Bad leaders exist in many organizations. They affect the bottom-line and they influence the culture and climate in ways that challenge every person in the company. Sometimes they are harder to spot initially, but with a little time and a sharp focus they do not hide for long. Dale Carnegie’s principal mantra and most powerful publication, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is the opposite of what usually happens with this type of leadership. Here are some signals:
- They do not tell the truth: Yes, they will fib. In virtually every aspect of corporate values and mission; they will, at the most, tell the organization what it wants to here. And at best, they will often manipulate information to their advantage.
- They lead with only profit in mind: They do like making money. It is what they like to do the most. But the employees and their needs and wants probably are down the list of priorities.
- They like being average and safe: The status quo is key to their longevity, and risk is not often an option. Change, unless it is driven by numbers, is usually not part of any goals and objectives.
- They care only about number one: The top priority is their success. It can often come at the expense of others; this focus is a central part of their planning.
- They minimize contact: Other than a few close compatriots who share similar beliefs and values, they try to minimize contact with larger populations, even at meetings and events.
- They trust very few people: For this type of leader, trust can get complicated. It involves sharing and truth telling, two very unfamiliar strategies.
Fortunately, the organizational life span of these leaders is usually is usually short and often ends on a sour note for everyone involved. The bad leader will often get hired somewhere else and have a new platform for opportunity.