We are all aware of the many redeeming qualities of top-notch leaders: confidence, accountability, vision, and so on. However, what we do not discuss enough are the qualities that identify a poor leader. Not all leaders exhibit these poor qualities intentionally. For some, their heart and mind may be in the right place, but their intentions backfire. For example, a leader might think they are doing good by giving his employees freedom in their work but ends up not providing enough guidance. Or, on the flip side, they may think they are helpful with a task, but end up displaying a pattern of micromanagement. So, let’s take a look at some of the bad qualities of leaders.


Too Much Optimism

There is a time and place for everything, and that includes optimism. If a leader thinks that his company is doomed to fail, the business will not succeed. On the flip side, if they display too much optimism without recognizing the reality around them, that can also be just detrimental to the company as they try to spearhead overly ambitious projects. According to Liz Wiseman, CEO of the Wiseman Group, leaders that are overly optimistic can actually be “accidental diminishers” meaning while they do not intend to, they might diminish the hard work of their employees. By insisting on lofty goals without acknowledging the work required to achieve it, the employees might feel like their efforts are not valued and feel paralyzed by these unrealistic expectations.



Now, most leaders do not intend to show this, but those who feel the need always to be involved and fail to delegate enough while checking in with employees can prove to be the worst types of leaders. A career site called Comparably conducted a survey of over 2,000 employees, and they found that most of the people who responded picked “micromanager” as the top offense of a boss, followed by “overly critical” and “disorganized.” This kind of behavior can lead to employees feeling less motivated, less creative, resentful, and more likely to quit. Now, you do not want to give employees too much autonomy over their work, but just enough that they feel like they have creative freedom and the comfort of knowing they can turn to you if necessary.



As we all know a one-size-fits-all leadership style does not work. You have to be able to adapt to your individual employees’ personalities and situations. Failure to do so can cause workers to feel less motivated as shown in a study by a UK based management consultancy called Hay Group. Take the time to learn about your employees and what their needs are so that you can adjust your leadership style and provide the best guidance and lead them in the right direction. Leaders also need to be able to adapt their company for success. It is very harmful to live in the mindset of “this is the way we’ve always done things” because it is not forward-thinking and can cause you be left behind in our evolving society.