How to Transform Poor Leaders into Good Leaders

John J. Pershing, a US Army general in World War I, once said, “A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary a poor leader can demoralize the best of troops.”

Most teams and organizations are only as capable as their leaders—and that makes it important to help transform all the all the poor leaders around you into good ones. Here are some ways to recognize the weak leaders around you and help put them transform.

Poor leaders fail to lead by example. They often ask others to do things they don’t want to do themselves. It may even be unintended, but the result is a loss of respect. Demonstrate for them how the best leaders roll up their sleeves and lead by example, always in with their team, always walking their talk.

Poor leaders communicate ineffectively. Just as most people think they’re good drivers when many are not, most leaders like to think of themselves as good communicators. If you know a leader who likes to pat themselves on the back for their communication skills, show them how great leaders assess whether their message is getting through and work constantly to develop their ability to communicate effectively and meaningfully.

Poor leaders are secretive and slow to share information. They’re stingy with the things they know and reluctant to help others benefit from their expertise. Their teams are closed off groups that treat information as power over others. Show these people that good leadership is open and transparent, communicating frequently and clearly and working to share their knowledge and expertise as widely as possible.

Poor leaders encourage competition over cooperation. They enjoy pitting one person against another, saying that competition is good for the team. And it’s true to  a point—competition is good for the team, when makes them more productive and effective. But when it undermines the team itself, it’s an example of truly terrible leadership. Show them that success occurs when collaboration and cooperation, rather than competition, are at the forefront of a team’s dynamics.

Poor leaders have low expectations. Some leaders try to fake success by minimizing challenges and setting a low bar for their team. This behavior often has its origin in a deep fear of failure. Show them how to challenge people to do better and be more, and that you get more when you expect more.

Poor leaders are unable to empower their people. The core of leadership is being able to motivate or inspire a team, and if they can’t do that, they’re truly failing to lead. Show them how to bring out the best in others by helping them believe in themselves and their abilities, by providing encouragement, support and assistance when it’s needed, and by letting your team know you’re invested in their success.

Poor leaders are always looking around, never ahead. It’s easy for weak leaders to become so preoccupied with day-to-day challenges that they neglect to prepare for what’s coming at them. Show them how to stop and look at the bigger picture so they can see potential problems sooner, focusing more on strategy and less on tactics.

Lead from within: Even the worst, weakest leader has the potential to become not just a good leader but a great one.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. John

    14. Dec, 2018

    Hi Lolly,

    Great Content !

    I am going to share this article on my social channels.

    Reply to this comment

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