10 Things a Leader Should Never Do

Feb 12, 2021 | Blog

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The Don’ts of Leadership

10 Things a Leader Should Never Do


I often write about the things a good leader should do, but today I want to talk about the things they should never do if they want to foster long-term success and maintain their integrity and the respect of their team. Here are 10 things a leader should never do:


  1. Yell. This should go without saying, but it’s important to treat people with respect – and that means never yelling or acting inappropriately in front of your employees. Fear is not a good motivator, and yelling doesn’t accomplish anything. In fact, it generally triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response in whoever is on the receiving end. Nobody wants that kind of behavior running their team.
  2. Micromanage. You probably weren’t always a manager, and it may be hard to let go of how you would have done things, but you get better results if you do. (Just think what you could accomplish if you weren’t micromanaging!) People don’t want to have someone hovering over them constantly, so hire people to do the job and delegate.
  3. Be a Dick. This includes insulting people, gossiping about others, and being generally toxic. Just don’t do it. Nobody will want to work with you.
  4. Complain In Front of Your Team. Complaining diminishes morale and sets you up to fail. When someone sees you speaking negatively about others behind their backs, they assume you do the same to them. Bye-bye, credibility!
  5. Do Shit You Don’t Want Your Team To Do. Avoid the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality at all costs. It doesn’t work. As a leader, people constantly observe your actions, so don’t be surprised when they copy you. Set an example by doing what you expect of your team.
  6. Have All the Answers. There is nothing to be gained from being the guy who knows everything. Especially if you don’t. You should be constantly working with your team and taking their feedback on board. Leadership is about the group, not about you.
  7. Ask No Questions. As Albert Einstein once said: “If you’re not learning, you’re dying.” It’s absolutely crucial that a leader continually learn, evolve, and grow – which you can’t do without asking questions, so get curious!
  8. Hire People Exactly Like You. You already have a you, and chances are you can’t do everything, so hire people that are different from you. Ideally, you should have a team with differentiated skill sets that complement each other. Think of it like the Fellowship: make sure you have a wizard, a dwarf, an elf, a few hobbits, etc…
  9. Fail to Make Decisions or Take Action. You’re in charge, and your team is depending on you, so you can’t be wishy-washy. Make a decisive action and stand by it. That’s not to say you can’t make a different decision later, but you’re steering the ship and you need to choose a course.
  10. Refuse to Own Your Mistakes. Young leaders do this a lot. It’s important you not only own your successes, but also your mistakes. When you win, give acknowledgment to those who helped you succeed. When you lose, take responsibility. Your team will respect you for it.

Now, there are folks out there that do these don’ts on a regular basis and are still considered “successful.” To that I say, sure, doing these things may make you a successful boss, but they certainly won’t make you a successful leader. Can one be truly “successful” if they’re treating people poorly in order to get there? In my book, you can’t. Want to be a truly successful leader? Join me for some one-on-one coaching and Level Up today!

There you have 10 things a leader should never do. Let me know if you have anything to add to the list in the comments below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


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