5 Common Traits of Ineffective Leaders

by Mike Rao on August 29, 2011

Throughout my career in both corporate America and as a business coach, I’ve had the opportunity to work with – and for – a number of outstanding leaders. In all cases, these individuals were committed to the long-term success and prosperity of their team members.

Without fail, an unwavering commitment to the success of others is a hallmark of those who excel as leaders.

On the flip side, I’ve encountered many ineffective leaders, as well. In most cases, these ineffective leaders weren’t “bad people.” They simply lacked the skills or training needed to develop strong leadership skills.

Not surprisingly, most of these individuals had a number of characteristics in common. Here are 5 common traits of ineffective leaders:

  • Do not recognize the achievements of others, both in public and in private. A little praise can go a long way. Genuine praise for a job well-done will build stronger relationships and encourage better results in the future.
  • Resistant to change. The world around us is constantly evolving and steadfastly hanging on to what is comfortable is a sure-fire way to get left behind. As leaders, we should never assume the way things have “always been done” is still the best or only way to do things.
  • Focus only on their own long-term success. Your primary goal as a leader should be to create a legacy where you are remembered for what you did for others and not yourself. When you focus on helping your team members reach their goals, you’ll be amazed by the impact this has on your entire team.
  • Lack clarity and focus. Ineffective leaders are not good at communicating their vision to members of their team. Without a clear focus and direction, results are likely to be lackluster, as well.
  • Do not have a mentor. You can’t develop strong leadership skills in a vacuum. Too often, I’ve seen otherwise competent individuals fail to achieve the levels they are capable of simply because they lacked strong role models. Having a competent mentor can mean the difference between being an inspiring and successful leader – and being the type of leader I’ve been talking about here. :)

Do Any Of These Traits Apply to YOU?

As you read through these common traits of ineffective leaders, did any of them resonate with you? If so, you’ve just uncovered an opportunity for improvement. The challenge to you, then, is…

What are YOU going to do about it?

To Your Future Success,


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