5 of the worst leadership traits


A young pastor once asked me a great question.

He appeared to be doing a great job leading, but he wanted to do better.

I always admire someone who wants to improve.

His question went like this. Knowing what you know now about leadership, what would you say are the biggest traps to avoid?

What are the worst leadership traits that you’ve seen limit a leader’s potential to lead well?

That’s a hard question because depending on the circumstances, I think there could be many different answers.

You can have some bad traits and perhaps still see some success as a leader, but they are still bad leadership traits – the worst.

And they keep one from leading well.

Eventually, they may derail a leader if not addressed.

There are many I’ve observed. I’ve seen laziness, for example, cripple a leader. But, with the right team around him or her, even a lazy leader can experience success.

I thought of incompetence, but I have seen some dumb leaders (like me at times) smart enough to surround themselves with wise people. But what about the worst?

So, I’ve narrowed my list to the following 5 of the worst traits I’ve observed personally. Feel free to disagree or add to my list. I certainly don’t have all the answers.

5 of the worst leadership traits

Avoidance – The leader who ignores problems invites trouble to the church or organization.

Problems never go away on their own. They fester and eventually explode.

It may take a long time for them to be exposed, but they will eventually catch up with the leader.

Yet I have seen some leaders survive a long time while avoiding the real problems.

Control – Inflexibility on the part of a leader limits the church or organization to the level of performance solely by the leader.

That’s always bad.

Even if the person is a genius, there’s a lid placed upon the organization or church’s future.

People feel squashed of their potential and under appreciated, producing half-heartedness and poor morale.

Who needs that?

But there are still growing organizations with controlling leaders.

Pride – Perhaps the worst trait I’ve personally observed is the arrogance of a leader.

It turns people away in disgust when they hear a leader brag on all his or her accomplishments.

The braggart feels good but is never as popular as he or she perceives.

I’ve found if a leader is really good at what they do, they won’t have to tell others about it. Continue reading

  • Ron Edmondson is CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, he was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. He has also been a church leadership consultant.
  • Image: CrossMap
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