Characteristics of Bad Leaders

By | September 13, 2022

[September 13, 2022]  Many books, articles, news stories, and such have been written about bad bosses, and all of us have spoken to one another about the poor leadership we’ve experienced.  And I’ve written about the topic before (see links here, here, and here).  Often, leaders present a typical picture of those traits of bad leadership.

Here is my take on what you might find in a bad leader:

  • Lack of Respect (for those junior while doing the opposite for senior leaders)
  • Rude and Selfish Behavior (which often comes with a feeling of superiority and privilege)
  • Negativity (in many forms but especially when it comes to work interactions with junior employees)
  • Unethical Conduct (there is nothing worse than someone who willingly gives up trust and confidence to personal whims)
  • Laziness (physical and intellectual laziness means employees can expect little from that leader)
  • Quick to Hog the Credit (instead of sharing it, the bad boss believes only he is responsible)
  • Fails to Provide Rewards or Recognition (to those who deserve it)
  • Rarely Available (for leaders, it’s about always being there for everyone, in particular for junior personnel)
  • Rejects All Feedback (feedback should be seen as a gift; otherwise, you will not receive it)
  • Fails to Delegate (it has been said that a leader cannot delegate responsibility, yet authority must be freely given)
  • Uses Discipline Inappropriately (often, simple positive communication is all that is required)
  • Causes Dissention (among and between groups)
  • Establishes an Environment of In and Out-Groups (inappropriately rejects some employees over others)
  • Impatient (desires immediate results)

While reading this list, you might have predicted that those bad leaders would quickly learn from their behavior after receiving feedback from their senior bosses.  This is, however, rarely the case.  The leaders often reject the feedback or use it against other employees.  The bad leader is also very good at hiding from responsibility; this is a common trait too often found.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

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.

16 thoughts on “Characteristics of Bad Leaders

  1. Mikka Solarno

    Keep up the wonderful work you are doing here with your blog, Gen. Satterfield. Loving every day I get to read it.

  2. Max Foster

    Causes Dissention (among and between groups)
    This one is my favorite, reminds me of the White House and the ilk that live there. Always working to divide and confuse our citizens. Always on the lookout for someone they oppose politically so they can denigrate them and call them a threat to democracy. Just read this article, “Kamala Harris’ bald-faced lies about the ‘secure’ border”

  3. Tracey Brockman

    I hope every one here attended their local 9/11 ceremonies. I sure did and got to meet some fantastic folks who are patriots like us. The liberals stayed home in their tiny houses and smoked a weed.

  4. Maureen S. Sullivan

    I hear that there is a college graduate snowflake that is insulted you wrote this article, Gen. Satterfield because they think it’s all about them. Narcissism comes to mind. Yet, they will roll over and play the victim every time. Great website, btw, and I bought your book too, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” Just wanted to hawk you book a little since I enjoyed it greatly.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Oh, Maureen, u should get a commission from Gen. S. Ha Ha Ha Ha……….

  5. Kenny Foster

    Great list, Gen. Satterfield. Bad leaders are everywhere. You can be one but just work to get better. That is all we ask. Ordinary folks will help you. Just be humble enough to accept our help.

    1. American Girl

      You guys are just too much. I know a lot of snowflakes living in their momma’s basement that would make a great president of the United States (or elsewhere). Oh, that already happened. My bad.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.