Poor leaders see themselves as “the boss” and religiously emphasize the organization’s hierarchical nature, especially in situations of increased uncertainty.
They do this by reminding you how ignorant you are of the big picture but never expound or clarify, claiming it’s too much of a burden to progress—shrouding their incompetence and fear in distraction and silos of purpose and rank.
Poor leaders rarely involve others in their sensemaking, but when they do, it comes from outside sources of data rather than from the team they’re presiding over.
Ironically, whenever the team offers outside ideas, they are dismissed without explanation for being irrelevant to our unique situation.
Poor leaders assure everyone there is a strategy without making sure everyone can say what it is. When forced to talk of strategy, they speak of goals and marketing.
Poor leaders not only do things themselves because they believe it is the only way to get it done right, but they flaunt that reasoning as if it were a virtue.
They look to have answers rather than ask questions and share decision-making frameworks. They confuse context with content and perpetuate unhealthy communication.
Poor leaders hire when revenue is picking up, reduce salaries when revenue is slowing down, and consider equity too complicated.
Worst of all, poor leaders vilify real leaders who inquire and attempt to address root problems by accusing them of causing the symptoms.