It’s easy to spot bad leadership qualities in other executives and business owners, but the traits that make organizations stall and even close can be insidious. You’ll want to stay alert for the following qualities of a bad leader and make sure they cannot take root at your company.


1. Ego

We’re used to seeing company presidents and owners depicted as narcissistic and even unpleasant on TV and film, but that’s not the norm in reality. Refusing to listen to others’ ideas, playing down or ignoring other people’s contributions and otherwise being too intent on gain for oneself is a great way to push your team away and discourage involvement.

2. Workaholism

Yes, you should have a passion for your business and a willingness to work hard, but working 24/7 is a sure-fire way to burn yourself out and even endanger your health. Not taking time for personal passion projects and your personal life can mean you wreck relationships and stifle your creativity too, and you need both to succeed at business. Taking a little time off and balancing life will set you up to thrive, and the time off could help you land your next big idea.

3. Rigidity

All companies have rules, and there are even guidelines for success, but sticking too closely to the rule book can hurt you. When you stay inflexible, it can be hard to change with the times, which is a danger in today’s dynamic world. Staying too much in the box can also stifle creativity and smart breakthroughs. It’s good to take calculated risks from time to time.

4. Bad Communication Styles

Anything from lack of empathy to lack of transparency to overly formal language can be harmful. When you don’t share what your team needs to know, or when you assign blame or shout instead of communicating in a measured and neutral way, you push others away and make it harder for those around you to share the feedback you need to grow your company.

5. Extreme Self-Reliance

We may love the idea of the self-made business success in our culture, but it’s almost never true. In reality, it’s not meant to be “lonely at the top.” Successful leaders use mentors, networking, coaching and teams of support to ensure they learn and get the advice they need. Since no one is an expert on every part of a business, it’s bad practice to just rely on your own ideas.

Overcoming Poor Leadership Qualities

There’s no executive without a few leadership weaknesses. But here’s the secret: The very traits that you think are harmful can be worked on, and in some cases, your shadow side may end up being a strength. A leader who burns the candle at both ends, for example, may be able to feel more sympathy with managers or team members or even customers who struggle to find a healthy balance. This point of connection can be an important catalyst for closer relationships.

If you want to work on your leadership qualities now, before they start to hurt the bottom line, Coachfirm executive coaching services can offer you support so that you can grow into your full potential as a leader. Contact Coachfirm today to learn more.