The Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders (And How to Avoid Them)

As an executive leadership coach, I have seen time and time again how successful leaders unknowingly sabotage their own success through certain habits that they fail to recognize as detrimental. These habits can hold leaders back from being effective.

Here are some habits of highly ineffective leaders, and how to avoid them:

Tempting to be funny: The desire to be witty and display wit can be detrimental to leadership if it involves sarcasm or remarks that hurt others. This can create a negative atmosphere and erode trust and respect among team members. The way to avoid this is to be aware of how your words and actions may be perceived by others.

Seeking to add value: Successful leaders may feel that their successes oblige them to chime in on every discussion and that their thoughts will add value. However, this can often lead to overstepping and interrupting conversations, which can come across as arrogant and dismissive of others’ ideas. The way to avoid this is to listen more and speak less, to give others space to express their thoughts and ideas and to be mindful of how your actions may be perceived by others.

Imposing personal standards: When leaders think they have the recipe for success, they may grow impatient with others and pass judgment on them, imposing their own standards and values on them. This can lead to feelings of resentment and disengagement among team members. The way to avoid this is to be open-minded, to be willing to learn from others, and to be respectful of others’ perspectives and values.

Being right all the time: The addiction to winning can lead some leaders to feel compelled to always emerge as the winner in every argument, discussion, or undertaking. This can lead to a toxic competitive environment where team members are constantly vying for approval rather than working together for a common goal. To avoid this, leaders should focus on creating a culture of collaboration, where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and working together towards a common goal.

Sharing negativity: As leaders, when things go wrong it is easy to have a tendency to constantly share your negative thoughts and opinions, even when they are not asked for. This type of behavior can create a toxic environment and discourage others from sharing their own ideas and suggestions. To avoid this, leaders should strive to maintain a positive attitude and to encourage others to do the same.

Withholding information: A common tactic used by some leaders is to withhold important information from others in order to gain an advantage. This type of behavior is not only unethical, but it also hinders the growth and success of the organization. To avoid this, true leaders should always strive to be transparent and open with their team, ensuring that all team members have access to the information they need to be successful.

Avoiding expressing regret: As leaders, we are often expected to be infallible and to always have the answers. However, this can lead to a fear of expressing regret or admitting mistakes. To avoid this, the best leaders know that expressing regret and taking responsibility for their actions is a crucial part of being a successful leader. It builds trust and respect with our team and shows that we are human and capable of making mistakes.

Successful leaders often sabotage themselves through more or less subtle habits they fail to recognize as detrimental. Leadership coaching can help leaders recognize and rectify these behaviors. By identifying and addressing these negative habits, leaders can improve their interpersonal relationships and become more effective leaders.

Lead From Within: Successful leadership is not about being perfect, it’s about being authentic and constantly striving to improve oneself as a leader.

#1 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.

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