Four Negative Traits in Leadership

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about jumping the chasm and the challenges of staying relevant and impactful in your business or organization. A couple of those key points were being a life-long learner, having a sense of curiosity, being willing to commit resources in technology or people, and taking action.


On the flip side, some weaknesses can be addressed through thought and self-awareness. Here are four things to watch for in your leadership style:

① Lack of vision. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a business or organization with no vision or that is stuck in the ‘90s business model. The business feels listless and rudderless. Employees pick up on the lack of direction or “no true cause.” The organization may be making it now, but in short order, things will change, and the money will stop flowing; then a crisis will come. A smart leader is constantly looking for the right mix of purpose and story to keep the team motivated and moving forward. 

② Lack of trust. One of the worst work settings for any employee is to be in a situation where they are not trusted. It is the responsibility of leadership of the organization to hire smart and hire “right.” Getting the right people into the right slots is critical for the people and the business to succeed. If a business selects people it cannot trust, then there is something wrong in the hiring process. The fault of a bad hire lies at the top. 

The power, freedom, and creativity given to employees can become the “X” factor in the success of the organization. More businesses today are structured as flat or lean, which means employees are more critical than ever. Find talented, smart, and good people and then trust them and turn them loose.

③ Too much contact. Technology allows us to have 24/7 contact with people and employees – don’t. People need the opportunity to recharge and step back from work. A 24-hour grind is a recipe for burnout. The successful business knows that focus and energy need to be replenished. E-mailing your team or employees at 1:30 in the morning may sound focused, but it is overbearing. There is a balance to life, and modeling and leading by example is critical. Let your employees re-charge. 

④ Becoming stagnate. Aristotle said, “Man is a goal-seeking animal.” We have a restless nature built into our DNA. We love when something works and we make money. The challenge comes when we keep doing the same thing, repeatedly, until it doesn’t work. The agile leader understands new challenges and new horizons and keeps focus and engagement in the organization. We all need to be energized and excited about what we are doing. Finding the right stretch challenge is key.


We want to be part of something exciting and bigger than ourselves. A good leader understands how to make that happen and how to engage the soul of the business.

“If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises,” Dorothy said to the Wizard of Oz.