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The Qualities Of A Bad Leader

Unfortunately for there to be good leaders, there has to be bad leaders. Every workplace will have them at one time or another – unfortunately they may be hard to spot at first!

It is important that these bad leaders are identified quickly as their attitude can, and will, affect the organisation – whether it is regarding the customer or employees.

The characteristics that identify a bad leader include:

A closed mind

Leaders that fail to have an open mind will affect your business negatively as they prevent growth and change. It is important that they openly listen and consider others opinions and views as it ensures that a project or action is executed to the team’s best ability.

No communication

A leader who fails to communicate isn't really a leader at all. Communication is one of the most important tools of a leader, and a good leader will know this and execute it over a range of mediums. A good leader’s communication skills also include listening and fluid thinking.


A leader who makes everything about them will not gain the crucial trust, loyalty and confidence of those they work with. A good leader will live by the saying “service above self”; they will also take the blame for failures that occur. If a leader shows selfishness, they will not earn the trust of their employees; a trait that will identify them as a bad leader.


A bad leader will not show any real respect towards their co-workers and employees. By disrespecting your staff you create a barrier between yourself and your team – preventing trust that is critical to the success of a team in a working environment.

Lack of vision

A leader who lacks any vision for the future of an organisation lacks the qualities to lead as they have no idea what they are striving for.

Unable to lead themselves

When a leader lacks the qualities to even lead themselves, how can they lead a team of individuals?  

These are just a handful of examples of the characteristics a ‘bad leader’ may have, and they all go against best practice identified in basic leadership training.

To learn about what makes a ‘good leader’ click here to take a look at our previous blog post, “A Good Leader.”

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About the Author: William Lang

William Lang
Bill Lang has over 25 years professional experience working as an organisation strategy and development consultant and C-suite Executive Coach. Early in his career he worked with KPMG, McKinsey &Co., Bain & Company and AXA as an Executive. His clients operate in over 50 countries and on all continents. He is former member of the Melbourne University Commerce Faculty and holds a MBA(Harvard) and B.Comm/LLB (Hons). He is the author and creator of the Scores on the Board skill development and improvement system.

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