12 Negative Attributes of Lousy Leaders

Karl Bimshas
3 min readJan 24, 2023
12 Negative Attributes of Lousy Leaders by Karl Bimshas

Below are twelve negative leadership attributes that erode teams, organizations, and the performance of individuals.

  1. Arrogance: Arrogance is excessive self-importance and a lack of humility. Leaders who possess this attribute are unwilling to listen to others or consider other perspectives.
  2. Lack of Empathy: Lack of empathy is the inability or unwillingness to understand and share the feelings of others. Leaders with this attribute are insensitive to the needs and concerns of their team members.
  3. Lack of Accountability: Leaders who lack accountability do not take responsibility for their actions or decisions and tend to blame others for failures.
  4. Micromanagement: Micromanagement is when a leader is excessively involved in the team’s day-to-day activities and makes decisions without delegating authority. This leads to a lack of autonomy and creativity among team members.
  5. Lack of Trust: Leaders who lack trust are secretive and unwilling to share information with their team members, leading to a dearth of faith and poor teamwork.
  6. Lack of Communication: Leaders who lack communication do not provide clear direction or feedback, leading to confusion and poor performance among team members.
  7. Lack of Transparency: Leaders who lack transparency are not open and honest with their team members, which leads to a lack of confidence and collaboration.
  8. Self-centeredness: Self-centeredness is a leader focused solely on their own needs and desires and uninterested and inconsiderate of the needs of others.
  9. Lack of Integrity: Leaders who lack integrity are dishonest or unethical, which leads to a depletion of trust.
  10. Inability to Delegate: Leaders who cannot delegate don’t trust their team members and do not allow them to take on responsibilities, which leads to a lack of autonomy and development opportunities for team members.
  11. Lack of Emotional Intelligence: Leaders who lack emotional intelligence are unable to understand and manage their own emotions and cannot understand and respond appropriately to the emotions of others.
  12. Lack of Adaptability: Leaders who lack adaptability cannot adapt to changes or new situations, which leads to poor performance and a lack of progress in the organization.

Stop rewarding leaders who demonstrate these attributes with more projects, money, promotions, votes, interviews, clicks, or other valuable resources, unless they become committed to changing, improving, and developing from lousy leaders into better leaders. Then you give them time, support, and love. There are a lot of lousy leaders out there, but if you continuously work on your personal and professional development to improve your leadership skills, we can outnumber them.


Use this quick assessment to gauge the extent to which negative leadership attributes are being used.

Rating: 1=Never, 2=Rarely, 3=Often, 4=Always

  1. Is the leader arrogant? _____
  2. Does the leader lack empathy? _____
  3. Does the leader lack accountability? _____
  4. Does the leader engage in micromanagement? _____
  5. Does the leader lack trust? _____
  6. Does the leader lack communication? _____
  7. Does the leader lack transparency? _____
  8. Is the leader self-centered? _____
  9. Does the leader lack integrity? _____
  10. Does the leader have difficulty delegating? _____
  11. Does the leader lack emotional intelligence? _____
  12. Does the leader lack adaptability? _____

Total your results.

A low score (12–24 ) may indicate that the leader does not frequently exhibit negative attributes, but monitoring and addressing concerns are still important.

A high score (36–48) suggests that the leader frequently exhibits negative attributes, which requires immediate attention and intervention to address the behavior before more damage occurs.

It’s important to remember that it’s always a good idea to seek feedback from others on your team or organization to get a complete picture of your leadership performance.

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Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.