12 Killers of Good Leadership

I know numerous leaders with great potential. They have all the appearance of being a good leader. But they lack one thing — or two.

In my experience, some of this self-learned the hard way, there are a few killers of good leadership.

I decided to compile a list of some of the most potent killers I’ve observed. Any one of these can squelch good leadership. It’s like a wrecking ball of potential. If not addressed, they may even prove to be fatal.

It’s not that the person can’t continue to lead, but to grow as a leader — to be successful at a higher level or for the long-term — they must address these killers.

Here are 12 killers of good leadership:

Defensiveness – Good leaders don’t wear their feelings on their shoulders. They know other’s opinions matter and aren’t afraid to be challenged. They are confident enough to absorb the wounds intended to help them grow.

Jealousy – A good leader enjoys watching others on the team excel — even willing to help them.

Revenge – The leader that succeeds for the long-term must be forgiving; graceful — knowing that “getting even” only comes back to harm them and the organization.

Fearfulness – A good leader remains committed when no one else is and takes risks no one else will. Others will follow. It is what leaders do.

Favoritism – Good leaders don’t have favorites on the team. They reward for results not partiality.

Ungratefulness – Good leaders value people — genuinely — knowing they cannot attain success without others.

Small-mindedness – Good leaders think bigger than today. They are dreamers and idea people.

Pridefulness – Pride comes before the fall. Good leaders remain humbled by the position of authority entrusted to them.

Rigidity – There are some things to be rigid about, such as values and vision, but for most issues, the leader must be open to change. Good leaders are welcome new ideas, realizing that most everything can be improved.

Laziness – One can’t be a good leader and not be willing to work hard. In fact, the leader should be willing to be the hardest worker on the team.

Unresponsiveness – Good leaders don’t lead from behind closed doors. They are responsive to the needs and desires of those they attempt to lead. They respond to concerns and questions. They collaborate more than control. Leaders who close themselves off from those they lead will limit the places where others will follow.

Dishonesty – Since character counts highest, a good leader must be above reproach. When a leader fails, he or she must admit their mistake and work towards restoration.

A leader may struggle with one or more of these, but the goal should be to lead “killer-free”. Leader, be honest, which of these wrecking balls do you struggle with most?

What would you add to my list?

Can you think of any other killers of good leadership?

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33 thoughts on “12 Killers of Good Leadership

  1. Excellent list, Ron. I would add "Losing Trust". If you lost trust with your team it is hard to get it back.


  2. All important leadership killers to mind. I would add inability to delegate without relinquishing control. Guiding and coaching is one thing. Resuming control after having delegated responsibility is quite another.

  3. Single mindedness, or narrow mindedness. If one sees that a plan just simply does not work, don't beat a dead horse, move on! Learn from the mistake, don't dig a deeper hole.
    Twitter: bryankr

  4. Ouch. That's challenging. Thank you.

    I think selfishness would be another leadership killer. Having to have everything my way. Trying to make sure I always get the credit for what goes right and someone else gets the blame for what goes wrong.

  5. Thanks Ron. Excellent things to remember. I would also add: Lack of follow-through. This correlates with non-responsiveness, and also encompasses those leaders who "don't walk the talk." In other words, they say what they think others want to hear, make lots of promises, and don't always follow through with what they say they will.

    • That's a great one Tammy. I would title it "inconsistency" going with my one word theme and I do see that as a killer of good leadership. Thank you.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  6. Yes, I wrote a post once before about the balance of this issue. http://ronedmondson.com/2009/12/balancing-wor

    Honestly, I've seen both…some need lots of encouragement to slow down…some need no encouragement at all…they do that well…and those are the ones I'm addressing here. Part of good leadership is leading well in the home and in the workplace. I've written more of my thoughts on that here: http://ronedmondson.com/2009/08/great-leaders… and here: http://ronedmondson.com/2010/08/7-ways-i-prot

    I always tell our staff…I think our families need to see us striving to make them a priority yet working hard…finding the balance…because that's the real life they will face.

    Thanks! And, you can work harder without working longer…

    Twitter: Ronedmondson

    • Thanks for the response and the links to your other posts, excellent reading. It seems that so most are either wired to work hard or wired to hardly work. I don't think many are just automatically in touch with that happy medium, because that takes a lot of work as well! Thanks again.

  7. Your thoughts about laziness are right on, but I wish you would add a note that working hardest does not always mean working the most hours. Not saying you are implying this, but I'm thinking of the families who are losing so that the leader can win.

  8. Thanks Ron. I've seen nearly all of these manifest from INSECURITY in my life until humility and trust in the Lord bring me back to reality.
    Twitter: raystrauss

    • Ray, thanks for your honesty. I think you nailed a cause…for many of us leaders…insecurity…
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  9. Great post, Ron! These are definitely key things to remember in any area that we lead in. Shared this with other leaders in our College/20s ministry here! Thanks for sharing! 😀