Jump to content

15 Traits of a Terrible Leader

Recommended Posts

1. Lack of Transparency
Staff can tell when you’re not being completely honest with them. There’s rarely a reason not to be entirely transparent with your team, especially at a young, growing company. Your team will appreciate understanding exactly where the company stands. This will help everyone come together as a team, focused on the problems that need solving for the long-term benefit of the company. Lack of transparency can result in a lack of trust.

Mitch GordonGo Overseas

2. Not Listening
Listening to all employees as often as possible is so important to building a loyal and faithful team. Everyone needs to be part of the process and bigger picture. Interacting and listening to your team is something that is too often forgotten by CEOs, with the hustle and bustle of job and travel schedules. It shouldn’t be.

Jason GrillJGrill Media | Sock 101

3. Dismissing Ideas Other Than Your Own
I didn’t realize how toxic this behavior was until it was pointed out to me. Your employees should never feel like they’re pitching you in a way that makes you (as the CEO) think you’re spinning the gold. Understanding a good idea, helping to develop it and providing strong praise and credit where due is incredibly important.

Jeff McGregorDash

4. Valuing Experience Over Potential
CEOs should be careful not to value experience over potential. Some of our best employees haven’t been the most experienced. What they do have is something that’s impossible to train or develop—it’s a fire in their bellies to deliver world-class products to our clients. You can’t teach that.  

Chris CancialosiGothamCulture

5. Ego
The best leaders are ones who accept blame when things go wrong and give credit to their team when things go right. In order to be a true visionary leader, you need to let go of your ego and focus on your people because without them you would be nowhere.

Nick FriedmanCollege Hunks Hauling Junk

6. Working 24/7
I asked a fellow entrepreneur about his weekend plans a few weeks ago. His answer: “I work all weekend.” I understand the ownership and passion that comes with running a business, but you have to set the example for your team, have other interests and learn how to take a break. Otherwise everyone will assume they have to work that much and burnout of the entire team is inevitable (and a toxic culture will follow).

Susan LaMotteExaqueo

7. Lack of Empathy
Leaders must understand the problems their team faces, and then begin doing anything to remove barriers to entry so their team can do the best job possible. In my experience, these barriers include a lack of resources, a lack of direction and a lack of culture.

Adam RootHiplogiq

8. Forgetting About Leadership Development
Educating and creating a growth plan for your employees is one of the things that should never be ignored but often slips through the cracks. Having a growth and education path not only increases employee retention but makes for a smarter and hungrier team. If you think about it in reverse, can you afford for your team not to learn or grow? Imagine if your marketing team was doing the same things they are now in four or five years.

Sujan Patel, When I Work

9. Being Overly Conservative
Modern leaders must be absolutely tenacious in getting the results they desire—from themselves, their organization, their team, even their customers. Get rid of overly conservative notions. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. If you don’t take that risk, you’ll never know what that opportunity would be. You’ll never have to say “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.” Use your guts, and in my experience and in the end, everything works out well.

Scott PetingaThe Scott Petinga Group

10. Permitting Negative Gossip
Spreading any sort of negative gossip about others sends a signal that it’s not safe to be around that person. Trust is immediately shattered, and people fear that what they are saying may be shared behind their backs. Leaders who either gossip or don’t take measures to eradicate it are harming more than just company morale. They are impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication throughout the organization. 

David Hassell15Five

11. Poor Communication of Strategy
CEOs tend to map out ideas in our heads but don’t share the process. Then, when the team starts making suggestions that you’ve already eliminated through thoughtful internal deliberation, they get angry. But no one knows you’ve already done that—so both sides get frustrated. My co-founder would tell me this all the time, so I started writing ideas and plans out to make sure my process and conclusion are easy to understand.

Benish ShahBefore the Label

12. Closed-Mindedness
It’s crucial as a CEO to be open-minded and listen to feedback and ideas from others. Being closed-minded and unwilling to change your perspective will cause issues with both your employees and the success of your business.

Josh WeissBluegala

13. Assigning Blame
Take responsibility for any of your team’s failures. At the end of the day, you ultimately hold all the responsibility anyway, so let your team know you understand that things didn’t work out the way they should have. Then propose solutions instead of assigning blame.

Lane CampbellSyntress SCDT

14. Inconsistency
I have often been blamed for sounding like a broken record but it is a record that my staff, clients and vendors know and can count on. Too often I see CEOs who are inconsistent and change their minds, which leads to confusion and mixed signals among everyone around them. Sticking to your guns and accepting the fate (even if it’s bad!) will lead to opportunities to continue learning while building trust in others.

Kim KaupeZinePak

15. Being Too Slow to Adapt
Successful startups grow rapidly. CEOs who fail to keep up risk being clueless, close-minded and arrogant. A lack of knowledge leads to indecision and fear and can cause employees to quickly lose trust in their leader.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything on that list is the status quo for the way things are done in America.


We, as a movement, talk a good game about listening and being transparent - even considering ideas other than our own, but in practice, that is not the way it is played in America.  If you fail to chant the mantra; if the wrong words come out of your mouth or off your keyboard it's a done deal.  You're a  ....... fill in the blank.  Nobody can hear you.


SOMETIMES someone comes along with a different perspective, a unique experience, a different outlook based upon education, training and past work.  IF what they have to say does not fit your preconceived opinions, do YOU ask questions?  


I spent FIFTEEN years on these discussion boards arguing with people who honestly believe they knew more about a topic than I did.  Little did they know that the some of the talking points they were using were those I pioneered early on.  In all that time, not even ONE "leader" asked me why the current strategies would not work.  


Maybe all this talk about leadership is pie in the sky unless you can point to anyone who embodies those qualities.  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Who Viewed the Topic

    10 members have viewed this topic:
    Max Skillet Adam Peisker Dylan Stamper Shammer The Resister Whiskey6 Chris-the-plumber GregWrench SPECTRE 6

Who we are

We are a community of concerned patriots who are not overly confident in the current direction of our society, from the wild political climate to what can be summed up as a lack of morals or a complete void of integrity and pretty much a blatant disregard of respect..... Respect for our past, respect for our future and respect for each other. In order to protect our constitution and life as we know it, we decided to not be the silent majority anymore and pull our selves up by the bootstraps and make the world a better place. This website is to unite people like us, people who want to make a difference ... and do it the right way, Little did we know that in doing so we would create the number one militia community online. Here we are. Enjoy.


We require all members to think before they post. We understand the issues raised on this site may lead to heated debate, but we still require all users to maintain a respectful environment. My Militia website bears no responsibility for the accuracy of anyone's comments and will bear no responsibility or legal liability for any discussion postings. We reserve the right to remove posts without notice, and the right to ban anyone who willfully violates the rules. All content is posted live with no moderation. If you see something that you think shouldn't be here please report it so we can handle it accordingly. Always respect the privacy of others if something is shared with you in a private fashion such as real names, emails or phone numbers. Please keep them private.

Important Information

Your Privacy Is Important To Us Learn More: Privacy Policy