Characteristics of a Bad Leader, Amelia Barnes, Leadership Coach, Indianapolis, INWhat drives you crazy about someone in charge?  We may be required to do what our boss says, but that does not make him or her a leader. A leader is someone who leads not necessarily because of their position or status but because others want to follow them or follow their example.

I do not want to be shamed, cajoled, sweet-talked, controlled, micromanaged or otherwise forced into doing something. Based on conversations with thousands of people I haven’t met anyone else who responds well to these tactics either, whether in their home life or professional life. It is estimated that 57% of women are targeted for bullying according to Mentoring Women’s Network in the workplace. Over the years I have certainly worked with a number of women who have been the target of being bullied by their peers and especially their bosses.

Not Walking The Talk

I have trouble believing someone whose words and actions don’t match. When in doubt trust the actions and not the words. When we expect others to do something that we are unwilling to do ourselves, we lack credibility. As parents, our children will do what we do not what we tell them. Our employees and acquaintances will not believe or trust us. They may do what is requested out of fear or necessity but they won’t trust us or respect us.

Not Controlling Anger

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the feeling of anger. Anger comes and goes. Anger ranges from mild irritation to frustration to full out rage. I feel angry – rather mildly irritated when the check out line is too long and I’m in a hurry until I realize my anger is useless and I pick up a magazine and enjoy perusing it for a few moments instead. Anger is just a feeling; it’s what we choose to do with it that causes problems. No one deserves to be the other end of someone’s angry and shaming behavior whether at the office or at home. Effective leaders have learned to deal with anger in appropriate ways that does not require spewing their anger on others or reacting in a way that is verbally or physically abusive.


Blame and criticism are NEVER helpful. Trying to control others’ behaviors by blaming them or by telling them why they could never be successful are counterproductive and destroy self-esteem and self-confidence. Always pointing out what is wrong, blaming others for a lack of success just causes problems. Again why would someone blame us if we constantly blame or criticize? Leaders take 100% responsibility for their actions. They do not blame others for their failures or lack of success.

Do We Demonstrate Characteristics of a Bad Leader?

It’s easy to point the finger to look at others and declare them unfit to be a leader. Instead take a look at yourself over the next week or so. Would you respect and trust yourself as a leader? If so, terrific; if not there is always time to change your behavior. Either way there are always opportunities to become better leaders in all areas of our lives.

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