How to Answer "What Are the Qualities of a Bad Leader?"

At one point or another, most people have thought about the qualities that make up a good leader. This is often a question that is asked during job interviews. However, have you spent much time in thought about the opposite perspective regarding a bad leader and the type of characteristics not to emulate? You may be asked this question in your next job interview, so it pays to be prepared. This article will address how to answer the question “what are the qualities of a bad leader?”

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1. Arrogant

Arrogance is not a characteristic that effective leaders exhibit. Individuals in leadership positions who have too much pride and never know when to ask for assistance are bad leaders. Bad leaders suffer from the condition of arrogance and won’t rise to success because they think too much of their abilities to handle all types of situations—alone. Arrogant leaders will not inspire much love and devotion from their employees or team leaders. Frustration and resentment are more likely to fester in that type of leadership relationship.

2. Authoritarian

Another response to this question is that authoritarian leaders do not make effective ones. Many times a bad leader relies more on bossing subordinates around rather than taking them under their wing to actually guide them in the right direction. An authoritarian leader will not inspire a following of loyal employees. These leaders lack the ability to foster positive empowerment in their team members and employees.

3. Unsympathetic

With regard to this characteristic, there is a fine balance between being sympathetic to employees’ needs and getting walked on. However, a bad leader completely lacks the ability to empathize with others’ needs and feelings. A good leader would be able to correctly read people and understand their perspective. Unsympathetic leaders will not succeed in cultivating respect among their employees and team members.

4. Indecisive

Leaders who have no backbone when it comes to making decisions and sticking with them are bad individuals to follow. Employees need someone to lead in a decisive manner where they can feel secure that they are being led in the right direction. Bad leaders are easily swayed and at a moment’s notice can change their minds, compromising their own integrity and decision-making ability. Leaders need to understand how to know their own mind and then translate that perspective into positive and confident decision-making.

5. Non-Risk Taker

Leaders who fear change and never want to take risks are not good leaders. They should not be in a position of leadership because their fear factor is decreasing their chances of success and hindering their employees’ professional growth. Acceptance of changing circumstances is sometimes difficult for everyone to handle. However, effective leaders have learned how to channel their fear into power to overtake the unknown and effectively take risks.

6. Overly-Trusting

With regard to this factor, there is a fine line that delineates a bad leader from a good one. A bad leader trusts everyone without doing proper research to ascertain the truth from the lies. This individual does not have an effective “truth meter” and generally misjudges situations and people. A good leader knows how to balance a trusting attitude with due diligence in regard to getting all the facts.

7. Workaholic

With regard to describing this quality in answer to the question, you need to define the delicate balance between working hard and overworking yourself to the point of burning out. A bad leader lives his or her life in an unbalanced fashion when it comes to their professional and personal life. This person works too many hours and is constantly on the verge of a mental or an emotional breakdown. Although fully functioning, this person is a ticking time bomb. A good leader knows how to work hard while finding the time to balance his or her professional and personal life.

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Most likely, a bad leader will embody a multitude of these characteristics. Just because a leader exhibits one or two of these alone doesn’t make this individual someone who should be banned from any type of leadership position. However, in order to properly respond to this type of question in an interview, it is important to provide a comprehensive overview of the various characteristics as discussed in this article.