The common flaws of bad leaders

The most common flaws of bad leaders are exposed in an article by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in the Harvard Business Review. They examined 360 degree feedback reports on over 11,000 leaders and analysed the reasons given for poor performance. These were their findings:

The worst leaders:

1. Lack energy and enthusiasm
2. Accept their own mediocre performance
3. Lack clear vision and direction
4. Have poor judgement
5. Don’t collaborate
6. Don’t follow the standards they set for others
7. Resist new ideas
8. Don’t learn from mistakes
9. Lack interpersonal skills
10. Fail to develop others

As the authors conclude, these sound like obvious flaws that any leader would try to fix. But the ineffective leaders were often unaware that they exhibited these behaviours. In fact, those who were rated most negatively rated themselves substantially more positively! It looks like leaders need to take a very hard look at themselves and ask others for honest feedback on their performance in these specific areas.

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