8 Fatal Flaws of Truly Terrible Leaders

And how effective leaders are different

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1. They don’t listen to experts

Someone who thinks they know everything will never learn anything. Terrible leaders assume they already have all the answers. They pretend to invite discussion and debate. But it’s just a puppet show to them. Afterward, they do what they want anyway.

2. They take the wrong things seriously

You can always spot a truly terrible leader by observing them during a meeting. They slide their own pet projects to the top of any agenda. They fast-track their own goals. They spend tons of money on things they personally want to see happen. Screw everything else. They fixate on their customized trivia, instead of the bigger picture.

3. They surround themselves with sycophants

Terrible leaders can’t stand criticism. So they hire and promote anyone who’s willing to grind up their dignity and turn it into confetti. The worst leaders want people around who praise them for doing the bare minimum, and usually even less than that.

4. They say, “Nobody saw this coming”

There’s always someone who saw a terrible leader’s crisis from a mile away. The terrible leader just didn’t listen. They were too busy having their butt shined by ladder climbers.

5. They surprise people with their competence

You might find yourself looking at a terrible leader one day, and going “Oh, they actually did something smart.” They might actually say the right thing for once. It can make you feel deceptively optimistic.

6. They never really apologize

For terrible leaders, a genuine apology would mean acknowledging faults and mistakes. It would force them to see they need to change something about themselves, or their worldview.

7. They think they do an excellent job

Terrible leaders might have the slightest sense of their incompetence, but they drown it in the narrative of their own greatness. Whatever they’re bad at, they lie to themselves about — instead of trying to improve.

8. They joke about the wrong things

Effective leaders know when to use strategic humor to diffuse a tense situation. They see humor on a wide spectrum.

You deserve better than a terrible leader

There are good leaders out there. They’re everywhere. We just need to get better as individuals — and as a culture — at identifying them. Effective leaders are the ones you want in charge during a crisis. They’re the ones who make you feel safe at night.

Written by

She’s the funny one. jessica.wildfire.writer@gmail.com

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