[September 7, 2018] A few days ago I got a call from an old friend who was recently promoted to CEO of a mid-sized manufacturing company in Indiana. He wanted me to read a short article by author Mike Myatt entitled 12 Ways to Spot Ineffective Leadership. My post today about poor leadership is partly based on his excellent article.
“If you really want to determine someone’s leadership ability, give them some responsibility and see what they do with it. Leaders produce results. It’s not always pretty, especially in the case of inexperienced leaders, but good leaders will find a way to get the job done.” – Mike Myatt, CEO of N2Growth and Forbes columnist
This quote by Mike Myatt really encompasses what I’ve been writing and talking about for years. You can overanalyze leader performance (and we can spend a lot of fun doing it) but studying leadership comes down to whether a leader is successful, or not, in the long run.
Not everyone is ready for a leadership position and not everyone can handle the stress of doing the job day in and day out. The following is a short list of ways to spot poor leadership that does not involve special and theoretical models.
- Character: When a person lacks integrity, nothing else really matters. That individual will fail as a leader and it is irrelevant whether that leader is smart, likable, popular, persuasive, or savvy. Anyone who justifies illegal, immoral, or unethical behavior is not a leader (or a good person).
- Accountability: Leaders are accountable. They never blame others for failure and they never take credit for a great job. They give credit to their team members at each opportunity.
- Caring: Good leaders take care of their team members. Poor leaders care more about their career and personal comforts. Poor leaders don’t provide the right resources at the right time to accomplish any organizational goal.
- Vision: Poor leaders lack the vision and the ability to look forward. They often exist in an intellectual bubble that shields them from the realities of the world. This means they cannot create a realistic vision because they don’t know what is happening around them.
- Communication: Poor leaders lack the basic skills of effective listening and communication. They base their decisions on their personal feelings and do not know when to engage or simplify their messages.
- Selflessness: And finally, poor leaders don’t understand the concept of ‘service above self.’ Their pride, ego, arrogance, entitlement, or ‘I’m better than you’ attitude is a sign that they cannot put the good of the others above their own needs and wants.
The lesson for poor leaders is to fix their own problems before engaging others. Whether it takes quality and sustained mentorship or not, taking action to overcome these ways of poor leadership is imperative. Failure to do so will mean that leader will not succeed in the long haul.