How to Suck as a Leader: 10 Easy Steps | Part 3

Well, here we are – the final three never-fail methods to suck as a leader. In parts one and two I covered seven things you can do to really “stink it up” as a leader. (1) Make it all about you, (2) don’t worry about serving, (3) be a know-it-all, (4) do not think about or talk about the future, (5) resist change, (6) play the blame game, and (7) don’t communicate.



Here are the last three ways to exhibit really bad leadership.

  1. Don’t let your people know what’s expected of them. Most people are willing to do the job they are expected to do. The key here is they must understand what is expected of them. Too often, as leaders, we try to onboard new employees without the proper orientation process and without clear job descriptions. Or, we may assign projects without first communicating our specific expectations regarding the assignment. Either of these cases is an example of our setting our employee(s) up to fail. Furthermore, without clear expectations we will have a lot of frustrated and underperforming employees. Not good.
  2. Focus on the Negative. Our tendency as humans is to correct what’s wrong. We are quick to point out where someone has fallen short in some way. In the case of praise however, we are not nearly as quick to speak up. A post on the Harvard Business Review’s blog network suggested that, in order to keep our people more motivated, determined, and creative, it takes nearly six positive comments, or praises, for every single negative comment, or criticism. Give it a try.
  3. Micro-manage. If you don’t have confidence in those working on your team then it’s your problem not theirs. Either you did a poor job hiring, a unacceptable job training, or were unsatisfactory in setting expectations. If any of those are the case then you should make the necessary corrections. However, once you have the right people on the bus, once you’ve trained them, and once you’ve established appropriate expectations, you should let them do their job. Sure, you’ll need to create a process for follow-up and accountability, but if you’re going to hover over your team members, second guess everything that happens, and constantly insist on knowing everything that goes on, you and your team will fail. None of you can be effective under those circumstances. Hire the right people, provide the necessary training, set clear expectations, and then back off and allow the work to be done.

Let’s recap our list from all three posts:

  1. Make it all about you.
  2. Don’t worry about serving those you lead.
  3. Be sure everyone knows how much you know.
  4. Don’t think about or talk about the future.
  5. Resist change at all costs.
  6. Blame, blame, blame.
  7. Don’t communicate – keep people in the dark.
  8. Don’t let your people know what’s expected of them.
  9. Focus on the negative.
  10. Micro-manage.

None of us want to suck as a leader. We want to be successful. Without some conscious thought however, we can slip into bad habits, make poor decisions, and act or react inappropriately in various situations. It pays to be intentional regarding your leadership success. Give it a shot. Don’t suck.

“The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

QUESTION: Have you done or said anything lately that could be classified as poor leadership?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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