Have you ever found yourself being led by someone whose leadership you just couldn’t stand? Ever been around someone leading the charge who just completely rubbed you the wrong way?
What were the characteristics you found so difficult to work with?
During a leadership coaching session Global Leadership Summit founder Bill Hybels addressed this question. And leaders would do well to heed these key insights.
Bill stated emphatically that there are two qualities that people just can’t stand in their leaders.
1. “People can’t stand dishonesty in their leader.”
2. “People can’t stand arrogance in their leader.”
In my own experience, I have found that these dangerous qualities often begin with seemingly innocent patterns:
Dishonesty often starts with:
- Chronic lateness
- “I’ll meet you tomorrow at 9:00 am.” Then you show up at 9:10.
- Some leaders will dismiss their chronic tardiness as a reflection merely of their demanding schedule. But it ultimately communicates dishonesty.
- Consistent lack of follow-through
- “I’ll call you next week.” And no call is made.
- When you consistently fail to follow through on even the smallest of commitments people come to doubt any commitment you make.
- Unmitigated hyperbole
- “That was the best service/meeting/idea EVER!” But everyone knows it was really quite average.
- As I’ve written previously, exaggeration and hyperbole are deadly forms of dishonesty for leaders.
Arrogance often starts with:
- “I’m kinda embarrassed by this double-digit growth under my leadership…”
- As I’ve written before, your people can sniff out such arrogance in a nanosecond.
- Spotlight stealing
- An infuriating form of arrogance is found in the leader who must make themselves the focal point of attention.
- When you hog all the positive attention for yourself you drive your people further into the shadows.
- The White-Knight complex
- Implicitly, or explicitly, some leaders make it sound like they had ridden in on a stallion and had single-handedly rescued the organization from certain doom.
- People withdraw their support from such leaders.
Consider using this checklist to form your own character audit.
Because if you can catch these indicators when they’re relatively small, you can avoid a full-blown leadership character crisis later on.