Someone asked me a great question recently. It came from a young pastor. He appears to be doing a great job leading, but he wants to do better. I admire that. I hope he (and I) continue that attitude throughout his career (and mine).
His question was this: Knowing what you know now about leadership, what would you say are the biggest traps to avoid? What are the worst leadership traits that you’ve seen limit a leader’s potential to lead well?
That’s a hard question because, depending on the circumstances, I think there could be many different answers. I wrote the “most dangerous” traits previously, but this question seemed different to me. It wasn’t addressing the dangerous traits as much as the ones that were just bad.
You can have these and perhaps still see some success as a leader, but they are still bad leadership traits … the worst. And they keep one from leading well. Eventually, they may derail a leader if not addressed.
There are many I’ve observed. I’ve seen laziness, for example, cripple a leader. But with the right team around him or her, even a lazy leader can experience success. I thought of incompetence, but I have seen some dumb leaders (like me at times) smart enough to surround themselves with wise people. But what about the worst?
So, I’ve narrowed my list to the following five of the worst traits I’ve observed personally:
1. Poor Character
Nothing can overcome a flawed character. Dishonesty in a leader, for example, will always overshadow even the most worthy vision. You can’t hide a corrupt heart. Immorality always shines brighter than competence or ability. And it can be argued whether or not it should be called success, but I’ve seen some bad characters leading what appear to be very successful organizations.