22 Fake Traits of a Leader

By | December 27, 2018

[December 27, 2018]  Being a leader means remembering that you are there for a reason and the reason is not about having everything your way.  A number of my readers asked that I compile a list of fake traits that leaders hold.  Below is a list of 22 of these fake traits; each being commonly encountered in poor leaders.

  1. Controlling: there is a greater interest in forcing people to do what you desire.
  2. Deceptiveness: in attitude, speech, or behavior.
  3. Blaming others or circumstances: for any failure of mission or your failure.
  4. Not developing other leaders: either due to personal limitations or fear of rivals.
  5. Giving excuses: when things go wrong or not going according to plan.
  6. Overcommit and under deliver
  7. The desire to be popular: no matter what, being liked and popular is the main desire.
  8. Disparages others: boasting about how great you are.
  9. Takes credit: a true leader acknowledges all involved.
  10. Breaks promises: once made, a true leader will do whatever it takes to do as promised.
  11. Disrespecting others: practices incivility, rudeness, and insolence.
  12. Wastes time
  13. Pursues personal vendettas: keeps score and get back at others.
  14. Use acronyms attached to your name: to show your importance; a braggart.
  15. Not knowing what it means to listen or obey
  16. Being too busy for others
  17. Cheating: real leaders never cheat to get ahead or to obtain an advantage.
  18. Never get their hands dirty: there is more interest in having others do the dirty work.
  19. Panic: when things go bad, poor leaders panic.
  20. Reject the idea of selfless service
  21. It’s always about quid pro quo: they owe me if I do something for them.
  22. Fails to set expectations

This story is really about ways to spot poor leadership.  When you see any on this list, even you may have done it yourself, so be sure to recognize them for what they are about.

These fake traits of a leader are not complete but I believe the list is comprehensive.  I would venture to bet that all of us have experienced most, if not all, of these fake traits in leaders.  At some point in our lives, we will always find a leader who fails to live up to their responsibilities.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “22 Fake Traits of a Leader

  1. Willie Shrumburger

    Authentic leaders have the courage to speak their minds, even when their views are unpopular. That is why your list of 22 fake leaders traits comes in handy. I personally will want to do what I can to avoid them. I see that I have been guilty of a few in the past. We should all be working toward improvement of our traits.

  2. Doug Smith

    Appreciate the list of 22. Nicely done and well laid out.

  3. Joey Holmes

    Hi, I like your list. Thanks and cheers!
    My dad says hello.

    1. Georgie M.

      Hello Joey, I hope your break from school there in Australia is enjoyable.

  4. Greg Heyman

    On a similar note, I believe we should also be reading professional articles on leadership that provide a little more in depth coverage. One magazine I read is ‘The Leadership Quarterly.” It’s a paid magazine but I think the link below will work. If not,just google the mag’s name. Thanks all.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Greg, your linked worked and looks like a great article.

    2. Gil Johnson

      Thanks Greg for letting me know about the Leadership Quarterly. This is why I read the comments from readers.

  5. Max Foster

    Becoming a leader requires a careful combination of confidence and humility. Remaining a leader and growing leadership capabilities require persistence and integrity. An essential characteristic of leadership is trust. Leaders live and work in ways that let them gain the trust of their people. They also trust their people; trust goes two ways. Ultimately, you cannot fake trust, you have to earn it, and you earn it by being genuine and real.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      True! Leadership is all about trust. If you have fake traits, you will not be trusted and therefore a failed leader.

  6. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Nice list. I’ll be using it to illustrate leaders from the past in the High School history class I teach.

  7. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Michael Hopkin said, “The work fake has various connotations and degrees. In one sense it means not real or untrue. It can be as harmless as an actor who shows contrived emotions or as damaging as a criminal who uses deception to defraud people of their money. Regardless of the degree, the act of faking or being fake results in negative consequences and is the antithesis of leadership.” I tend to agree with him.

  8. Lady Hawk

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for a list of those “fake traits” we find in not only poor leaders but occassionally in a good leader too.

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