Ten sure-fire ways to become a weak leader:
- Weak leaders are blind to the current situation. They solve the wrong problems in the wrong way.Good leaders understand what is happening. They size up the situation, put themselves in the right position to respond, prepare, and then act at the proper time.
- Weak leaders discourage others. They find fault and blame. They criticize when things don’t go right.Good leaders encourage. They give credit when things go well and take responsibility when they don’t go well.
Alabama football coach “Bear” Bryant was once asked how he inspired his players. He responded, “Well, I’m just an old plow hand from Arkansas, but I’ve learned a few things about getting people to do what you want them to do. When things go wrong, I did it. When things go semi-good, we did it. And when things go good, you did it. That’s all it takes to hold a team together and win football games.”
- Weak leaders know it all. They already have the answers.Good leaders keep learning. A cross-discipline study of leadership indicated that effective leaders in all fields are always learning. They constantly improve their skills. The best leaders are perpetual learners. Unlike weak leaders, they know that a spurt here and a spurt there does not make one an expert!
- Weak leaders never rock the boat. They won’t make courageous decisions for fear of failing. They prefer to keep things as they are, even if the system is not working all that well. Weak leaders will almost always follow the well-worn path.Good leaders, however, will often go where there is no path and leave a trail. They are sure of their direction and they act boldly.
- Weak leaders keep others in their place. They remind them who is boss.Good leaders know that authority is more earned than granted.
A young Army officer found that he did not have the correct change for a soft drink vending machine. Noticing a subordinate nearby, he said, “Private, do you have change for a dollar?”
Cheerfully, the man said, “I think so – let me look.”
“That is no way to address your superior, soldier!” scolded the officer. “Now, let’s try it again. Private, do you have change for a dollar?”
The soldier snapped to attention, saluted and said, “NO, SIR!”
- Weak leaders do all of the work themselves. They delegate poorly. They micro-manage and control.Good leaders identify the gifts, strengths and limitations of those they lead. They assign, train, encourage and then get out of the way.
- Weak leaders sabotage the successes of others. When those below them succeed, they feel threatened.Good leaders, on the other hand, help their subordinates find success. They give a hand up. They realize that when one is lifted to another’s shoulders, both stand taller.
- Weak leaders ask others do what they are not willing to do themselves, and try to get others to go places they have not been.Good leaders always lead by example.
- Weak leaders motivate by force. They cajole, intimidate, threaten and issue ultimatums.Good leaders know that motivation by force destroys morale. They understand that people respond best to positive incentive. They know that people who believe in themselves will do more work and better work.
- Finally, weak leaders do not listen to those they lead. Their minds are already made up and they charge recklessly ahead.Good leaders listen and learn. U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk once said, “One of the best ways to persuade others is with you ears — by listening to them.” Good salespeople know this. Good motivators know this. Good leaders know this.
There you have it: ten characteristics of weak leaders. Avoid all ten of these leadership blunders and you can become a GREAT leader.