top of page
  • Writer's pictureIra Ketkin

The worst leader!

I find so many articles on leadership - some good, most bad - and every time I see yet another '10 ways to become a truly good leader' sort of post, I keep scrolling without giving it a second thought. That's clearly not to say they are all bad. But most of them are so general that they bring little to no value.

There is a technique for creative thinking called 'reversed brainstorming'. It can be applied in many different ways. But for the purposes of this blog post, I would like to think of ways that a leader can become truly repulsive and unhelpful. So let's begin, shall we?

  1. Sets you up for failure. Gives no clear instructions and goals yet demands immediate action.

  2. Doesn't take responsibilities for mistakes. When something goes wrong, guess who's fault it is? Well, it ain't theirs, if that's what you think.

  3. Isn't a team player. Every man for their own. They will make sure that if they are not happy with you, everyone inside and outside your team knows it.

  4. Doesn't know what you do. It's one thing to not be aware of the specifics of your job (after all, as a manager, they are not supposed to), it's a whole different thing to not even care to know the ballpark of how much things takes time.

  5. Personal development... say what?! One of the worst offenses for me as an employee is when your manager doesn't care about your development, not just within the company but personally as well.

  6. Listening is for losers. They are in love with their own voice and that's the only thing that matters.

  7. The party animal. Drinks after work? Sure, it's 5 o'clock somewhere (yes, I know it's noon here!)

  8. The workaholic. You haven't responded to the email that was sent at 3 am and it's already 5 am? Shame on you!

  9. The idea generator. This is not a bad thing per se. But it can go south if the ideas are coming in at 100 km/h and there is no follow up on any of them.

  10. The 'you decide'. Yes, I came to you with a problem. No, you were not my first stop. Yes, I researched, looked up stuff on google and asked for advice from colleagues. No, I do not have a solution (I have never been in a similar situation, my previous experience hasn't prepared me, I tried and failed). Don't tell me to decide, there is a reason I'm coming to you. There is a time and place for this kind of behavior but you need to pick your audience.

  11. The 'in-betweener'. "I am you boss but I also have a boss". Guess who will be to blame if things go sour?

  12. The meddler. "What ya doing?" "Why are you doing it like this?" "Wouldn't it better if you did it like that?" Again, challenging certain things is a great thing, but we go back to the whole 'time and place' thing.

  13. The busy guy. You want to have a 1-to-1? Ok, let's schedule it for tomorrow... oh wait, let's move it by an hour. Actually, can we do it tomorrow? Ok, we've rescheduled 3 times now, let's do it. I just gotta take this call. And just really quickly reply to this email. I'm so glad we had this talk!

  14. The know-it-all. I always want to be the stupidest person in the room. Unless it's filled with know-it-alls that don't consider any other opinion by t their own.

  15. 'In my previous company...'. There is clearly nothing wrong with bringing know-how from your previous employer, after all, you were probably hired for your experience. But do you really have to change everything just because 'that's how we did it in my previous company'? Or constantly point out how things were different with your ex-employer? And besides, isn't it 'ex' for a reason?

This in not an exhaustive list. And I think this topic deserves a second part. But this time I turn to you for inspiration:

  • Which of these have you had the 'privilege' of working with?

  • What other terrible leaders have you had the 'pleasure' of knowing and experiencing?

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page