The don’ts in leadership

I have had the pleasure of writing this column for over six years.  There have been scores of articles all about best practice in leadership and management.  It continues to be a privilege to do so. 

In a change of tack this issue, I’ve ditched the approach of sharing advice on all the good things to do, and instead have decided to focus upon all the bad things to do. If you really want to be the worst boss ever that is. These ideas can really help you by looking at things from a negative perspective – trust me, it works. Be honest, how many of these traits do you recognise? Read it and challenge yourself, please don’t blame yourself, but I urge you to make changes if they need to happen. Here is the leaders’ job description from hell…

First make sure that no decision is allowed to be made without your direct input, even if your view changes like the wind.  One day you want one thing, the next (maybe because you forgot what you said yesterday) you prefer another option.  Don’t allow anyone in the team to decide for themselves at whatever cost.

Never make the mistake of giving feedback whether it is positive or negative.  Stay silent at all times, and keep people speculating.  Force everyone to second guess your body language, or to analyse ‘how’ you said things rather than ‘what’ you said. 

Never miss an opportunity to correct even the smallest mistakes.  I mean, how could someone not notice that misplaced apostrophe anyway?

Always be unreliable when it comes to time management.  Be late, be early, generally never be on time.  Don’t wear a watch.  Bring deadlines forward at a moment’s notice.  Set deadlines, then forget about them – and leave all of that hard work hanging.    Be predictable in your unpredictability. 

Even if you are happy with things make sure there is always something you can express your disappointment about.  Develop a culture where nothing is right. 

Build a barrier around yourself that makes you unapproachable and makes everyone around you think you are too busy to be interested in them or their work.  You are much more important than anything after all.

Create a boundaryless culture and expect everyone else to be the same.  Over share your personal and professional dilemmas.  Ask too much of colleagues, don’t respect their privacy or their private lives or timetables.  Ask them to work early, over the weekend, or when they have booked holidays.  Invade people’s personal and professional spaces at work, online, on social media and on the ‘phone.  Email people at all times of the day and night. 

And never, ever say sorry.  Why should you?

Follow all this advice and you will achieve the status of becoming one of the worst people to work with.  And in reward, you will find plenty of opportunities to be working on your own, and then you can do what you like for a while.  Perhaps not for long though.

Photo by Craig Adderley on

1 thought on “The don’ts in leadership”

  1. This is very funny! But perhaps it shouldn’t be? The fact is that I have experienced working with one or more people who display some of these traits – sad as it is I actually think that there are those that revel in being just that kind of manager. I’m hoping that your ‘change of tack’ will grab the attention of those that need to make changes!


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