What are Bad Leadership Qualities | Do You See Yourself Here | 2024 Reveal


Astrid Tran 21 January, 2024 7 min read

A good leader always plays a crucial role in every team. As the soul of the team, they help members work more efficiently and unlock their potential. The leader will actively look for and promote teamwork, commitment, and positive traits in the team, aiming to build a strong and cohesive group.

But, what will happen if your leader showcases bad leadership qualities? In this article, we try to identify the 10 most popular signs of characteristics of a bad leader in the workplace and examples, so leaders can reflect on their own and anticipate it as soon as possible.

bad leadership qualities
What is bad leadership behavior?

Table of Contents:

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1. Lack of Expertise

Bad leadership qualities like incompetency are unacceptable. If you haven't achieved notable accomplishments, expertise, and professionalism are the top factors to assess your leadership qualities. Because, above all, we need a leader to complete the job more efficiently.

A leader with good professional knowledge will help improve job efficiency and gain the trust of others who will follow their lead. They will be able to tackle challenges at work and provide guidance based on experience for team members.

Conversely, if you don't enhance your knowledge and skills, it will be challenging for your team members to trust and entrust responsibilities to you. This is especially true in important and strategic plans.

2. Poor Communication

You may have good expertise and a strong vision, but what if you can't communicate that for others to understand? It becomes challenging when becoming a great leader because no one can comprehend your ideas and direction. This is indeed a detrimental quality for a leader.


Poor communication often leads to failing to inspire others. It is really bad. Is inspiration really important? Yes, it is. Because not every task of the team will always be a smooth success. In times when people need encouragement or face difficulties, a leader becomes the glue that keeps everyone positive and motivated to move forward.

Bad leadership qualities examples- Image: Shutterstock

3. Poor Observational Skills

What makes a leader better than their followers? The answer is the ability to observe and discover what others can see in both the big picture and details. "To be a good leader is to be observant." If you can't observe situations well, your judgments will be subjective. This is truly a negative trait for a leader. A lack of observational skills also means you won't be able to identify work or individual member issues effectively. It is one of the must-improve bad leadership qualities as soon as possible.

4. Procrastination

Many people struggle with the habit of procrastination. Another sign of bad leadership qualities - procrastination, doesn't necessarily stem from laziness or logical organization of tasks; it can arise from a lack of awareness about the potential damages that may occur when delayed. Particularly, as a leader, the habit of procrastination affects the work progress of the entire team. Team members may look at this behavior and lose the motivation to work quickly and positively.

5. Insufficient Time Management

As a leader, managing not only your own time and personal plans but also keeping track of everyone's work progress is essential. Ineffective time management involves offering suggestions if their tasks are not being carried out efficiently.

An ineffective leader grapples with these duties, facing difficulty in acknowledging the finite nature of time and downplaying the significant consequences of missing deadlines. This attitude is genuinely harmful; your team may struggle to establish a reputation for punctuality, leading to a lack of trust from both management and partners.

Bad leadership qualities - Image: Freepik

6. No Empathy

Regardless of your experience or achievements in your job, it's important to respect the other team members who have contributed to the collective success. Take the time to understand their situations, and listen to their issues so that they feel shared and understood—something they might not find in a leader with bad leadership qualities.

7. Favoritism

How do you identify a poor leader? Many believe that unfairness, bias, and favoritism are bad leadership qualities a boss shouldn't have. If team members feel they are not treated fairly, several consequences may occur, such as:

  • Conflict within the team, with people not helping or understanding each other.
  • Workflow disruptions due to communication difficulties and a lack of understanding.
  • People may not feel connected to the team.
  • Lack of trust in the leader and the work being done by team members.
bad leadership qualities examples
Bad leadership qualities are the main causes of quiet quitting 

8. Boasting

Being proud of your achievements or capabilities is necessary, but excessive boasting can make you appear as a poor leader in the eyes of your team members. Bad leadership qualities like boasting and ego can make people bored and may raise questions about the authenticity of what you're bragging about. Moreover, such information does not contribute to motivating or encouraging effective work. Limit boasting if you don't want to be seen as a bad leader by your followers.

9. Ignoring Team Engagement

Do you believe that your team already understands each other well, so there's no need for bonding activities? Or perhaps, you think that since everyone has good achievements, there's no need for morale-boosting team activities? This mindset could lead you to possess bad leadership qualities.

Achieving success but lacking mutual understanding and care for each other can significantly diminish team cohesion. Who would want team members to work just for the sake of money without any enthusiasm for the job?

bad leadership qualities in the workplace
Bad leadership qualities in the workplace - Image: Shutterstock

10. Perfectionism

"Perfectionism is a real leadership killer. It can create a culture of constant stress and fear, making employees hesitant to take risks or share their innovative ideas.

— Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix

The desire for perfection is a characteristic often seen in high achievers who ascend to leadership roles. However, when a leader solely emphasizes this trait, it can have negative consequences, eroding their connection with the team. 

Instead, a more effective approach is to leverage the natural strengths of each team member and establish a shared vision for the team to pursue. This approach tends to be more motivating than insisting on perfection.

Final Thoughts

How to address bad leadership qualities in the workplace? It is time organizations make improvements in leadership development. Virtual leadership training is a trend nowadays as it can save time and costs for small businesses.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is weak leadership?

A weak leader often approaches an issue with unclarity, avoids addressing the conflict, and blames others. These bad leadership qualities might stem from their incompetence, inconsistency, ego, and a fear of change.

Are a leader's achievements important?

Yes, a leader's achievements are crucial as they show their ability to guide the team effectively and achieve successful outcomes.

Is self-sacrifice important for leaders?

Yes, leaders who prioritize the team's well-being over personal interests create a positive work environment, fostering trust and loyalty.

How to handle team challenges?

Address challenges through open communication, collaboration, and seeking input from team members. Identify root causes, adjust strategies, and provide support to work towards success.