Signs of Poor Leadership

Just as there are telltale signs of effective leadership, there are signs of poor leadership.  Here are some ways to tell if you are dealing with a poor leader.

Doesn’t understand people

People have certain basic needs. Poor leaders fail to recognize this and use these basic needs when motivating subordinates. People need to be loved and appreciated. They need to feel they belong and are secure. They need to achieve. Leaders need to understand this. Motivation must be based on understanding and recognizing the needs of individuals.

Fights change; afraid of innovation

There can be no growth without change. A leader must be willing to accept change. Change must come in organizational patterns, ways of doing things, purposes, and means of communicating.

Lacks imagination

Creativity is a requirement for effective leadership. The leader who lacks imagination, creativity, and vision will be a poor leader.

Passes the buck

Good leaders accept responsibility. The person who always has someone else to blame for his troubles will always be a poor leader. The effective leader will delegate responsibility and authority, but always be aware that the ultimate responsibility still belongs to him.

Lacks team spirit

Some outstanding contributions can be made by solo performers. These people can be leaders in the sense of being out in front of others. They cannot be leaders in the sense of guiding and directing others. The effective leader will be a team player and will develop a team spirit in his followers.

Loses emotional control

A leader shows he is in control of a situation by maintaining control over himself. When a leader loses control over his emotions, especially anger, he greatly decreases his effectiveness.

Becomes defensive

Ball games are won with offensive efforts. Defense is important, but scores few points. When a leader becomes more defensive than offensive, he loses.

Refuses to take risks

The greater the risk, the greater the potential. That can be a potential for success or for failure. In this world, uncertainty is certain. The effective leader will study a situation, but he will accept some risk in decision making.

Signs of Effective Leadership

How do you know if your leadership is effective?  Here are some ways you can tell by observing other leaders.

Uses time wisely

The effective leader will save time by making the best use of it that is possible. Every person has the same 168 hours to use each week, but some get more done with it than others.

Develops subordinates

One of the best ways to become more effective is by developing subordinates so that they become better workers, then they push the leader up. Numerous books on leadership stress the idea of pushing decision-making and other acts of leadership down to the lowest possible level. This concept is very Biblical. Christian leaders are to edify or build up others. People under the leader are his responsibility in this area.

Has integrity

The effective leader can be trusted. What he says, he will do. This is important in word, in deed, and especially in finances. Some have a false concept that to be successful in business you must compromise your integrity, and that is not true. A part of this is to pay your debts, and some preachers have poor reputations in this area.

Is flexible

A leader needs to sometimes change his plans, his policies, his programs, his procedures, his methods, but he should never change his doctrine (if it was right in the beginning). There is a danger of a person becoming so set in his ways that he is not willing to change, and this can cause his downfall.  However, if a leader appears to be too inconsistent, this can be a weakness.

Learns from mistakes

Some appear so afraid of making mistakes that they don’t do anything. The effective leader will accept the fact that he will make some mistakes. A good concept is to establish a margin of error and not worry about things that are within that margin. It is important that a leader learn from a mistake so that he will not make the same mistake a second time. Thomas Edison said not to call them mistakes, but call it an education. Sometimes the leader needs to admit making a mistake, and then set out to correct it.

Establishes standards

Standards of performance need to be established for all workers so they will know what is expected of them. The standards need to be consistent from worker to worker and even from period to period. Without standards there is no basis for evaluation.

Sets goals and priorities

The goals should be based on one’s vision and objectives. They should be challenging, specific, attainable, measurable, and dated. The priorities are needed to know which goals to work on first.

Keeps on going

The effective leader will not be a quitter. He will stay with a job until it is done. Some jobs will be harder than others, but one should stay with it. The Bible says, “Never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).  The effective leader will keep on going in spite of weariness and discouragement.

Stays morally pure and clean

This is important to a Christian worker. Those outside of the church may not mind their leaders being immoral, but it will destroy the efforts of a Christian worker. One should “avoid the appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Is a self-motivator

The effective leader doesn’t have to be pushed, but is driven by a force from within himself. Pastors really need to have this, and pastors really want this in their staff members.