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Leadership Thought #370 – Fifteen Things Leaders Should Never Do

June 14, 2012

Free Woman in Gray Blazer Standing Beside Table Stock Photo

We all get in our way sometimes and leaders are no different.  Just because we know we shouldn’t do something doesn’t always mean we won’t do it.  However, not all mistakes are created equally.  There are fifteen things a leader should never do:

  1. Condone or look the other way when it comes to immoral, unethical, or unsafe behavior.
  2. Discriminate based on age, gender, or race.
  3. Hold others to a higher personal and professional standard than you hold yourself.
  4. Have different rules of behavior for friends and family members than for everyone else in the organization.
  5. Not telling the truth about important matters affecting the company.
  6. Penalize or harangue others for telling you the truth.
  7. Use conflict avoidance as an excuse for not addressing important business issues or dealing with difficult people.
  8. Not take personal responsibility and shift the blame to others when you were the one who screwed up.
  9. Take full credit for something you didn’t do.
  10. Use your power and position to intimidate people just because you can and allow your direct reports to do the same.
  11. Make promises to your employees or customers that you cannot or will not keep.
  12. Not paying taxes.
  13. Give themselves a raise when the company is doing poorly and/or using debt to pay themselves more than the company can afford to pay them for any extended period.
  14. Claim ignorance when it comes to important financial matters affecting the company.
  15. Let emotion rather than sound business judgment drive decision making.

Often, we are defined by what we say “no” to or don’t do rather than what we do.  Leading others is a privileged position and should be treated as such.  Inevitably, culture flows from the top down in an organization.  If you are unhappy with how things are going, look in the mirror first and assess your own leadership behavior.  I’m confident that you will find clues as to what YOU are doing wrong.