Why Bad Leadership is So Common

As the first set of survey results came in, I was surprised. As the second batch came in it became clear — most people don’t believe they have a great leader. What was worse, the majority think they have an average to bad leader. It was hard to believe because Dave Redding’s definition of leadership seemed so simple:

“The ability to influence men to movement”

Redding a former Army Ranger and CoFounder of Workout Group F3 broke down leadership down into 4 implementable steps:

  1. Have a unique vision
  2. Clearly articulate that vision
  3. Persuade people to move towards that vision
  4. Navigate the obstacles on the road to reaching that vision


Listen to the whole podcast here.

One simple definition of leadership, four easy to understand steps, yet the majority of people don’t do it well. But Why? Here are the things “less-than” great leaders don’t understand:

It Isn’t About Them

Deep down all people know helping other people is what makes life rich. Bad leaders can’t seem to take this knowledge and put it into practice. They tend to strive for things they perceive fulfill them like money, power, ego, or material goods. But those rarely make the long-term impact of putting others first. Leadership is about treating people in ways that contribute to their long-term success and well-being.

Everything Rises and Falls Based on Leadership

A common theme among bad leaders is the lack of understanding the importance of their role. A leader can solely be responsible for the demise of a team or organization. Bad leadership creates miscommunication, poor culture, and lackluster results. The 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan said it best, “In the end, it all comes down to Leadership.” As a leader or future leader, your responsibility goes well beyond what you can imagine.

There is More than One Critical Component to Measure

Most bad leaders measure and judge themselves on one thing…results. Unfortunately, that’s only part of the equation. Robert Blake and Jane Mouton did some important work in the 1960’s to develop what they called the Managerial Grid. They identified 2 important components for leaders to focus on: a concern for production and a concern for people. It’s your job to balance the two.

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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.

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