Leader Traits that Destroy Trust

[May 15, 2023]  Being a leader means remembering that you are there for a reason, and the reason is not about having everything your way.  Several of my readers asked that I compile a list of traits that destroy trust.  Below is a list of some of these traits, each commonly encountered in poor leaders.

  1. Controlling: 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 due to personal limitations or fear of rivals.
  5. Giving excuses: when things go wrong or not going according to plan.
  6. Overcommitting and under-delivering
  7. The desire to be popular: no matter what, being liked and popular is the main desire.
  8. Disparaging others: boasting about how great you are.
  9. Taking credit: a true leader acknowledges all involved.
  10. Breaking promises: once made, a true leader will do whatever it takes to do as promised.
  11. Disrespecting others: practices incivility, rudeness, and insolence.
  12. Wasting time: especially wasting the time of others
  13. Pursuing personal vendettas: keeps score and gets back at others.
  14. Using 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 gain an advantage.
  18. Never getting their hands dirty: there is more interest in having others do the work.
  19. Panicking: when things go wrong, poor leaders panic.
  20. Rejecting the idea of selfless service
  21. It’s always about quid pro quo: they owe me if I do something for them.
  22. Failing 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 traits that destroy trust are incomplete, but I believe the list is comprehensive.  I would venture to bet that we all have experienced most, if not all, of these traits in leaders.  At some point in our lives, we will always find a leader who fails to fulfill their responsibilities.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

16 thoughts on “Leader Traits that Destroy Trust

  1. Jeff Blackwater

    Pay close attention to this list, folks. I would, in particular, direct all those who believe that this world is powered by white privilege (whatever that is) to read this and understand it. But you will not.

    1. Obama Cash

      Naturally, the are too busy being triggered and protesting.

  2. Liz at Home

    Cutting these out and posting them on my refrig so my teenage kids can read them. Maybe some of them will sink in.

    1. Armywife

      Great idea Liz. If it is one place teenagers visit the most it is the frig!

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.” … by Thomas Jefferson … great statesman

  3. Nick Lighthouse

    TRUST, the glue that holds the world together.

  4. Emma Archambeau

    I hope all the mothers had a great day yesterday celebrating Mothers’ Day.

      1. Doug Smith

        If you failed to recognize your mother or wife, then you are in bigger trouble than you might think. And, yes, I know that Mothers’ Day is over commericalized and everyone is trying to get you to buy flowers and chocolates. Okay with me, I know what I’m doing and I can afford to spoil them – yesterday – but also every day. Mothers are what keeps us human.

      2. Mother Picasso

        Same here, Fred. Yep. Keep your wifes and mothers happy.

  5. Pooch T.

    “Wasting Time,” now that is one my boss is always doing with both his own work and us. He makes us do things that have no value at work (we are advertisers -yes, we are studying the Bud Lite controversy) and has no community value either. Very frustrating. I’m looking for another job, and anything but advertising because we are also about to have microscopes looking at what we do.

    1. Harry Donner

      Of course, that is why so many are drawn to this excellent website. Keep up the great works, Gen. Satterfield. Oh,and for newcomers here, be sure to get your very own copy of Gen. S’s books – see links at the end of the post. 😊

  6. Edward G.

    Nice List of poor leader traits, thx Gen. Satterfield. You could add more like not lying, stealing, or unnecessary violence.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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