Are You a Bad Leader? These are Some Signs You Might Be

If you have ever worked for someone else in an organisation, you will understand the consequences of working for a bad leader. When someone is a terrible leader, it can be difficult to understand why they can’t see it for themselves, but this is quite common. Many people don’t have a lot of self-awareness; if anything goes wrong, it’s other people’s fault. However, if you are a terrible leader, it could affect your chances of being successful. Strong leadership skills are an essential part of being a successful entrepreneur. If you are a terrible leader, you will probably never achieve as much as you would like. If you feel that you’re living in the dark when it comes to your leadership skills, these are some signs that you may need to improve in this department.

Poor Performance and Retention

It is easy for leaders to blame someone else when performance levels are less than satisfactory, or people are leaving almost as soon as they start, especially if they have a team underneath them. However, successful leaders will lead by example and will be able to keep a group together and ensure performance levels are high. If people are happy in the workplace, they don’t want to leave. If you are struggling with retention in your team or productivity levels are low, it is a sign that you are not a good leader. Influential leaders will notice issues and will take responsibility for them. Weak leaders will ignore problems or blame other people.

Lack of Communication

Is your team communicating with you regularly? Do they feel comfortable speaking to you? Influential leaders can communicate well with their team members and build excellent relationships. As a good leader, your team will be open with you; otherwise, you are probably a bad leader, and you may want to consider making some changes to your leadership skills.

You Don’t Care

How do you feel about the company and your team? Are you passionate and empathetic when issues arise? If you don’t care, it will be visible. If you care, the passion will shine through, and you’ll show yourself to be a true leader. There are very few successful entrepreneurs who don’t care about their staff. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, consider how you portray yourself and how you deal with the issues of others. If necessary, ask for feedback from them.

Inflexible Attitude

It is essential to be flexible with your staff, especially as a leader. People will respect you more if you are flexible with them, and they will be willing to do more as a result. Inflexibility is the sign of a bad leader. It is time to have a re-think about the way you are leading; if you are shutting employees requests down and generally not treating them like human beings. Great leaders respect their team members, especially when they are loyal and trustworthy individuals.


Do you put other people before yourself in the workplace, or are your thoughts mainly focused on how things affect you? If it’s the former, you may want to consider how you are treating others, as egotistic people are rarely good leaders. As an entrepreneur, you should be committed to building a strong and loyal team, not about controlling your employees. Controlling leaders can be quite harmful, and if you are acting in this kind of authoritarian manner, you are unlikely to do well in business.

Bad Work Ethic

Employees look up to leaders, and you must lead from the top. A successful leader has a strong work ethic; they arrive before employees and are willing to help their employees, even out with the workplace. A good leader is not the type of person who calls in sick regularly or fails to turn up to meetings.  A weak leader is someone you can never get a hold of; you never really know where they are or what they’re doing. If you are an influential leader, you will inform your staff of your whereabouts, in case they need you for anything. Supporting a team is the fundamental basis of being a leader, and this is often something people forget.  If you are unreliable or have a poor work ethic, it is time to make changes, or you’ll be known as a bad leader.

Negative Attitude

How do you behave in the workplace? Are you a bundle of joy and positivity, or do people tend to avoid you? No one wants to be around someone who is continuously moaning or has a general negative attitude, especially when the person is supposed to be a leader. If your employees are disappearing as soon as you arrive in the office, it may be the result of a poor attitude. If you would like to improve your leadership skills, have a look at how you speak to others, and try and turn your mindset into a positive one. People flock to those who make them feel happy and comfortable; they don’t tend to want to deal with those who make them feel miserable.


If you don’t take time to make your staff feel valued and encouraged, they will probably consider you a bad leader. The very best leaders out there are those who take care of their team and ensure they feel that they are doing a great job. When was the last time you took your team aside to tell them how much you appreciate them? Do you tell staff they are doing a good job? If you can’t remember, it’s probably been too long.

Poor Decision Making

A good leader will be strong enough to make decisions on their own and won’t need to ask other people to make decisions for them. Bad leaders will never be able to make decisions without asking someone else first. Leaders need to have strong decision-making skills and know the answer to questions their staff asks. They shouldn’t be running away from making decisions.


Most bad leaders will lie to get them out of situations, and they won’t ever really take responsibility for mistakes.  A strong leader understands that they can make mistakes as much as anyone else, but the difference is, they admit to it and don’t pretend otherwise. Dishonestly is not anything to aspire to, and it’s not the way to forge good relationships. If you find that you are lying to your team, it may be time to take a look at your leadership skills through their eyes.

No Help or Support

The fundamental aspect of being a strong leader is to be able to ensure staff is performing well, especially entrepreneurs who may be running more than one business. If staff is asking you questions and you are running away to hide, or you don’t step in when you know an employee is struggling to answer something, you are probably a bad leader. Leaders must offer help and support whenever it is required.

Under Deliver on Promises

A weak leader will promise the world, but will always fail to deliver. If you promise staff bonuses or other incentives, just to keep them happy, but you never provide this, your employees will stop trusting you. Empty promises are typical with poor leaders. Make sure you are not making promises you can’t keep.

No Expectations

If you don’t set expectations from your staff, how can they ever deliver? Many bad leaders will expect certain things from their team and become disappointed when they feel to meet their expectations. A strong leader will make their expectations clear from the offset so that the employee is not confused and can deliver on the requirements.


If you have ever seen the TV program ‘The Office,’ you will understand the concept of partiality and poor leadership. Some leaders want to become friends with some of their staff members, while others get left in their wake. It is a bad example to set if you are favoring individual members of staff over others. A good leader will treat everyone the same and will not try to be anyone’s friend. They understand the difference between professionalism and friendship, and they know when to draw the line.


It is an extreme one, but it does happen, even with leaders. If you are unable to speak to employees positively, you may come across as a bully. A bully will belittle others and will consistently highlight weaknesses.  A good leader will provide constructive feedback and will be able to direct staff in the right way to ensure a positive outcome. If you are making your team feel demotivated and if they have changed their attitude since you started, it is a sign that you are a terrible leader.


Some individuals can’t handle being leaders without feeling self-important and superior. If you are behaving in a manner that would suggest you feel superior to others, you are probably a bad leader. Good leaders will never think that they are better than anyone, and they will certainly not behave in this way. They will help and support, and they will understand that their staff is their greatest asset.

No Guidance

A strong leader guides their team, and wants to ensure they do well in their job, and that they are happy. Other leaders will hide from their staff and will fail to guide them in any way. It is the responsibility of the leader to guide their team, and if you are not doing this, you may want to consider changing your way of dealing with people.

Micro Managing

There is nothing good about micro-managing; no one particularly enjoys this. A strong leader should be able to guide their staff and give them the freedom to get on with their work. A bad leader will continuously check up on staff and will fail to provide them with space to complete their work. For example, a bad leader might say ‘are you finished with that work yet,’ while a good leader would ask how they are getting on, would find out if they need any help and would offer some encouraging words, such as ‘you’re doing a great job, thank you.’ Micromanagement is never positive, and it can be extremely off-putting for staff.

Lack of Consistency

If the team seems disorganized and there is a lack of processes in place, this shows there is a bad leader in place. A good leader will be running a well-oiled machine, especially an entrepreneur. If you are disorganized and no one knows what they’re supposed to be doing, it is a sign that you are not a good leader. Influential leaders keep everything running well, as they understand the importance of this for the success of the business.

No Future Vision

As a leader, you will have plans in place for the future. You will have goals set out both for your team and the organization. If you do not have a vision or purpose in place, it is very difficult to be able to work towards anything. Great leaders will have plans for the team, they will be able to direct them and ensure they are working towards a good future. They will manage the expectations of their team, and their team will be positive about their future.

These are signs that you may be a bad leader, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t turn the situation around. If you want to become a good leader, you need to have self awareness and be willing to admit your shortfalls as a leader. The very best leaders will take time to ensure they are delivering results for their team, and they will ask for feedback. It can be difficult to receive feedback, especially if it’s not positive, but it is the only way you truly grow as an individual and as a leader. It is especially true if you want to be an entrepreneur, the two go hand in hand, and being a strong leader is essential.

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