Poor leadership surrounds us, it’s a fact of life and they seemingly
find a way to keep their jobs. They are more focused on their personal
needs and not of the professional needs of those below them. They have a
hard time developing their employees because they lack the proper
management techniques to do so. A leader is someone who you would follow
to a place you would not go alone. Leadership is about action not status.
However, the question is, how do we know when we are dealing with these
flaw ridden individuals. A lot of the time, a poor manager can make the
perception that he/she is busy and organized. I have developed a small
guideline that can help pinpoint these leaders.
Incompetent [Academic] Leaders will:
1. Delegate work rather than balance work loads. This allows all
attention to be diverted from them in case of failure. It may seem to
them that are managing their people but in actuality they are creating
work imbalances within the group. It can create unnecessary overtime for
some and under utilization of others. A good manager is aware of the
skill sets of all the people below them and should allocate work
accordingly while trying to enhance the skills of everyone to be even
2. Reduce all answers to Yes or No rather than explaining their
reasoning. This is an example of a crisis manager who can not think
farther than a few hours ahead. A yes/no manager find it a waste of
time to find the real answer through intellectual thought. They are
already thinking about the next crisis.
3. Not separate personal life from professional life. They will bring
their personal problem to work. Working for these types of managers can
be very dramatic. They are unable to separate their emotional imbalances
while trying to manage people. They are less focused and will not give
you the attention and direction you need for success.
4. Manage crisis. If you are a company that has crisis managers, then
you can say goodbye to innovation and progression. Proactive thinking is
critical to the success of any company. If you are not finding ways to
stop or reduce the amount of crisis that has to be managed, then your
competition will pass you by. Leaders have to think out of the box and
5. Create an environment where mistakes are unacceptable. Being held
accountable for wrong decisions is a fear for them. Making mistakes only
helps you become a better person, manager, etc. I use the analogy of a
basketball player that has no fouls. If they are not going for the ball
and taking chances with their opponent, then they are trying hard
enough. Take a chance and don’t be scared.
6. Humiliate or reprimand an employee within a group. This is a clear
and visible sign of a poor leader. A good leader takes employee problems
away from a group setting to a more private setting. If you have a boss
that does this, it is time for a visit to human resources.
7. Not stand behind subordinates when they fail. Never leave your people
to hang out to dry. Always back them up, right, wrong, or indifferent.
If an employee tries their best in a situation and they fail to come
through. They should be commended on their effort and not punished for
8. Encourage hard workers not smart workers. I am not impressed with
hard workers. A hard worker is usually defined by hours. Smart workers
are the ones that I hire and embrace. Smart workers understand the
concept of time management and multi-tasking. Poor leaders miss this
connection. Smart workers are methodical in their thinking and can
generally be successful because of their abilities management projects
and time. Hard workers may take twice as long to do the work. It is
important to assign work accordingly to the skills and personalities
9. Judge people on hours not performance. This is similar to #8. Again,
I am not impressed with overtime junkies. They have lost all perspective
on a healthy family/balance. Bad managers will promote the employees
that work the most hours and not look at the smart ones who work less,
meaning have better time management. Stop watching the lock.
10. Act differently in front of their leaders. This is an indication of
low self-confidence. They have doubts about their own ability to lead
and they will act like little children when authority is present. A
confident person acts the same around everyone. Remember, have respect
for them, but also have self-respect.
By Chris Ortiz