Another 20 Common Weaknesses of Leaders

By | October 17, 2020

[October 17, 2020]   Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, once said that “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  I was counter by saying that “leadership” is knowing which ones to keep.  Today’s article is about common weaknesses that we find in all people.

In the study of human error, it is incumbent upon all of us to acknowledge that mistakes will be made but, more importantly, it is ultimately our response to those mistakes is what counts.

A few days ago, I wrote about 20 Common Leader Weaknesses.  Several readers pointed out that I’d been somewhat remiss in overlooking other common weaknesses, most of which are classic human weaknesses.  Here are another 20 common leader weaknesses:

  1. Going nowhere, no plan, or method to get somewhere
  2. Lying or slanting/shaving the truth
  3. Procrastinating
  4. Avoiding problems or difficult work
  5. Grandiose behavior
  6. Narcissism
  7. Undisciplined behavior
  8. Nihilistic thinking
  9. Aimlessness
  10. Victim mentality
  11. Taking a quick way out or taking shortcuts
  12. Pursuing impulsive pleasures
  13. Sacrificing the meaning for expediency
  14. Not taking care of responsibilities
  15. Fighting stupidly with relatives
  16. Blaming others for your problems and faults
  17. Bitterness at work and home
  18. Not thinking through tomorrow
  19. Drinking alcohol and illegal drug use too much
  20. Not regulating one’s life

This is a powerful list.  It goes to the heart of being human and identifies our inclinations, desires, and wants.  Overcoming these weaknesses is difficult. We will fail.  But the struggle is a human one that goes back to the beginning of our time on Earth.  This list will never change.  It is as enduring as the world itself.

Our job is to get beyond these weaknesses and do what we can every day to make ourselves better and help others – chiefly for those who honestly want to overcome their weaknesses.


NOTE: I recommend reading about the seven deadly sins, also known as cardinal sins.  It also gives insight into what I’m discussing here today.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

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

14 thoughts on “Another 20 Common Weaknesses of Leaders

  1. Greg Heyman

    Another enjoyable article. I saw myself in this list and was embarrassed a bit. I guess that is the start of the life process to make myself a better leader and better person.

    1. Mike Baker

      Right! That is – I think – the purpose of what Gen. Satterfield tells us.

  2. Army Captain

    A great list. I’ve had to work on these a lot.

  3. Yusaf from Texas

    There are many that have asked, and some below, whether we should improve ourselves before we improve upon others (with their permission, of course)? This is one of those chicken and egg problems ….. not really. Both can be worked on AT THE SAME TIME. Naturally, there will be a push, now and again, to get our own act together before we work with others …. So what. Just keep up the drive and if you do those things listed here, like getting rid of narcissism, things will inevitably get better.

    1. Stacey Borden

      Well said Yusaf. I agree that there is no real chicken and the egg problem, just plain weaknesses that we must first recognize and then strive to fix, slowly but inexorably in the right direction.

  4. Linux Man

    Another excellent list of leader weaknesses…. but like others here, I will say there are many many more. Our short-term plan must always be to work on them, don’t take shortcuts, and don’t let them get you down. Keep working to get better and with that goal in mind, you will get better and overcome all obstacles.

    1. Kenny Foster

      .. but first you must know where you are going before you start walking on that path. Otherwise you will just be wondering in the wilderness of chaos and disorganization. Know where you go, even if it means initially following someone you trust is going the right way.

      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        I agree Kenny. Thank you! Even if you don’t know which path or direction, at least work on this list of weaknesses.

  5. Georgie B.

    Just like your previous list, I found this one to be right on target. All of us should pay really really close attention to what you’ve written here. Thank goodness someone is paying attention to our weaknesses. Now, what do we do about them?

    1. Karl J.

      Wow, you ask the most important question after the problems are identified. Then we find solutions. So, yes, how do we make improvements in our own selves and should we do so before working with others to improve themselves?

      1. Georgie B.

        Yes, and thanks. You beat me to this point. I’m with all of you on this website because I want to make myself better, to be a better leader, mother, wife, and patriot.

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