The previous post discussed some of the key attributes that every leader should possess in order to be successful. These are foundational attributes that are necessary for success as a leader. In this post, we’re going to look at 10 specific sins of leadership and how they can derail a leader’s career and undermine his or her ability to lead others effectively. If you are able to recognize these sins and avoid them, you will be able to build a stronger team, an organization that is more cohesive, and a culture in which people work together toward common goals.
Pride is the state of being proud or arrogant, especially about one’s achievements or abilities. Pride can lead to a lack of empathy and compassion for other people because I am focused on myself and my own accomplishments. It can cause me to be self-absorbed and not care about others because I am so focused on myself.
Arrogance is the act or state of behaving in an arrogant manner; having or showing feelings of superiority over others without good reason. As leaders, we must avoid arrogance at all costs because it destroys our credibility with others and it prevents us from truly connecting with them. We must be willing to admit mistakes and failures as well as ask for help when we need it.
- Inappropriate Humor
Inappropriate humor is the use of jokes or sarcasm in a way that hurts other people’s feelings and causes them to feel bad about themselves. It is inappropriate because it is hurtful, not funny, and doesn’t build relationships with others. It also creates an atmosphere of negativity and discourages cooperation among team members.
Sarcasm is the use of irony or sarcasm in order to mock or convey contempt for someone or something, usually in a subtle, indirect way. As leaders, we must be careful about how we use sarcasm because it can easily be misunderstood by others who don’t know us well enough to understand our sense of humor. If I am sarcastic with someone who doesn’t know me very well, they might take it as a personal attack rather than my attempt at humor.
Manipulation is the act of controlling or playing upon someone’s emotions, often in a deceptive way, in order to get them to do what you want. It is an attempt to control others through the use of deception and trickery. As leaders, we should avoid manipulation because it can be harmful to our relationships with others and it creates an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion that can destroy any chance of cooperation and teamwork among team members.
Condescension is the act or an instance of condescending, the behavior of people who treat others with arrogance and disrespect; a patronizing attitude or manner. As leaders we must avoid condescension because it prevents us from building relationships with others and it causes people to not trust us. It creates an atmosphere in which people are unwilling to follow our lead because they do not feel respected by us.
- Unwillingness to Change
Unwillingness to change is the unwillingness or refusal to accept new ideas, new information, or new experiences. As leaders, we must be open to change and willing to adapt our leadership style if necessary based on what is happening around us and based on feedback that we receive from our team members and other stakeholders. If I am unwilling to change my approach when things are not working well, then I am going to be ineffective as a leader. People will not follow me and they will not trust me.
- Failure to Listen
Failure to listen is the act of not listening attentively or carefully; failure to pay attention. As leaders, we must be willing to listen to others and we must also be willing to ask for feedback from them so that we can ensure that we are doing what is necessary in order to lead effectively. If I am not listening, then I will not know how I am perceived by others and I will not know if my actions are having the desired effect on my team members.
- Inability to Delegate
Inability to delegate is the inability or unwillingness of a person in authority or control over others, especially subordinates, to entrust them with tasks or duties; unwillingness or refusal to share power with others. As leaders, we must be willing to delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to others on our team. We must be willing to share power with them and allow them the opportunity to grow and develop into better leaders themselves.
- Inability to Say No
Inability to say no is the state of being unable or unwilling to refuse requests or demands made by other people. As leaders, we must be able to say no when it is appropriate for us to do so. We must also be able to set boundaries with others and make decisions that are in the best interest of our organization and our team members. If I am unable or unwilling to say no, then I will end up doing things that are not necessary or that are not in line with my goals and objectives.
Although it is not possible for us to avoid all of these sins as leaders, it is important that we be aware of them and do everything that we can in order to avoid them. By doing so, we will be able to build a stronger team, an organization that is more cohesive, and a culture in which people work together toward common goals.
What are some other sins of leadership that you have observed? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.