offered
    for your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies.
    Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  23. Hi there! I know this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does running a well-established website like yours take a large amount of work?

    I’m brand new to operating a blog but I do write in my diary on a daily basis.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and thoughts online.

    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring
    blog owners. Thankyou!

    Look at my web blog; love []

  24. Most likely you didn’t know that it’s not always
    a bad idea to snack late at night. The myth will live as long as someone, somewhere will believe
    it. In effect, this technique helps your metabolism rate as well as burn calories that generally goes well
    with your intense workout sessions.

    my web-site – best fat burner (

  25. Can you provide an confidence or warrantee of
    one’s services. Seek advice from my hyperlink and
    find out extra details about Millionaire Secrets Revealed.
    On another celebration in 2006, Race NSW stewards incurred Hayson following one
    among his commission brokers backed his horse Soaring Song
    on Betfair.

  26. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just
    what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to
    write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind writing a post
    or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write with regards to here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

    Check out my web site – Joseph Plazo author

  27. Thank you, this is very informative. And your blogs in here had contributed a lot. Keep it up Ms. Qin.. God bless you.

  28. Qin, I have read this and other blogs and I like your fresh and clear thoughts! Thank you.
    You and your followers may be interested to know that “Leaders’ Map” book will be free on Amazon Kindle on 16th and 17th April. I hope that it may give fresh perspectives too!



  29. I have a research question which i should submit to MKU by Monday pliz assist me, ‘how our leaders are guided by emotions and self gratification and not reason in the context of critical and creative thinking tools of analysis and tools of evaluation’

  30. Bad leaders are a symptom of a badly run organization. Bad leaders are non-visionary types, and thus appear inept when they do attempt to cast a vision. They are the type of WW2 officers who got good soldiers killed in battle. The most glaring quality of bad leaders, and the poorly run organizations they represent, is their inability to decipher the difference between an employee who disagrees and an employee that is disloyal.

    1. Perfect. I got one of those right now! The thing is that those types never change. They should not be in management.

  31. I am preparing for an essay to be submitted for an MBA entrance, Please review the same and comment , i need it tommorow, will apreciate yor comments on the e mail
    What are some qualities that you do not have and wish to acquire which will help you become a more effective leader? What are some qualities that you do not have and wish to acquire which will help you become a more effective manager? Please explain in two separate paragraphs (300 words max)
    “All managers are leaders, but all leaders are not managers.”
    Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to.
    Great leaders have vision., courage to take risks, integrity for being honest to the employer and client in all situation, Integrity for being honest to the employer and client in all situation, Strategic Planning, Focus, Cooperation.
    Out of the above qualities, I think I need to improve my Risk taking appetite, I tend to be very pessimistic in taking risks as I follow the conservative numbers during the risk assessment. I also need to improve the strategic planning, as I have not been involved in the same
    They can see into the future. They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish and are excellent at strategic planning.
    This quality separates them from managers. Having a clear vision turns the individual into a special type of person. This quality of vision changes a ‘‘transactional manager’’ into a ‘‘transformational leader.’’ While a manager gets the job done, great leaders tap into the emotions of their employees.

    The 10 qualities that a good manager should have is determined by the concerns for the people, having strong project management skills, mutual respect for everyone in the company, good work ethics, being responsible and accountable for all actions, having confidence and trust for the team, good .
    communication skills, be able to think out of the box, be a self motivator, and be friendly with the staff

  32. To become a Good Leader,one should know what are the bad qualities that he/she should avoid doing.

    We are always oriented in learning Good qualities.But in practical life we display Bad qualites,this will not happen if we also understand Bad qualities.

  33. ARROGANT AND AUTOCRATIC are the traits of bad leaders.Some leaders and top managers become arrogant and autocratic when they reached top positions. Arrogant is where they view followers in negative perspective; stupid, lazy, incompetent, unmotivated etc. They become autocratic, rigid and inflexible refuse to listen to subordinates and followers.

  34. it is really a good effort to accumulate good and bad traits for a leader…….
    i am a student trying to lead my fellows…..i have no control on my emotions

  35. I enjoy your negative and positive leadership qualities but then a good leader must be tolerant and firm some times

  36. Qin, this list is great! Unfortunately, the leaders, or C-level people in my organization, encompass pretty much all of the latter traits.

  37. Companies tend to set targets that are not achievable by the work force this creates stress and demotivates people in general , but for some strange reason managers become blind too the work force needs and tend too see only company objectives.

    This is a sure sign of bad leadership as company unrealistic targets drives managers to send out bad signals

  38. The last three workplaces I’ve encountered resulted in an accumulated count of one extremely well-adjusted, effective boss, and four highly dysfunctional and ineffective ones. The latter caused me to do a significant amount of research about toxic work environments and I read a number of case studies and books devoted to the topic.

    The conclusion shared by the studies and books is a startling assessment that there are a high number of people with severe mental health issues who are promoted into management in the US. Topping the list of disorders they embody is narcissistic parinoia.

    The severely mentally ill as managers is prevalent in the US largely owing to our lack of laws forbidding harassment in the workplace. Europe has passed strict laws forbidding employers from harassing employees and takes action in their courts to remove them from positions of power. European businesses know that it’s not cost effective to hire, promote and keep abusive managers, so they often don’t even let them set foot on the ladder of management.

    Thanks for the post.

  39. Qin Tang,
    Developing this list is a great idea. As I looked through the items, I was struck with the thought that a leader who acts contrary to the great qualities of leadership is really, in some way, incompetent. For example taking the first items on the list of good qualities you provided would change to no integrity, being dishonest, not trustworthy, arrogant, no vision or strategy, etc.

    Thanks for making people think about “opposite” ideas.

    Billy Arcement, MEd—The Leadership Strategist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>