July 19, 2021

Not all leaders are equal, and just because someone is placed in a leadership role, does not automatically mean he or she is qualified. Sometimes it also takes time for a person to assimilate into the position. While some are born to lead, most of the time, leadership skills are acquired. It’s something that you need to work at, in order to get better. Worried that you are a bad leader? Here are six indicators to help you understand your shortcoming, so you can become more competent.

No Vision or Goals

A leader that lacks foresight or has no concrete plan to achieve new milestones can’t get the best of their team. And we all know that teamwork makes the dream work. In business, an effective leader is also decisive when it comes to making decisions or implementing change. They are never afraid of making tough calls for the sake of the company’s growth, even if it makes them come across as the “bad/unpopular guy.” In reality, leaders who are more concerned about being well-liked are never respected.

Fail to Deliver Results

Employees are more inclined to look up to a leader that lets his actions speak louder than his words.  Although slip-ups may happen from time to time, the key is to be consistent, and a good track record shows your competency. Never bite off more than you can chew—that is the fastest way to lose credibility. If you want an engaged and results-driven team, then you have to set the tone; never ask others to do what you can’t do.

Lack of Empathy

Conceitedness, egocentric and poor EQ are traits of a terrible leader. When a leader is able to put himself in the shoes of others, to understand their feelings and perspectives, this makes them more likeable. Employees are appreciative of someone who cares about their well-being and doesn’t merely see them as a cog in the machine. In this day and age where mental health is becoming a greater concern for companies, good leaders should take the time to check-in with their staff to see how they are faring. Showing care and concern also helps you connect with your team in a way that earns their trust and commitment.

Poor Communication Skills

Great leaders communicate well, be it in good or bad times. They are active listeners and agile thinkers, knowing when to adjust themselves depending on the situation. Effective communication means starting a two-way dialogue that allows input as well as output. While Ronald Reagan was called “The Great Communicator,” Donald Trump was the exact opposite. Case in point, how for so many years, he promised  “phenomenal healthcare” to replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. And when he unveiled his ‘American First Health Care Plan,’ it was scant and lacked any specifics. Worse still is how he gaslighted America from candidacy to presidency.

Lack of Humility

Terrible leaders assume that they are the only ones who can run the show. Since they think it’s their way or the highway, this kind of top-down management impedes creativity and ownership. CEO of FedEx, Fred Smith, believes that when people are placed first, “they will provide the highest possible service, and profits will follow.” Always make sure that you never toot your horn too loudly—leadership is about serving others, not yourself. Some of the top companies in the world like Marriott International, Starbucks and Nordstrom practise servant leadership where they prioritise empowering and uplifting those who work for them. The end result is higher engagement, as well as increased retention and productivity rates.

Never Held Accountable

Something goes wrong and the first person who gets blamed is the person who doesn’t have any power. A good leader never lets anyone be a scapegoat, especially in times of crisis. And this lack of accountability is increasingly apparent as Vince Molinaro, author of The Leadership Contract observed that “the desperate need for accountable leaders is the fundamental challenge organisations are facing today.” Before you play the blame game, examine yourself. Were you clear in your instructions? Did you brief the team properly and guide them on how to execute your vision? You cannot be accountable without knowing your role and responsibilities.