Not everyone can be a leader; it takes a person with several key characteristics to embody the role. There is so much involved with leading a team, such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, humility, and empathy, and it is important to make the distinction between what makes a successful leader and what makes an unsuccessful leader. 

By understanding the traits of poor leadership, aspiring leaders can put their best foot forward for those they oversee. Here are a few glaring leadership flaws to avoid. 

Living in an echo chamber

One of the worst characteristics of poor leadership is that leaders surround themselves with “yes” people. A poor leader has no issue with always being agreed with. When a leader stays in an echo chamber, they hear everyone around them agreeing and repeating things back to them. This serves as stagnation as no evolution is being made. Change comes from having disagreements and different ideas.

Instead, leaders should surround themselves with confident people who can articulate their unique perspectives and share solutions that their leader may not have considered previously.


Poor leaders hire people who are under-qualified or assign jobs that don’t match the skill set of each team member. This can lead to doubt and a lack of confidence which can then result in a leader who micromanages their team.

Leaders should get to know each person on the team and fit them with an assignment that they are fully qualified to successfully complete. This will take some of the anxiety off of the leader whilst also showing the employee that their leader trusts in their work capabilities and expertise.

Avoiding conflict

Instead of practicing humility and courage, poor leaders tend to avoid conflict. Conflict is a normal occurrence in many organizations as there may be occasional misinterpretations or misunderstandings. Instead of approaching these issues head-on, a poor leader may hide or have someone else diffuse the situation.

A huge part of leadership is courage and having the courage to use one’s voice. Instead of leading with poor communication skills, leaders should be more open-minded and articulate their thoughts effectively. Leaders can avoid this trait of avoidance by approaching these matters with more confidence and empathy.

Not prioritizing customers

Good leaders always put their morals and the people first. In this model, success doesn’t revolve solely around money. It’s about the people who make the business and also those who support the business. Thus, customer satisfaction is always prioritized. When a leader chases sales, they may find themselves neglecting quality for quantity.

Leading with ego

Poor leaders approach leadership from a place of egotism or superiority. All excellent leaders understand that they are not better than anyone. They are a part of the team and each member is needed to reach the greater goal.