How to Change These Bad Leadership Habits

by / ⠀Career Advice / December 23, 2021
bad leadership habits to avoid frustrated woman

Nobody is born a leader, and no one is guaranteed to be a good leader.  Many top leaders have no formal training or prior leadership experience. This lack of training and experience may lead to unintentional unfavorable habits that demotivate teams. Leaders who can identify their bad leadership habits before it’s too late may work on altering them and become excellent leaders.

Bad Leadership Habits to Watch For in Yourself

1. Over-commit

Over-committing the company, team, or yourself is a common bad leadership habit. This might be due to a lack of concentration or prioritizing. Too much “yes” dilutes an organization’s and an individual’s efforts. This can lead to overload, disengagement, conflict, misalignment, and stagnation. Instead, leaders should focus on a few key issues in order to better direct their time, resources, and team.

2. Ignoring Bigger Goals

Effective leaders must be able to articulate an organization’s vision and strategy clearly. Leaders who lose sight of the bigger picture when focusing on short-term goals and performance often see poor employee engagement. As a result, the company suffers under this bad leadership habit.

3. Discarding Unlikely Alerts

Senior leaders’ vast knowledge helps them understand developments subconsciously. This helps them make quick judgments, but it also dismisses unlikely early signals. Among the lost data were years-ahead warnings of the credit crisis and pandemic. Monitoring unusual warnings helps leaders avoid strategic blunders.

4. Lacking Accountability

A lack of accountability is a common bad leadership habit among executives. Leaders must admit their mistakes instead of trying to save their reputation and face.

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Leaders must set the example. How? When anything goes wrong, they own up to it instead of blaming others (usually subordinates), establishing trust and respect.

5. Unaware of Oneself

Leaders may often lack self-awareness of their blind spots. (Reading great literature can help with this.) As a consequence, their staff doesn’t feel included or like they belong. This creates an unsafe, unpleasant workplace. This can change if leaders realize that counseling on emotional intelligence, overcoming prejudice, and inclusive leadership is required.

6. Ignoring the team’s diverse talent

Part of contemporary leadership is allowing employees to bring their complete selves to work. If leaders don’t want to learn about their varied skills, team members may feel unwelcome and leave for other career opportunities. Leaders should seek to understand their employees’ values, motivations, and goals.

7. Over-Or-Under-crediting

The worst leadership habit is giving too much or too little credit (or blame) to one individual. For example, someone gets blamed for missing a sales quota, yet the region is challenging. Human systems have both controllable and uncontrolled elements. Make sure to credit employees with what is actually in their control.

8. Loss Of Customer Sight

Losing sight of the client is a bad leadership habit. Most executives can spot market trends but need to focus on the consumer. Customers may not know what they want from your brand. Their perspectives should guide your plan. Every leader should prioritize customer input in order to make their company better.

9. Inconsistent behavior

Inconsistency is a leadership sin. Insincerity and in-authenticity create a deep fissure that can engender dread, uncertainty, and doubt. The staff looks to leaders to uphold a set of common values and demonstrate appropriate behavior. Being conscious of one’s flaws and an eagerness to improve yourself is crucial.

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10. Believing they are right

The worst bosses I’ve had were those that think they know best. Employers work hard to hire the greatest personnel. Leaders who don’t employ this problem-solving and idea-generating talent are missing out. High achievers desire to help. They want in. While it may take longer, incorporating the team yields the finest ideas!

11. No Empathy

Empathy deficiency is a typical flaw. Every cooperation is a win-win. You can win through fear, intimidation, or force, but there is no connection unless you can come to the relationship line to seek understanding. This means you walk alone, which means you aren’t leading.

12. Yelling, tardiness, and gum

Bad leadership habits include screaming or raising your voice at others, being late for meetings, and chewing gum. Each one is uninteresting and unprofessional. As a leader, you must set an example and be worthy of imitation. Stop doing them if you are doing them.

13. Separating From Direct Reports

The greatest leadership error I’ve seen senior executives make is to appear distant from their immediate reports. Employee engagement and workplace connections are critical to retaining bright people. Building connections with direct subordinates and sharing interests, hobbies, and activities help modify this leadership tendency.

14. Reassessing and recalibrating employee needs

A typical blunder is not recalibrating their strategy. The days of “doing what works” without regularly reassessing employee requirements and making necessary improvements are over. Change accelerates in a year and a half. Top leaders and executives must stay connected to their constituents.

15. Arrogance

Pride is a hazardous habit for everyone. Pride of leadership carries power. Leadership bears a lot of weight. It’s the influence a leader’s actions, words, and decisions have on others. Prideful leaders feel they are right and that their path is the only way. Humility and real concern for others and their efforts can help transform it.

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16. Ignoring Others’ Points of View

One of the worst behaviors a leader may have is not listening to others’ thoughts and suggestions. It reflects a leader’s perspective. It denotes a lack of openness or arrogance, making individuals feel unloved and devalued. For leaders to acquire active listening skills, awareness is required.

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.