Basic Qualities of a Leader

7 Signs You Lack Basic Qualities of a Leader

This article was last updated on September 5, 2017

Leadership: everyone wants it but not many can pull it off. Being a leader is more than having a fancy job description under your name or on social media profiles. It is a highly demanding role with many rewards. You may be a boss, manager, chief executive, team leader in a specific department, regardless of the role, industry, or type of business (big or small), your job is not only to lead others, but to inspire them at the same time.

Good decisions lead to great success, but bad decisions make a huge impact on the overall workplace dynamic. The performance of other people in your team or company is a reflection of your attitude and skills you show. It is a leader’s job to decide who will perform a certain task, assign more responsibility to someone, or who will join/leave the team. A part of your job is to find other leaders and motivate people to be ambitious, take risks, and be in charge of their own career success.

In order to do all these tasks successfully and be the best leader to your team, you have to know whether you have all the qualities of a good leader or not. Many signs indicate our leadership qualities, but we usually overlook them. Good leaders have qualities such as honesty, communication, confidence, commitment, positive attitude, ability to inspire, just to name a few. This post will discuss seven signs you lack leadership qualities. If any of these signs apply to you, don’t despair! Being a good leader is a matter of growth and progress. You evolve with every decision you make and task you complete. Knowing what qualities you lack allows you to develop a strategy to improve yourself and become better and reach your full potential. Without a further ado, here are the seven signs that say a lot.

7 Signs You Lack Basic Qualities of a Leader

  1. Lack of empathy

We live in the age where empathy is considered a sign of weakness, but it is far from it. Regardless of our role at work or general socioeconomic status, we are humans and caring for others is what makes you both a good person and a great leader. People respect those who show they care which is why the lack of empathy is one of the most distinguished signs of poor leadership skills. You can show empathy in many ways: have a sense of humor, show your softer side, take someones feelings into consideration and try to see things from their perspective. This is a great way to build bridges, instead of burning them.

  1. Lack of vision

Good leadership skills require you to know what you want at any given time. Lack of vision is one of the worst enemies of every leader. You have to know the direction in which you want tasks and projects to go, how they fit into the company’s “big picture” and you have to be able to create a wide array of ideas even in the most stressful situations. Leaders who lack vision are usually met with chaos and confusion at the workplace. In order to overcome this problem, you should practice decisiveness. Take some time to create a plan for your projects to know what to expect and how to deal with potential issues. Be creative; try to experiment in order to generate more ideas.

  1. Me, me, me

A major sign of a bad leadership is when a person makes it everything about himself/herself. Of course, as a leader, you have to express your ideas and creativity, but a part of your job is to encourage others to do the same. Don’t make everything about yourself and avoid stealing someone’s thunder. How to overcome this problem? It’s not that difficult:

  • Compliment an employee for a job well done
  • Acknowledge someone’s ideas
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Have a formal or informal mentorship program or leadership development plan for aspiring managers
  1. Micromanaging

Do you feel the need to double-check absolutely everything? If you constantly hover over your employees checking everything they do, it shows you don’t trust them. Micromanaging is not only stressful for your employees, but for yourself as well. An amazing characteristic of good leaders or managers is that they know trusting the staff is important if you want them to do their job well. This is simple, if you spend most of your time double-checking everything, you don’t focus on more demanding projects and problems. Plus, people can’t flourish if they constantly feel inadequate. Have more trust in your employees and allow them to complete their tasks without micromanaging them. It will be easier for you too.

  1. Lack of communication

Never underestimate the power of good communication. In fact, benefits of communication go so far that lack of it or alienating yourself from others is considered one of the strongest symptoms of depression. As a leader, your job revolves around the ability to communicate. Your staff members or employees can’t know your vision for the future, upcoming projects and plans of action if you don’t communicate those targets clearly. Bear in mind that communication skills apply to face-to-face communication, phone, email, you name it. Make sure your team members are all up to date by informing them about everything regularly.

  1. Lack of humility

Nobody is perfect! We make mistakes all the time but rare are those who acknowledge them. A sign of a bad leadership is a refusal to admit you’re wrong, regardless of the circumstances. Practice humility and don’t act like you know everything or that you can do no wrong. Be honest with yourself and others. An ideal combination is to be humble, yet assertive at the same time. Take responsibility for your mistakes in order to present them as a teaching moment to encourage others to avoid repeating them. Show respect to everyone and build relationships with your staff based on honesty and mutual respect.

  1. Avoiding confrontation

Nobody likes them, but sometimes they have to be done. Avoiding confrontation at all costs makes you seem weak and chances are high your employees won’t consider you as an authority soon. If you avoid confrontations with people or different situations, the problem will keep growing until it becomes unbearable to handle. Ideally, you should face your issues head on and if a problem with staff member occurs don’t be afraid to confront them. Having an honest conversation benefits both you and your staff member; it is more effective than sweeping problems under a rug. A good leader is the one who is not afraid of facing problems or other people in a respectful manner.

Other qualities of bad leaders

  • Fear of change
  • Being too bossy
  • Poor judge of character
  • You break your promises


The moral of this post is that good leaders treat others with respect, have a clear vision for themselves and other people, those who take responsibility for their own mistakes and allow or encourage other people to grow, evolve, and improve. How many of these bad qualities do you have? It is never too late to start working on them! Remember, leadership is tough but requires constant growth and desire to learn and evolve. You can do it!

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