The Top 10 Things to Do
to Destroy Your Ability to Lead

by Chris Widener

   10. Treat others like you are better than they are. Your followers know that you are the leader. They know that you worked hard to get there. They will give you your due most of the time. What they won't tolerate is having you treat them as though you are better than they are. If we lead from a position that gives the impression that we think we are better than others, they will rebel. Refrains of "Who does he think he is?" will fill the halls.


   Lead boldly. Lead strongly. But in everything, be humble and communicate to people that they are of great value and that you appreciate them very much.

   9. Take credit for everything good that happens. When something happens that is good for the company, make sure that you take credit for it. "You know, if it weren't for my vision and leadership." That will destroy you quickly. People want to be recognized for their work. Remember, as the leader, you are being rewarded financially and in other ways for your leadership. Your followers in many ways only receive their reward in knowing they were a significant part of achieving victory.


   When your team wins, spread the wealth. Go the extra mile to acknowledge and reward those who played a part.

   8. Place the blame on others for any failures that take place. The opposite of number nine, if you want to destroy your leadership, is to be sure to blame others for the failures you experience. By this I mean primarily in public. I am not saying people shouldn't be accountable if they fail, but taking them to task publicly will destroy their desire to follow you.


   In public take responsibility. That is what leaders do. Privately, challenge your folks to grow in the areas that contributed to the failure.

   7. Cut ethical corners with a wink-wink. A quick way to get people to question your leadership is to do something unethical and then let people know you know what you are doing is wrong by the old wink-wink, "nobody will everknow" attitude. This teaches them that they can't trust you. If you will cut corners on others, you may cut corners on them. From this point forward they will hedge their bets with you.


   Become a person of utmost integrity. Be an ethical person with the highest standards in all situations. In doing so, you will build the kind of trust that people need to follow you.

   6. Talk about another person behind their back. Be sure to fill everyone in on all of the dirt you can scoop about someone else in the office. This will breed the idea that they will be next when they are the one missing from the group. It will teach them that perhaps you don't really think positively about people like you say you do when they are present.


   If you have something negative to say, or issues to air out with a person, do it with they only. If someone tries to get you to talk about someone else, simply inform them that you are working out that situation with the person in question.

   5. Think small. This will keep people from being inspired so they can feel unfulfilled. This will keep them from looking to you for the kind of vision and inspiration that followers look for in their leaders. It will let them know that you want to play it safe and not go anywhere of any significance.


   Think big. Get a vision. Figure out where you are going and then make sure everyone who needs to follow you gets inspired by your destiny!

   4. Remain stagnant in your own personal and professional growth. Stay exactly where you are. In fact, go back to where you were 10 years ago. Don't learn new things. Don't embrace new ideas. Resist change, especially personal change that will make you a better person. Assume that people should follow you because of your position of leadership rather than the kind of person you are becoming.


   Determine that you will become a person who is on a continual road of growth. Set your sites on continual personal and professional growth. Read books, listen to tapes, take classes and do anything else that will push you to become a better person and a better leader!

   3. Communicate once and figure "They will get it." This will let the know that you don't care whether everyone is on the same page or not. It will let them know that you don't care enough to make sure that everyone gets it. In fact, if you only communicate it once, most of the people who follow you won't even know you communicated at all because they will be gone the day you do it, miss the memo, or forget! This will guarantee that you won't be their leader!


   Communicate. Then communicate some more. Then communicate some more. When you are done, run it by them one more time. Now, repeat the process.

   2. Fly by the seat of your pants. Don't set priorities, or if you do set priorities, don't act on them. Act on whims. Be spontaneous. Chase rabbit trails. Don't stay the course. Choose one strategy, then another. You know, keep your followers wondering where they are going and what time they will get there. This will destroy you because it will erode confidence in the process and ultimately in you.


   Manage your time and priorities. Live by them. Set the course then follow it. Execute the well thought out strategy. Be at the helm and know where you are going!

   1. Be a pessimist. Don't think that you can get to where you are going. Assume you and the team will fail. Don't look at the bright side. Find a problem in every solution. This will keep your followers from ever getting inspired so they can sit and count the days until retirement or the day their lottery ticket hits. And they can feel bad and unfulfilled while they are at it.


   Be an optimist. Help people see the bright side of your shared sunny future. Tell them things will get better and then lead them there! You don't have to do things that will destroy your leadership. Take the following checklist and see if you fit any. If so, make it your goal to change in those areas.

  • Do I treat others as though I am better or smarter than they are?
  • Do I tend to take credit for the good that happens and pass the blame for the negative?
  • Am I a person of high integrity and ethics?
  • Do I talk about others behind their backs?
  • Am I a small thinker?
  • Am I growing personally and professionally?
  • Do I communicate regularly and clearly?
  • Do I fly by the seat of my pants?
  • Am I an optimist or a pessimist?

   Take the bull by the horns! Become a better leader. No, become an Extraordinary Leader!