4 Signs You’re a Weak Leader
#1 – You freak out. A lot. I’ve beaten this one to death lately, most recently here and here. Good leaders are calm and confident. They can handle the stress. And when leaders freak out, the people below them freak out, and what better way to run a company into the ground than to have everyone freaking out all the time. I imagine this is what is happening at Blackberry right now, sadly. That’s the only explanation I have for this happening.
#2 – You make people cry. I was once told by another leader I knew that he had made everyone that worked under him cry at one point or another, that its just part of the job. While I don’t think this is typical, I do see a lot of leaders that lead by fear and that’s the real point here. In some rare cases (er, Steve Jobs), it can work, but mostly it just hurts people because you lack the ability to really lead.
#3 – No one gives you real feedback. This is a tough one, but if you’re not getting real feedback from people – particularly people disagreeing and debating with you – then you haven’t set up an open atmosphere and likely people are afraid to disagree with you. The bigger the company, the harder it is for a leader to get real feedback and really understand what is happening within their organization. It’s a constant struggle for me, personally.
#4 – You know too many details. This one might be a little self-serving, as my memory is remarkably terrible. But I was able to speak with a very accomplished leader last week that talked about how its not the leader’s job to know all the details. And when they do, they aren’t able to do their job. Leaders who know every bit of data scare me because they’re likely spending way too much time looking at spreadsheets and studying reports than they do actually leading the company.
#5 – You don’t delegate enough. It’s the one leadership quality that will make or break you, after all ;)
#6 – You lie a lot.
#7 – You are afraid to lose your job. I was able to spend some time recently with the CEO of a very large company, and he said you have to be able to walk away from your job to be a truly effective leader. It’s the only way you’ll be willing to take the risks necessary to be effective.
#8 – You don’t trust people. Goes back to delegating, but leaders that don’t trust and give people a shot can never be effective.
#9 – You don’t understand the power and importance of diversity. Too many leaders today smell like this guy, and that’s not a good thing.