Leaders Who Dislike PeopleArticle by Maynard Brusman, September 25, 2019
Leaders Who Dislike People
It may seem like a contradiction, but some leaders don’t like people. Although they technically need others in order to run a team, they behave in ways that indicate they have no need for them. This proves to be a significant liability and it’s generally not difficult to spot.
Poor people skills are an indicator. Leaders who don’t treat people well signal their dislike for them. Common signs include not acknowledging others by initiating or returning a greeting, and being non-responsive to questions or comments. Adding arrogance or disrespect is a more blatant clue.
A leader’s liability is even more pronounced when they are critical of their employees, criticizing, condemning or insulting them. An argumentative character adds fuel to the fire, clearly displaying a dislike for people. This cuts peoples’ spirits and destroys their self-esteem. Morale and unity get crushed, sabotaging productivity and team effectiveness.
Even when other co-leaders bring effective assets to the organization, an ineffective leader with liabilities can undo them, as leadership experts Robert Anderson and William Adams explain in Scaling Leadership: Building Organizational Capability and Capacity to Create Outcomes that Matter Most (Wiley, 2019). They put it succinctly by stating that “leaders with liabilities simply get in their own way.”
Anderson and Adams describe another way leaders display their dislike for people: being a poor team player. Unwilling to engage others, they rather work independently, keeping information to themselves. Withholding support may also be a way of avoiding contact, but it is a liability that handicaps the organization.
Pride plays a role in leaders who always believe they are right. The team’s position is not as important as that of the ego-driven leader who is never wrong. This throws up walls that block teamwork, and thus success. Employees have no tolerance for this kind of mindset and will express it with their feet.
A lack of follow-up is yet another way leaders reveal their dislike for people. This is often exhibited as a resistance to addressing difficult issues with employees: not wanting to hear their opinions or concerns. Not holding them accountable can be a way to avoid encounters. No one gets corrected, taught, instructed or challenged. This liability leads to disorganization and disruption. Rules and policies become meaningless and the company crumbles under its mismanagement.
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
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Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coach Federation
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Tags: ,leadership liabilities, emotional intelligence, executive coaching, leadership, leadership development, mindful leadership