I’ve spent most of my life observing and studying leadership skills. It started with my first little league coach, my college coaches, my experience as an athlete and as an NCAA college basketball referee.
Then into the business world, observing some of the best and some of the worst. Reading, studying, and attending workshops have all been a part of my journey on why leadership is stinky and the reverse, why it excels.
1. They aren’t flexible. You can tie this thought to any sport you want. The best teams are lead by people who make the right adjustments at the right time. Leaders are like boxers. They are bobbing and weaving. Far too often leaders get locked into whatever and their whatever drives the team nuts.
2. They don’t pay attention. What a simple concept. Real leaders have their eyes and ears open 24/7. They don’t lock themselves in their office and issue orders. They walk around. They talk. They listen.
3. They think they know it all. Nobody knows it all. You don’t, I don’t. Even CNN & Fox don’t. Leaders know what they don’t know.
4. They want you to rely on them to tell you everything
to do. That’s not what real leaders do. Leaders say, “I trust your good judgment, you decide.” When you stumble, they coach you up, not put you down.
5. They walk like a turtle. Show me a slow walker and I’ll show you, someone, nobody wants to follow. Get some pep in your step and get your butt in gear.
6. They are a stick in the mud. What a miserable life if you can’t laugh at yourself. If you don’t have a sense of humor you need to get a sense of humor.
7. They are arrogant and egotistical. There’s a big difference in being confident and being a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.
8. They aren’t likable. Ties into being a jerk. If you’re not likable the odds of being a great leader are about slim and none.
9. They hide the details. Leaders want to give you more than you need to know. They know that the more you know, the faster you learn. The faster you learn, the faster you buy-in. The faster you buy in, the faster the team grows.
10. They put the wrong people in the wrong seats on the bus. Leaders know that just because you have skill A doesn’t mean it’s a fit for seat B. Getting the right people in the right seats is critical for success.
11. They have lapses in integrity. You either have integrity or you don’t. It’s not a part-time thing to be used when you see fit. Leaders have integrity 24/7/365.
12. They say stupid things. Leaders use common sense before they open their mouths. The problem in today’s world is common sense isn’t so common.
13. They run around like a nut. Leaders know when to be calm and when to get excited. Too much of either makes people suspicious of you.
14. They have boss tattooed on their chest. Leaders aren’t the least bit concerned about tattoos or titles.
15. They say, “Look at me, look what I did.” Leaders say you guys did an awesome job. Way to go. I’m proud of you.
16. They blame others. Leaders say, “I let you down.” I need your help so I can do a better job. Let’s all work harder and smarter to do better.
17. They say do this, do that. Leaders say, “I need your help.”
18. They got promoted over their head. They know it. Everyone knows it. Not their fault. Somebody screwed up. Leaders don’t have to live with it. When all else fails, leaders hit the eject button, reset and move on.
19. They never read the bible. Leaders follow the golden rule. It simple. It’s easy. Preach it. Talk it. Walk it.
20. They don’t do what they say they are going to do. Leaders are true to their word.
21. They lack discipline. Leaders understand the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
22. They confuse friendship and loyalty. Leaders are loyal, but they are smart enough to know when their loyalty to certain individuals is hurting the team. Leaders make hard decisions. You can be loyal without being stupid. Don’t be stupid.
23. They don’t own a mirror. Leaders find most of the solutions to their problems in the bathroom mirror.
24. They live in the past. Leaders say, just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean we’re going to keep doing it that way.
25. They stop learning and growing. Leaders invest time and money on self and team development.
26. They resist change. Leaders knock down the walls of resistance. They know resistance is enemy #1.
27. They let people be mean to others. Leaders have a motto, “If you aren’t nice to your teammates and our customers you can’t work here.” Another simple concept for you.
28. They micro-manage. Leaders are good checkers, but they give people a job and let them do their job. They coach when necessary and stay out of the way the rest of the time. Leaders don’t “number” people to death.
29. They don’t look like a leader. I understand you want to dress casually. I do too, but I don’t. Ok, I’ll give you one day a week and that’s painful for me to say. The rest of the time you need to set the example and look the part.
30. This one’s for you. You pick. I’m sure you’ve got one that I left out.
I’ve said enough so that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs