80+ Leadership Weaknesses and How to Fix Them

Leadership entails a great deal of responsibility. One must be knowledgeable in order for things to operate efficiently and adequately, despite difficulties arising along the way.

However, every leader has flaws. That’s why it’s critical to identify what they are to progress and address those shortcomings.

According to experts, the following are some of the most prevalent weaknesses that leaders may have, along with suggestions on how to fix them.

Holly Stokes

Holly Stokes

Brain and Behavior Trainer, The Brain Trainer


People-pleasing is all about trying to make others happy, whether keeping the peace, avoiding conflict or avoiding difficult decisions.

People pleasing can cost a business or organization thousands of dollars by not addressing employee behaviors or keeping the wrong person in the job, creating a loss of productivity.

People can also create favoritism and unfair treatment and lead to a toxic work environment.

The solution to being a people-pleaser:

Have pre-defined rules for the team. For example, being at work on time, dress code, or other expectations. When people know what is expected of them, then disciplinary actions are done by the pre-defined terms and not whether people like you or not.

Having set standards of workplace behavior and productivity sets the stage for fairness and reduces office politicking.

Difficulty with decisions

When we hesitate or procrastinate decisions, we can lose opportunities or not take those risks that help move a business forward.

The solution to decision-making:

  • Have a formula for company decisions.
    • What are the values of the company?
    • What are your goals and your vision of how it should be operating?

Knowing your strengths as an organization and your areas to improve.

As you define your top values and your ideal operations, you can more easily address new opportunities by asking: “Is this a fit for who we are and what we stand for at this time?”

If the opportunity doesn’t take you closer to your goals, it’s easier to be clear with no. Knowing your bigger vision and reviewing it regularly helps keep you on track with your success.

Shiny object syndrome

Many business owners fall into the category of innovative and creative minds. Innovators are great at seeing new possibilities and braving new markets.

But the curse of the creative mind is they see too many opportunities, and so they become easy prey to the “shiny object syndrome.” They can find themselves jumping from one project to another, often having multiple projects open at a time.

This can be confusing to the team and cause a lack of focus and productivity.

The solution to the shiny object syndrome:

  1. Define your priorities.
  2. Know your three to five-year plan.
  3. Know your one-year plan.
  4. Track these plans in a document.
  5. Then have defined monthly plans.

When new innovations or opportunities come up, ask these questions to clarify:”

  • “Do we have the resources (time, money, skills) to focus on this project?”
  • “Does it add to our company values, branding, and what we’re known for?”
  • “What are the expected returns on the investment of resources?”
  • “Is it a fit for us at this time?”

Feeling overwhelmed

We feel overwhelmed when the mind sees everything that needs to be done, but it’s not prioritizing. We then find ourselves flitting from one project to another, not focused, scattered thinking, and unproductive.

Related: How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed at Work (121 Powerful Tips)

The solution to feeling overwhelmed:

Pick only your three most important tasks.

  • What’s your first priority?
  • What’s your second priority?
  • What’s your third priority?

Stay on task when those are complete, then go back to identify 1-2-3 priorities again.


When leaders are not willing or able to release control, they tend to hover, nit-pick, or micromanage their team.

Related: How to Deal With Micromanagers

This is actually a low-level anxiety response of the mind. Still, the cost is that the team feels disempowered and unappreciated. Consequently, it increases the workload for the leader (which can be overwhelming), reduces productivity, and undermines your employees.

The solution to micromanaging:

The habit of needing to oversee or nit-pick employees comes from a deeper issue. The issue is not trusting others to do the job or to do the job right.

If you are spending too much time on other’s projects rather than what’s truly important, ask yourself:

  • “Do they have the skills and training they need?”
  • “Do they have the parameters of the job defined?”
  • “Do they know your expectations?”

Refocus your priorities on running your team, not hovering on their tasks. Appreciating employees for a job well done also gives positive feedback.

Give more positive feedback

When employees or team members get positive feedback, they know what is wanted, valued, or needed at the job. It’s like puppy training; the behaviors that are acknowledged and appreciated are the behaviors that get noticed and continued.

According to psychology studies on workplace motivation, people were found to work harder for acknowledgment and appreciation than for cash rewards.

When leaders focus on performance above all else

Modern leaders have a lot on their plate. According to Gallup, they need to be able to:

  • Build relationships
  • Develop people
  • Drive change
  • Inspire others
  • Think critically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Create accountability

Related: Building Strong Work Relationships

That’s a healthy to-do list on top of everything else. However, the ability to do all of these things often falls apart when leaders focus on one thing above all else: performance.

Whether it’s organizational performance, team performance, or individual performance, seeing individuals primarily as the output of their work and a path to profitability rather than human beings is a giant blind spot that we have suffered through for far too long.

This is not to say that performance is not important, far from it. The problem is that many leaders have their order of operations incorrect.

By reshuffling their priorities, leaders can have:

  • Performance
  • Engagement
  • Retention
  • Culture worth bragging about

Just looking at all of the reasons why people leave their jobs, it can often be boiled down to one factor, once you remove compensation: how do they feel?

  • Do they feel like they have opportunities to develop and grow?
  • Do they feel respected?
  • Do they feel like they can trust the people they work with?
  • Do they feel safe bringing their best ideas?
  • Do they feel connected to the company’s purpose?


People stay at companies where they feel safe, cared for, and inspired. This happens in environments that:

  • cultivate empathy,
  • focus on purpose, and
  • ensure people are properly compensated

People grow in companies where they’re given clear expectations and are held accountable. This happens best in environments where accountability is a function of growth and development rather than fear of losing employment.

People thrive in companies where they trust their managers and peers. This happens when managers step into the role of coach, create a team culture of trust and safety, and make sure to acknowledge people for their strengths.

Put people first

One of the fastest ways for a leader to turn things around and get more out of their team while building a better culture is to start seeing their team members as people rather than merely employees.

There are three factors that stand above all else for leaders who build high connection and high performing teams:

  • Care
  • Trust
  • Safe travels

Leaders who create safety on the way toward their goals, with teams built on mutual care and trust, are able to improve and have the resilience to weather setbacks continually.

Leaders need to remember that they’re not above the team; they are on the team. The biggest weakness that a leader can exhibit is forgetting that their ability to lead people is dependent on their relationships with those people. The easiest way to fix that is to put their humanity first.

Ansar Hammad

Ansar Hammad

CEO and Founder, Entire Looks

Leadership is a crucial part of running a successful business. But even if you’re working hard and doing your best, there’s always room for improvement.

Here are some common leadership weaknesses and how you can fix them:

Thinking too small

Great leaders set ambitious goals and inspire people to reach them. If you’re not reaching for things that seem impossible at first glance, it can be hard for people around you to understand why they should push themselves either.

Think bigger than ever before—and then take steps toward those goals every day.

Lacking in focus

The best leaders know exactly what their mission is and how to achieve it.

  • If you don’t have a clear idea of what your goals are?
  • How to reach them?
  • Where are you going, and how will you ever get there?
  • When someone asks you for the elevator pitch for your business, what should be the first thing that comes to mind?

If it’s not a clear-cut answer, it means that you need to take a step back and look at your priorities.

In order to lead effectively, you need to have a strong sense of what your core goals are. And once you have them defined, they will help guide every decision you make.

Not keeping up with industry trends

It’s easy to think of running a business as just managing a team, but that’s inaccurate.

Your job as a leader is also to stay on top of industry trends and changes in technology so that your company can grow and adapt with the times—and even get ahead of the curve.

That can mean anything from following new research in your field, keeping up with which apps/websites/tools are being used by people in similar positions or industries, or just getting familiar with trending trends.

If you’re falling behind, you might find yourself scrambling to catch up—or worse; you could lose your competitive edge altogether. And that’s why it’s important to make time to keep up with what’s happening in your field.

Difficulty recognizing that, despite their leadership positions, they have flaws

It can be very difficult to admit that you have a flaw as a leader. It’s natural to want to do things the way you’ve always done them, especially if they have worked well in the past.

But there are times when a new approach is necessary, and it can be hard to admit that the way you’ve been doing things just isn’t cutting it anymore.

There are two ways to fix it:

Think about where your process is failing

If something isn’t working, take some time to think about why it isn’t working.

  • What are the specific areas where improvement is needed?
  • Do you need to spend more time researching new ideas?

Write down what those areas are and set goals for improvement in those areas.

Ask for feedback from employees

Take a few minutes to talk with the people who know your area of responsibility inside and out and ask them what they would change about the way things are being done now.

Listen thoughtfully to their answers, even if they don’t match up with your ideas about how things should be done. They see things from a different perspective, which could help make your process even better.

Not asking questions or listening enough

Strong leadership isn’t always about knowing all the answers—it’s also about knowing what questions to ask and listening closely to the answers you get back.

Pay attention in meetings and keep an ear out for anything that could use improvement or any problems that need solving—and be sure to follow up with your employees when you take action on something they’ve brought to your attention.

This will help them feel valued and appreciated and show that you’re a leader who listens.

If you want to be an effective leader, it’s important to take time to listen to what others have to say, especially if you’re planning on making a decision based on their feedback or if they are providing information that could help solve a problem you haven’t been able to crack.

Related: 25+ Good Examples of Problem Solving in the Workplace

A lot of times, the solution to problems lies in the people who work for you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and listen closely to their answers—especially if you’re looking for creative solutions!

This kind of communication will make your team feel heard and valued.

Lack of delegation

One sign of a weak leader is someone who sees themselves as the only person who can do something right. If you find yourself carrying out a lot of tasks yourself or refusing to let people help you out, that might be a sign that you have some control issues.

There are probably several people in your organization who are more than capable of handling these tasks with minimal supervision and could use a bit more responsibility on their plate.

The next time you’re tempted to take on something by yourself, think about delegating it instead.

Diana Lowe

Diana Lowe

CEO, Blue Light Leadership

Business leaders don’t expand their definition of leadership

The problem with today’s business leaders is that they don’t expand their definition of leadership.

The biggest weakness I see in business leaders today is that they do not grow their view of what leadership means and how it translates to their specific role. I work with senior leaders and C-Suite Executives, and I notice that many still have an individual contributor mindset.

What I mean by “individual contributor mindset” is that an individual contributor does the “task” and then gets promoted. They keep doing the “tasks” and keep getting promoted.

However, one day they wake up and see that something is not working anymore.

There is a gap for many leaders where they don’t really understand that they are supposed to work on developing people in their team and working on delegating tasks instead of doing the work themselves.

So as they continue to move up, they feel like, in order to keep getting promoted, they have to do the work their way instead of letting go and trusting others can do it.

At the senior leadership level, when a leader behaves like that, it is called “micromanagement.

This can be very uncomfortable for leaders if they are used to doing the work and getting rewarded, especially if they feel like they are “competing” or in “competition” with people in their company to get promoted.

Almost every leader gets promoted to a level of incompetence, and if they are not supported in their growth, then this creates additional trouble in the form of imposter syndrome.

How I work with leaders to overcome this gap is through Emotional Intelligence Coaching. We are working on their mindset and behaviors in this type of coaching.

Related: 34 Best Ways to Make Emotional Intelligence Work for You: A Guide to Feeling Better and Making Better Choices

We create awareness about their behaviors and map expectations of what it takes to get to the next level in their career. We focus on what makes an impact on the company and their career.

Having a team of support as a leader is crucial, so I also work with them to craft a team of support unique to their needs to support them in their mental, emotional, and spiritual growth so they can bring their best selves to their work and beyond.

David Ciccarelli

David Ciccarelli

CEO and Founder, Voices

Leadership weaknesses are most often people skills

There are certain weaknesses that, when found in more entry-level roles, aren’t as severe as when they show up in people leaders. These weaknesses are most often soft (people) skills as opposed to hard (technical) skills.

You can teach hard skills, but soft skills are much more difficult to instill if someone doesn’t come by them naturally.

Some people achieve a leadership or management position based on a combination of their soft and hard skills, while others may find themselves there based on either soft or hard skills alone.

The most challenging type of person to find in a leadership role are those who demonstrate superior hard skills only, as one of the most crucial elements of being a successful leader is being able to lead people effectively.

When leadership is lacking in soft skills, the effects are felt throughout the organization as a whole.

Know the difference between ‘friend’ and ‘manager’

This one rings particularly true for those who may have been recently promoted, since only weeks before, and they were considered a friend or colleague on the same team they’re now managing.

In a leadership role, there’s a need to set professional boundaries in conversations and interactions.

That’s not to say it’s not important or alright to get to know your team as the people they are outside of work, to organize social team-building opportunities, or to be authentic in your interactions with them, but rather to highlight that the dynamic is different between leadership and direct reports.

If management is too casual or friendly with direct reports, parameters and expectations can become hazy, potentially leading to decreased productivity or efficiency.

Learning to set this boundary early alleviates months of potential challenges and helps to establish the new organization flow.

Exhibit empathy, not apathy

While it’s important to set and uphold professional boundaries, it’s equally as important not to let this lead to apathy or disinterest.

Exhibit empathy and understanding where possible.

If you are a recently promoted manager, or perhaps if you’ve been hired externally rather than from within the company, speak to your colleagues from a place of genuine understanding.

Acknowledge you know what it’s like to be on a team instead of leading one. Give specific examples from when you were a team member rather than a team lead—dig into those challenges as well as how you overcame them.

Earn trust by showing how you not only earned this new position but also have the experiences and successes to demonstrate the best way to overcome similar challenges in the future.

Acknowledge your shortcomings, don’t gloss over them

Even in—especially in!—a leadership position, you will make mistakes. Even the most prepared leaders are human, and missteps and failures are an important part of the human condition.

You won’t be perfect, but you can be honest.

If you don’t know something, have slipped up in some way, or struggle in a specific area, don’t hide that away. Be forthcoming with this information to demonstrate that you acknowledge you can always improve and you’re able to own up to your mistakes.

Honesty and transparency go a long way to help to build trust in yourself and your ability to manage a team.

Michael Moran

Michael Moran

Owner and Recruiting Manager, Green Lion Search Group

Micromanagement is one of the most common leadership failures

This is one of the most common leadership failures because it can seem like a good thing on the surface.

It’s a good thing to provide feedback to team members and keep track of their work, but it’s detrimental when it goes to the point of micromanagement because it makes employees feel stifled and can prevent them from doing their work to the best of their ability.

Micromanagers also tend to fail on the big picture side of management because they’re too busy focusing on the small details of the process.

Systems and training

Micromanagement stems from a desire to maintain control over the team and their work, and this can be a difficult impulse to fight.

Having clear, well-designed systems in place makes it easier to let go of some control because you know employees are aware of their expectations, and you have an easy way to check in on their work without them feeling like you’re looking over their shoulders.

Similarly, if your employees are well-trained in these systems, leaders know they can trust their employees to do the job they were hired for and won’t feel as much need to hover and meddle.

Poor communication

This can take many forms. The most basic is a failure to communicate expectations or necessary work-related information so that reports can do their jobs effectively.

Related: 100+ Examples of Miscommunication in the Workplace

Some leaders don’t feel comfortable giving “bad news” and so avoid giving reports critical feedback or failing to communicate issues with projects or clients.

Others are overly rigid in their thought processes and aren’t open to listening to feedback or suggestions from reports, preventing them from making changes that could improve the work environment.

All of these issues ultimately stem from the leader’s lack of communication skills.

Self-awareness and mindful practice

The first step is to identify where your communication skills are weak. It may be helpful to ask for input from colleagues or reports if you struggle to do this kind of self-analysis.

It can also help to consult with a mentor or another leader in your organization who is an effective communicator to get some advice on improving your communication.

Once you know what to work on, set an improvement goal and outline a plan of how you’ll get there, then make a thoughtful, concerted effort to practice and hone your skills moving forward.

Communication is one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. If you struggle to give critical feedback, for example, force yourself to do it at least once a week to get more comfortable with that aspect of leadership.

A shift in perspective can help here, too—remember that this feedback isn’t punitive but is meant to help reports grow and improve and will be beneficial for them in the long run.

Focusing on the ways that improving communication will increase the productivity, environment, and overall effectiveness of your team can help motivate you to make the improvements, even if they’re difficult or uncomfortable at first.

Sue Andrews

Sue Andrews

HR and Business Consultant, KIS Finance

Becoming fixed in your ways

Even the most experienced leaders need to keep up to date and remain innovative in their approach. It can be easy to become stagnant, which in turn can filter down your team.

People will stop coming forward with new ideas if they always get turned down and are faced with doing things the way they have always been done.

In today’s fast-moving world, being adaptive is a key strength that all good leaders need. To motivate those around you, you need to stay open to new ideas and be prepared to try a different approach. Otherwise, you risk becoming irrelevant.

Encouraging a culture where your team is excited to bring new ideas to you will not only aid their personal development but will lead to better results overall.

Lacking trust in your team

A good leader will encourage others to develop to maximize their potential, but some definitely struggle to let go and give staff the space and autonomy that they need to grow.

Instead of being task-focused, strong leaders will set the direction and goals of a project but not try to oversee every detail.

By appointing good managers and team leaders within their structure, they can focus on the big picture and pass responsibility for the finer details to those working with them.

To help avoid the temptation to micromanage, set up regular update meetings where the team has to report on key milestones.

That way, you can ensure things are progressing well and you are aware of any issues without needing to check on the details constantly.

Inconsistency in your approach

There is nothing more stressful for a team than not knowing how their manager is going to react in any given situation.

One day encouraging your team to think independently and then the next criticizing them for not reporting in more frequently will really hit the team’s morale.

It’s so important for leaders to be consistent in their behaviors, as this gives the team confidence. People perform much better when they aren’t feeling apprehensive over what type of response they are going to receive.

Everyone has bad days, but a good leader will always check their own emotions and not let them impact the team around them.

Avoiding the difficult conversations

As a leader, there will always be occasions when a difficult message has to be delivered, whether to an individual or the whole team. Dodging the issue and avoiding dealing with things will catch up with you in the end, and often the situation is then more difficult to resolve.

Being a good leader means being able to deal with those tricky situations in a calm and professional manner.

If you’re delivering bad news, you need to be clear and concise so that there is no chance of the message being misunderstood. While others may not always like the news you are having to deliver, they will respect you more as a leader if you deal with the matter head-on.

John Gluch

John Gluch

Owner, Gluch Group

Leaders’ biggest flaw is a lack of empathy

The greatest weakness I see consistently demonstrated by leaders is a lack of empathy. The command and control leadership methods of the 20th century no longer work, and a great deal of care, concern, and compassion for others is now required.

The leaders of today were informed and trained by top-down hierarchical systems that were designed to create obedient followers.

In the 21st-century, people are looking for leaders who will care about them as human beings and help them along their growth journeys in a holistic way.

As leaders, we must commit ourselves to practices that will help us unlearn the old ways in favor of the new. I have developed several regular practices to help me and my team grow in our empathy for others.

Desire to understand rather than to be understood

I have developed a habit of putting a five-minute event on my calendar prior to the start of every meeting. During those five minutes, I “sleep with” the person I’m about to meet.

This is a funny way of reminding me to think about what it is that keeps them awake at night.

What might they be worried about or excited about, and how can I enter into that space as part of our quick pre-meeting conversation?

The calendar event also reminds me to cultivate a genuine curiosity about the person and to understand that my way of seeing things is not the right way or the only way.

Now I can enter into a meeting desiring to understand rather than be understood.

Reinforce the importance of empathy

Our team spent some time determining which parts of the client journey were most stressful for our customers. At each of those junctures, we set reminders in our task management system’s templates.

Those reminders have five or six questions designed to help us put our own needs and desires aside and put our client’s needs first in those stressful situations.

These built-in reminders don’t just help us empathize with clients in a more meaningful way. They also constantly reinforce to the team that empathy is a priority for us.

We have also made empathy one of our team’s core values. Those values are discussed at length in our monthly all-team meetings. We also have internal chat boards dedicated to shout-outs among team members who catch others displaying empathy.

Look for outside sources that will help you grow

Thankfully, many great courses, podcasts, and books can be found on the topic of empathy. We regularly work through outside resources as a team in an effort to always be growing in this area.

Our focus on empathy has led to a much kinder, more fun culture, and as a result, our team member retention rate is absurdly high.

Stacey Kane

Stacey Kane

Business Development Lead, EasyMerchant

Two common leadership weaknesses that need correction in organizations are indecisiveness and over-criticality.


Leaders are responsible for setting goals and providing direction, motivation, and support for achieving those goals. They cannot afford to be indecisive, especially at crucial moments. A leader’s indecision may cause members to lose focus and trust.

At worst, the inability to make timely decisions can ultimately cause their teams’ failure to deliver.

The most common reasons a leader becomes indecisive are the lack of confidence and fear of repercussions. Lack of understanding is the most common cause of stress and indecision.

Battle indecision with research and realistic planning

Therefore, to fix this weakness, leaders must do their research and learn as much about the projects, the industry, and the people they are working with to equip themselves with the ability to make sound and timely decisions.

It is also best for them to be as realistic as possible with their plans and timelines and to have a sound decision-making framework based on pre-identified possible scenarios.


While leaders need to provide constructive criticism, focusing too much on people’s faults is not healthy.

Over-criticality is a leadership weakness that diminishes team morale, causes feelings of alienation, and often leads to lower productivity and higher turnover in organizations.

Temper over-criticality by growing empathy

  1. The first step toward fixing over-criticality is self-awareness.
    • Leaders must recognize that they need to be more empathic toward their people.
  2. Next, instead of merely pointing out mistakes, they should train themselves to always share positives along with the negatives.
    • They should analyze and address situations and circumstances, not people.
  3. Lastly, they should maintain respect and kindness in both words and actions.

So often, we only make time for budgets and strategic planning. As leaders, we are being pulled in so many directions at once that an extra set of hands and three more hours in the day still wouldn’t allow us to get to everything on our list.

Not prioritizing what is important

Make the last five minutes of every meeting — from large team meetings to one-on-ones — dedicated to anything but work.

  • How’s the kids’ soccer team doing?
  • Have they tried the new restaurant in town?
  • Do they have personal travel coming up?

As leaders, we need to know our team like humans, not employees, and that takes intention.

Not exemplifying a work-life balance

The concept is something we preach, but if we are not forthcoming when we practice it, our team may not believe it matters. Yes, you can send emails at midnight but if you leave early one day for a concert or a friend’s birthday weekend, let your team know why.

Related: Why Is Work Life Balance so Important in Today’s World?

Leaders set the bar for what is expected. Whether that impact is positive or negative is up to you.

Not being transparent about your willingness to learn

It is not a leader’s job to have all the answers. It is their job to find solutions. When you stop learning, you stop growing, which immediately reduces your impact as a leader.

When you show your team your willingness to admit you don’t know something but are open to learning, it sets the tone for the rest of your team that progress rather than perfection is the goal.

You admitting your shortcomings empowers them to do the same and then take action to address them.

Arthur Worsley

Arthur Worsley

Founder, The Art of Living | Author, Stop Working Harder

Remaining stagnant

One trap many leaders fall into is remaining stagnant or getting stuck on how they do things and how they like things done. This normally occurs when a leader achieves a few major wins using the same methods or approach and develops a resistance to change.

When a leader becomes stagnant, the team adopts a state of complacency with how things are. Such a state will automatically kill any drive or desire for innovation and change within the team.

With zero innovation, your company’s mission loses its worth, and your team lacks the motivation they need to pursue company goals.

How to fix stagnancy in leadership:

  1. Encourage feedback from all relevant quarters, including your clients and employees.
  2. Analyze the feedback gathered.
  3. Determine which suits the company best currently and in the long term.
  4. Finally, work on implementing these suggestions.

Taking heed to other people’s ideas, opinions, and observations will push you to change, grow, and adapt, all of which will help you become a better, more transformative leader.

Dr. Subodh Simon Karmarkar

Subodh Simon Karmarkar

CEO and Founder, RefundWiz

Conduct a rigorously honest CDIL to turn defects into an asset

Each leader needs to generate a Character Defect Inventory List (CDIL). Most businesses take stock of what has expired or what is not working. This practice needs to be deployed at the individual leadership level.

  1. Make a rigorously honest list of character defects.
  2. Make a commitment on what actions will be taken to manage the top defect for 90 days.
  3. Be transparent within your team that you are working on a given defect, so the leader is held accountable.
  4. At the end of the 90-day period, another progress check-in to determine if the leader can move on to the following defect of character.

Leadership is a work in progress and never has an “I have arrived” moment.

Conducting a rigorously honest CDIL will highlight defects that a manager can start working towards turning into an asset. A mid-level sales manager at a light manufacturing firm clearly had low self-esteem issues.

  • Under-mining subordinates and taking credit for subordinates’ was a common practice.
  • Berating employees for failure to meet goals was highlighted publicly. There was absolutely zero tolerance for accepting feedback.
  • Repeated attempts to the senior leadership team about this manager’s defects fell on deaf ears.
  • Morale in the sales department was consistently low.

The culture was such that staff would come in to work to ensure food was put on the table.

At a now-defunct national furniture company, senior leadership failed to listen to feedback from “in the trenches” staff.

Senior leadership decided to technologically transform the company from the 1980s IBM enterprise system to ultra-modern technology. The senior Vice-President of human resources had mastered the art of sending mixed messages.

In private meetings, there was an agreement that without formal training, the transformation would not be successful. In meetings with the senior leadership team, the VP’s message was, “you have to figure out a way to get it done without any formal training.”

Employees were leaving by the droves to competitors due to job dissatisfaction.

They concluded that without training there was no chance that individual goals could be met leading to poor performance reviews and missed bonuses. Employee recognition programs can have a tremendous impact on output.

Employee recognition programs need to take into consideration what really motivates their employees and not put in place a program so that the organization can publicize to shareholders that they too have an employee recognition program.

A program that belittles the staff or is elementary in terms of its construct reduces employee morale. The program and the rewards offered must have some intrinsic value.

In one organization that had a highly skilled and mature technical workforce, the recognition program consisted of giving employees stars. The program was ridiculed. Employee engagement was dismal.

Kathryn McDavid

Kathryn McDavid

CEO, Editors’ Pick

The following information is helpful on how to become more popular and well-liked amongst our subordinates.

This is important because it’ll account for employees being more motivated to do their jobs and essentially make them more productive.

Being unapproachable

I think all too common is the problem depicted by the typical representation of a senior or executive-level employer. They become increasingly unapproachable as they climb higher up the corporate ladder.

As a more popular and ultimately more successful leader, you want to ensure that your subordinates deem you to be approachable.

What will make them like you and inevitably look up to you and follow the principles you lay out is the ease with which they can reach out to you and discuss their concerns.

No one likes the overlord who cares about nothing besides for their ego.

An additional bonus here is that you might end up hearing some good tips and ideas from your subordinates.

Make it personal in the workplace

Although this tends to be frowned upon in certain workplace cultures, especially those that focus on a hyper-productive model of focusing exclusively on work, I believe it is necessary in order not to dehumanize one’s workforce in the long run.

As a leader, the onus is on you to regularly pop into your subordinates’ cubicles and workstations to have a quick chat.

Such measures often translate into increased vigor at work shown by employees.

Bottom-up model of communication

Last but not least, the typical top-down processing in terms of idea generation and decision-making authority are arguably part of an outdated business model.

What you want to implement is a model that incorporates, if not absolutizes, a bottom-up communication channel within the organization.

This may be based on regular team-based decision-making activities conducted as part of a larger group, where ideas from each level of staff are duly entertained.

Susan Melony

Susan Melony

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OnlyStitch

Inability to be transparent

A good leader is someone who possesses a certain skill set and some inborn qualities such as confidence, good communication skills, and authoritarian qualities.

It is unlikely for shy and laid-back employees to get promoted to a managerial position, as with great power comes great responsibility.

A good manager not only strategizes but also effectively implements, keeping in mind cost-effective methods and employee motivation. A bad leader might get work done, but sales might not rise as planned.

A bad leader is also someone unable to delegate either because of lack of communication or because they took matters into their own hands or failed to train their subordinates who did not complete the task as planned.

They could also fail to convey a message due to using the wrong medium of communication or the message not having clear instructions.

A lousy leader is also one who does not encourage team building and fails to motivate the employees. Employee feedback is not given importance, due to which they are demotivated and unproductive.

Moreover, not being transparent in an organization is also a sign of failed leadership as if the management and employees are not on the same page, they will be unaware of the situation of the company’s cash flows and strategies, hence ignoring the sides that need the most attention.

A good leader is flexible, knows when to change the route if the goal is not being achieved, does not overburden employees, and grants them flexibility too.

How to fix them?

Certain personality flaws can be worked upon. To achieve a managerial position and be good at it, a manager must have good communication skills or at least use the right medium of communication.

Messages should be precise, clear, and sent via the most frequently used medium. Follow-up on tasks delegated to employees is the best exercise of leadership.

Moreover, the management must not make employees feel unvalued and unimportant. Team meetings should be done frequently where employee feedback is recorded and implemented.

An approved business plan must be made with clear goals and objectives, and the way to go about it should be decided after extensive market research and budgeting.

Felipe Zambrano

Felipe Zambrano

Vice President, Avatrade Marketplace

Not learning to delegate and wanting to do everything yourself

I constantly think of a phrase I found from a book, “Be more like Yoda, and Less than Superman.”

What this means is that you have to let your employees run with the projects. Let them fail, let them lead. When I want to lead them in a specific direction, I ask open-ended questions about potential flaws or weaknesses in their current plan.

By asking open-ended questions, you guide them without calling out the answer.

That helps them reach the “AHA” moment without you swooping in to save the day. You should be comfortable in letting your staff fail, or delay the project, as this will help them grow in the long run.

As a manager, you need to build up your team to be strong to make decisions by themselves and not rely on you for everything. Like the child that touches the hot stove, they will never do that again.

Let your employees figure things out on their own.

Another phrase that always resonates in my mind is “It’s better done than perfect.” With that in mind, there are several ways to tackle a problem, and your team might be creative in different ways to reach the finish line.

By letting them lead projects and be more independent, you can accomplish more as well. You must transition from “doing” to “leading/mentoring.

As a manager, you need to oversee different tasks and responsibilities, and by relying on your team, you should be able to think more strategically and think of other opportunities or projects you and your team can contribute to.

The other positive side of this is that you will also learn how to tackle projects in different ways.

By letting others lead and manage projects, you can learn from them and expand your ways of solving problems, whether it’s leveraging new technologies or cooperating with other team members or departments.

With that said, be the Yoda to your team.

Sasha Armstrong

Sasha Armstrong

Creator and Founder, Canine State of Mind

It may manifest as a disengaged workforce and even more

Weaknesses in leadership can look like an uninspired team at work, uncooperative children, or even an anxious dog who is demonstrating aggressive behavior.

In every leadership scenario, struggles arise from a lack of truly embodying the characteristics of the alpha, which include:

  • Leading by example and with quiet confidence,
  • Possessing a measured self-assurance, and
  • Stepping into the consciousness of your own energy, thoughts, and feelings

To become the leader that you’ve always aspired to be, start within.

By recognizing how your thoughts, feelings, and even preconceived notions impact your body language and overall energy. You will begin to see opportunities for releasing limiting beliefs and behaviors and stepping into a state of robust abundance.

Often we think things “should” be done a certain way or leaders “should” behave in a certain way, and these subconscious expectations can impact our ability to inspire action. As you begin to identify and examine the expectations, simply let them go.

Only by accepting where you are will you ever get where you desire to be.

Powerful leaders operate from a place of self-love and do not attempt to control others. Instead, they lead by example with the calm and measured confidence of one who evokes respect and allegiance.

Everything that you put into your body impacts your ability to lead. So feed it with real foods, self-love, and peaceful practices like meditation and presence.

Being a strong and capable leader is accessible to everyone. If you listen to your intuition, pay attention to your thoughts and feed your mind and body with positivity, you will transform yourself and those around you.

Mark Koning

mark koning

Chief Human Resources Officer, Discover Business

Refusing to admit fault

It can be difficult to admit when you’re wrong, especially as a leader. However, refusing to admit fault can damage your credibility with your employees and make it difficult to lead effectively.

If you make a mistake, own up to it and take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Not recognizing people’s individual strengths and weaknesses

As a leader, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team. This will help you to assign tasks that fit people’s abilities, and it will also make it easier to identify when someone is struggling.

Take the time to get to know your employees and find out what makes them tick.

Failing to recognize people for hard work and good performance

It’s important to recognize people for their hard work and good performance. This will help to motivate them to continue working hard, and it will also make them feel appreciated. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be loyal to their company and be productive in their work.

Thank your employees for their hard work and give them recognition when they deserve it.

Jeffrey Nelson, MBA

Jeffrey Nelson

Business Owner, HappyCakes

All leaders have weaknesses. It’s important to identify those weaknesses and surround yourself with people who complement you and help fill the gaps.

The top three most common things I see in my employees are:

Not realizing they have weaknesses

This can be the worst of all. As leaders, we always need to be improving and moving forward. When someone doesn’t think they have an opportunity to improve, it’s very hard for them to stay relevant and continue to drive change.

It’s also a turnoff for others around them and the people they desire to lead.

Working “in the business” instead of “on the business”

Many leaders get caught up in the day-to-day instead of taking a step back to really grow the workforce and business.

When someone does tactical work all day, they are likely not engaging in the type of bigger thinking, relationship nurturing, and vision work necessary to be a great leader.

Not listening enough

Leaders need to listen. Many times you’re listening to the same thing you’ve heard a million times. It doesn’t matter, and you need to keep listening. When leaders listen to their team, great things happen.

People often want to be heard.

Take some sort of action. Take the time to listen to your employees and actually respond to them. Even if their ideas or goals aren’t attainable, at least in the short term, it makes people feel better to be heard and valued.

Andrew Lokenauth

Andrew Lokenauth

Founder, Fluent in Finance

A big weakness is trying to do everything yourself

This is inefficient. When work is delegated effectively, it is done efficiently. You need to know your team and their strengths so you can delegate in the best way possible.

Not understanding your team or their capabilities is a major flaw

In terms of delegation, there are only so many hours in a day, so when I need to know which staff members are best equipped to accomplish the goal within the parameters set.

To get the most out of your team, a great tip is to hold 15-minute weekly one-on-ones to discuss the prior, current, and upcoming week and how things are going.

Coaching is important, so hold periodic meetings to discuss the goals of each member, provide feedback, and answer questions. This will also help build a great rapport among your reports and learn their skills.

Poor communication and lack of action-oriented leadership

A great manager should be a great teacher and great communicator and always willing to roll up their sleeves in order to help their team. A good manager is a good communicator and leads by action.

Good managers give clear directions and keep lines of communication open, and are readily available to jump in to roll up their sleeves or offer guidance and assistance.

Don’t always wait to be called up by your reports, do informal check-ins to see how they are doing:

  • Workwise
  • General job satisfaction
  • Personal life

Joseph Gardzina

joseph gardzina

CEO, ADAPT Programs

Why is authentic leadership sought after?

Authentic leaders are ones that lead with honesty, transparency, and genuineness. An authentic leader motivates employees, and productivity is increased when working under a strong, authentic leader since a healthy company culture is created.

The foundation of authenticity in leadership is self-reflection. One must know their own weakness to better them and understand their shortcoming before they can lead their team and understand their weaknesses.

Sugarcoating ideas will lead to staggering growth

Firstly, it is of utmost importance to be completely honest with your team. Explain to them the reason behind each decision that they are involved in and be true when giving feedback.

Sugarcoating ideas will lead to staggering growth.

Sometimes, emotions might get in the way, but one must remember to rationalize those emotions and remain honest when sharing thoughts and feelings.

Be true to who you are

Moreover, consistency in leadership style is important for authenticity. Employees working under a leader want reliability. If leadership styles keep fluctuating, the team will find it difficult to place their trust in the leader, and wavered faith will lead to an inefficient team.

The best leaders practice what they preach

It is essential to set a strong example for employees to follow. A powerful means of leadership is making sure that your actions match your words. Not only will this encourage your team to trust and respect you but also look up to you as a role model.

Loic Bellet

Loic Bellet

Business English Language Coach, Speak Proper English

To be a leader comes with a set of problems. And while things may not always be simple, the great news is how you can always improve.

You’ll be able to make new ideas, be more positive, and drive the firm to new heights if you’re willing to recognize your flaws, learn, and grow through your failures.


There will almost always be one member of your team who shines above the rest, but displaying favoritism to them will land you in serious trouble.

For example, if you reprimand Mary for being five minutes late but let Sarah off the leash because you like her better, you’ll simply promote division among your team — and possibly even a report against you.

If you’re managing a small staff, make sure to treat people fairly.

Seeing things via a tunnel

Leaders must be able to shift with the times, as trends and procedures change all the time. What is appropriate today may not be appropriate tomorrow, and you must adjust accordingly.

If you’re set in your ways and believe in the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it,” you’ll soon find yourself with your own since you didn’t update your leadership strategy.

Putting a premium on experience above potential

There are a few supervisors who solely examine people’s experiences rather than the potential that the other person may have. Some of your most exemplary employees are unlikely to be the most experienced, but they are quick learners with a desire to give the best potential results.

Don’t pass on an opportunity to demonstrate their worth because they lack professional experience on their résumé.

Ouriel Lemmel

Ouriel Lemmel

CEO and Founder, WinIt

Needing to be liked

This can be difficult to recognize in yourself, but the need to constantly be in everyone’s good favor can often lead to bad business judgment. Leaders sometimes have to make unpopular decisions, and standing by them may make you unpopular.

The way to address this flaw is to explain your unpopular decisions to your team and take the time to clarify your reasoning behind them. You will gain the respect of your employees, even if they may not like what they hear.

Earning the respect of your workers is more important than being liked by them, and every leader should strive for this outcome.

Having goals for the future but no vision to achieve them

Your employees should understand what they are working toward. Most of your workers want to accomplish the goals you set for them, and you need to be the leader who inspires them with your vision to get there.

It’s up to you to create a clear picture of your vision and the outcome you expect from your team.

Remember, your workers will connect with your project when they know they are headed. No one wants to be kept in that dark, and your team will be much more motivated and engaged if they can feel part of the big picture.

Ricardo Luís Von Groll

Ricardo Luis Von Groll

Content Manager, Talentify

Leaders should first have in mind that their main responsibility is not to work themselves but with the people performing the work.

I think a leader’s main duty is to find a way to help teammates reach their full potential so that they high perform and results come.

Lack of accountability

Whether leaders are in charge of the teams’ individuals, they must account for the outcomes the team produces. It’s not blaming a specific person for lack of results. It is assuming that you may not have performed the best to help that individual reach their full potential.

On the other hand, even if a person does not hold a leading position, accountability is also a skill one should have. This individual is responsible for a certain job that is expected to bring a certain result.

Empathy or self-awareness

A leader must understand that there is a human being doing that job— no matter if you are the one doing the job. Somewhat this person couldn’t deliver what was expected- it includes the leader!

Assume that you were in charge of that person or that job and find why it hasn’t been done, but understand yourself— or put yourself in the other’s shoes.

Christopher Gadek

Christopher Gadek

Vice President of Growth, AdQuick


As the late General Colin Powell once said, “As a leader, you set the tone for your entire team.” And in business, leaders set the tone for the whole company.

If you get into the habit of micromanaging your team, you’ll start seeing how that leadership style is counterintuitive to growth.

While you want to ensure everyone is productive throughout the workday, obsessing over it is never a good call. Constantly pushing team members to perform may only train them to the point where their productivity level is high while the quality of work is suffering.

Quality and productivity should always go hand in hand. And in a hybrid work model, communicating with your team requires different strategies than on-site interaction.

But by speaking in regular video chats and voice calls with a clear focus on integrity, a sense of purpose, and a commitment to the company’s core values, your remote team will better understand the level of communication and accountability expected from them.

They’ll also build better rapport with their teammates, collaborate more effectively, and be more engaged. It’s a more dynamic way to give the team a sense of unified purpose and raises the likelihood of an organization reaching its goals.

Martin Boonzaayer

Martin Boonzaayer

CEO, The Trusted Home Buyer

Inability to establish clear expectations

Employees would prefer to be informed on what to do than to be left in the dark. By providing guidance and setting missions, you can encourage and keep your team on track.

When a leader fails to set expectations, their direct subordinates frequently stumble through their days without a sense of direction.

Subordinates desire to be productive; they desire to sense that their job is meaningful and contributes to a greater good. However, they are unable to prioritize their task without expectations or goals.

Leaders should set personal objectives for workers that align with the organization’s purpose

While it is critical to trust your employees with their job, this does not mean you should avoid delegating assignments and emphasizing objectives to get things started.

Leaders should establish personalized goals for employees and explain how they relate to the organization’s overall mission.

As leaders, it is your responsibility to provide a clear yet succinct image of the team’s vision and intended goals. People are far more likely to commit to a project or work if they understand where it is heading. Keep them informed as it positions them for productivity.

Stefan Wissenbach

Stefan Wissenbach

CEO and Founder, Engagement Multiplier

Some are resistant and defensive when offered feedback

One of the first — and hardest — leadership lessons many newly-minted leaders gain is responding to employee feedback.

Successful leaders are quick to understand the relationship between vulnerability and leadership and learn to embrace feedback from both their peers and subordinates.

However, for others, feedback can become a real Waterloo. Some are resistant when offered feedback, others become defensive, and in the worst case, some shut down entirely when the message isn’t one of glowing praise.

How to help a leader take feedback on board

First, it’s helpful to frame employee feedback as representing one of two opportunities:

  • The opportunity to correct a misunderstanding.
  • The opportunity to recognize a real issue.

If a leader feels defensive about the feedback they’re receiving, especially if it’s in the latter category, helping them first understand the source of that defensiveness — whether it’s insecurity, a misunderstanding, or made a mistake — will help provide clarity for the person doing the coaching.

Invite the leader to reflect upon the feedback and (if applicable) the issue at hand. Self-reflection is a crucially important tool for leaders, and the self-awareness it produces can be a superpower for those who challenge themselves to improve continually.

Kari Zee, PE, CPC

Kari Zee

DEI Burnout Prevention Coach and Speaker | Author, “Boss Up

The solo leader believes that asking for help is a sign of weakness

The solo leader thinks they have to have all of the answers. The solo leader worries about proving their worth. The desire to go it alone stems from imposter syndrome and further perpetuates the idea for others by showing them that working within a team doesn’t yield success.

Not only does this mentality isolate you, but it eventually leads to burnout through cultivating an environment that pushes boundaries and lacks support.

To fix this, leaders have to redefine their understanding of how success in this role is measured. Without a team, there is no leader. A leader without support and buy-in cannot call themselves a leader.

Focus on getting other people as invested and passionate about the direction you want to go, and they will gladly go with you and help you get there.

Scott Spivack

Scott Spivack

Marketing Director, United Medical Credit

Not being an active listener is a big weakness

Oftentimes, leaders force their thoughts and opinions on others which is a bad idea. It makes them sound like a control freak and intimidates employees.

Active listening makes others feel valued because you give them equal space to speak up and share their thoughts.

To develop this skill, create a habit of listening carefully to what others have to say. Respond with questions to get a deeper understanding of their thought process.

This will help you evolve as a leader that values others’ thoughts and encourage employees to develop a deeper bond with you.

Lack of emotional intelligence is a matter of concern

In the wake of the pandemic, people have been largely stressed, and they need others to be compassionate. This applies to workplaces too, where employees might be going through a trying time.

As a leader, you should be receptive to the emotional state of team members and respond in a way that comforts them.

To develop this skill, put yourself in others’ shoes and analyze how they might be feeling. This will help you analyze things from their perspective and provide an effective solution to make things better.

Related: Emotional Intelligence: What is it & How to Improve Yours?

Rajeev Kumar

Rajeev Kumar

CEO and Co-Founder, DocuCollab

Being overly critical of an employee’s skills

In my opinion, displaying signs of narcissistic behavior and being overly critical of an employee’s skills are some signs of leadership weaknesses.

A narcissistic leader is more likely to develop the complex of being constantly liked by their employees and struggle to let go of their tendency to self-praise, even when they commit mistakes, leading them to be hypocritical at times.

Related: 50+ Warning Signs of a Bad Boss or Manager

When leaders turn hypocrites, there is a high chance that they pave the stepping stone to creating a toxic work culture.

Additionally, when leaders don’t trust their employees and are not transparent or clear in their decisions and responsibilities, their employees are more likely to fall into the labyrinth of self-doubt.

They may stay directionless with uncertainty throughout their lifetime.

To overcome such weaknesses, leaders must start practicing the art of emanating a positive aura, filling their workplace with words of positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Additionally, leaders should observe their flaws and take measures to fix them by giving and taking feedback and implementing improvement strategies.

Mark Valderrama

Mark Valderrama

CEO and Owner, Aquarium Store Depot

Not trusting employees

As a CEO, I believe a leader’s responsibility is to guide their team towards organizational goals. On the other side, leaders frequently micromanage or take on too much.

Both occur because leaders do not trust their teams to perform as effectively as they do. Leaders typically worry about outsourcing projects to others because no one can perform them to their standards.

This mentality slows progress and makes team members less invested in a project’s success. As a leader, you must select a team that you completely trust and provide them the latitude to succeed independently. Building a trustworthy team starts with the hiring process.

Friedman advised going beyond a CV and using the interview to assess a candidate’s character. When you do hire a trustworthy person, make sure they hear it from you.

It’s vital that individuals you delegate understand not only the importance of the task but also that you fully trust them to fulfill it. This trust will lead to a more productive and efficient team environment.

Taylor Murchison

Taylor Murchison

SEO Growth Director, On the Map Marketing

Poor leaders are unable to deliver constructive feedback

As an expert, I would say the first leadership weakness is not giving any feedback. Poor leaders are unable to deliver constructive feedback; they may spot a little fault with one of their team members but fail to point out where they are failing.

If you don’t tell your employees about their mistakes and give them advice on how to improve, they’ll keep making them, and no one will notice.

Not having a long-term strategy

A true leader is constantly looking for ways to improve their product or service in order to achieve even better results. They’re always coming up with new and imaginative ways to move forward.

On the other hand, weak leaders are content with their current situation and lack the motivation to grow and improve.

Lacking in faith is also the biggest weakness of a leader

Your tendency to micromanage tasks undoubtedly goes hand in hand with your lack of trust.

While the latter may arise from your desire to oversee processes and be involved in every aspect of your business, the former may be the result of your lack of faith in your team’s ability.

Kris Parker, Esq.

Kris Parker

Founder, Hendry & Parker, P.A.

The absence of balance

“The secret to life is balance, and the absence of balance is life’s destruction.” The secret to leadership is also balance, and its absence is the weakness of many leaders.

Leadership requires balancing tasks and relationships. To effectively complete tasks, one needs to be focused on being successful in getting goals accomplished.

The drive and success that comes from this focus lead to respect from others, yet it does not necessarily garner likability.

When a leader focuses on building genuine relationships with those around them, that leader will be liked by others. This means taking time away from completing tasks to invest time to get to know co-workers.

This skill involves listening and authentically caring about their well-being.

Different situations call for different kinds of focus; however, it is important to strike a balance between tasks and relationships in order to be both respected and liked as a leader.

Sasha Quail

Sasha Quail

Business Development Manager, Claims UK


An attitude of “do what I say, not what I do” is poisonous to your workplace. You set the example for your staff as a leader. You must obey your own rules if you want your staff to admire and listen to you.

You can’t keep your employees accountable unless you’re prepared to put in the same effort.

A manager must have the greatest level of ethics and set an example for their team. If you leave work early or say something casually about a coworker, it will almost certainly be echoed by your subordinates.

To avoid this, a leader must:

  • Define their principles
  • Be hyperaware of their actions
  • Hold themselves to the same or higher standards than their direct subordinates

Leaders frequently want to make a particular sort of atmosphere, but they don’t want to be a part of the culture they’re trying to establish.

If you want to build a collaborative workplace, start by asking yourself if you already collaborate and share with others. Putting oneself in the shoes of others will pay off.

You don’t want to get isolated from the rest of the team, so don’t be distant or seem superior to your coworkers. Employees will be irritated and tense as a result of this.

It’s preferable to be honest with your coworkers about your weaknesses. Your entire group will be more honest if you are more candid.

You will begin to look more authentic as you gradually let people in and share your mistakes and problems, and your colleagues will start to trust in you. When you show your vulnerability, you become more relatable.

Yousun Allen

Yousun Allen

CEO, Yosun UV Printer

Failure to inspire and motivate people

This is a major issue that affects one out of every five leaders. The majority of leaders have figured out how to get things done. That is what we refer to as a push. Pushing individuals to complete tasks is an efficient technique to ensure they do so.

All leaders run the risk of becoming stuck in their ways at some point

While the existing method of operation may be effective, it’s critical not to allow yourself or your team to become complacent.

As a leader, the most important thing you can do for your team is communicate and instill a clear understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Without continual innovation, your company’s objective will likely lose credibility, and reminding the business of its goal will inspire you to collaborate and flourish.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook

Director HR, Mullen and Mullen

Lack of trust in your team

You might not trust your team to complete a project efficiently and within the deadline. You might be checking in on them several times during the day.

This will make your team feel as if their privacy is being invaded.

You need to make yourself understand that if you don’t trust your team, your team won’t trust you either. Ensure that everyone in the team is on the same page.

Stealing credit

An idea that you forwarded to the upper management claiming it was yours; however, that idea was presented by an employee working under you.

They might not complain that you didn’t give them credit where it was due, but at some point, people will notice this behavior and get you reported.

Daniel Javor

Daniel Javor

CEO and Founder, Step By Step Business

Leaders tend not to prioritize culture enough

I think the most common leadership weakness has to do with building company culture. Leaders tend not to prioritize culture enough. A positive company culture in which employees feel valued and empowered is critical to productivity and to employee retention.

Particularly now, when employees have plenty of options to go elsewhere, it’s important to pay attention to how employees are feeling.

How to fix it:

Recognize how important culture is

Positive company culture starts from the top down, and leaders need to find ways to connect with employees.

Employees need to be seen as people, not commodities, so establishing a personal connection is important. This will help to create a sense of being valued.

Ask questions of your employees

Another way to start building a company culture is to ask questions of your employees. Ask for opinions and input and listen to the responses. Good ideas should be recognized, and employees should be empowered to make changes that can improve the company.

This leads to employees who feel not only valued but that they are contributing in a meaningful way.

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav

CEO, Course For Me

Lacking compassion for others

There is a trend in business to substitute compassion and kindness for competition as if they were contrary to one another. The only way to fix this, in my opinion, is to begin to think of compassion and competition as complimentary terms.

The leaders who people look up to in the business world right now understand this.

Refusing to adjust to hybrid and remote work

Leaders have to be flexible and innovative, yet we’re seeing one of the ways we have always done things be challenged in recent years.

The problem is that in-person contact is not an essential part of business, so we will continue to see trends toward more remote work.

The easiest solution to this is to figure out what your talent needs and make adjustments to serve them. Consult other business leaders to hear how they are making this transition.

Michael Rose

Michael Rose

Founding Partner, Union Law Firm

Not taking responsibility for your actions and decisions

In my mind, leadership has always been about being able to step up to the plate and take responsibility for every decision and action that your team makes and having broad enough shoulders and thick enough skin to accept when something does go wrong.

Ultimately it’s a failure of leadership that’s probably responsible and that the person in charge has accepted blame for it.

Any leader who points their finger elsewhere and tries to blame someone else for that failure is in the wrong opposition.

Good leaders know that they have to take it on the chin and understand that as the face of the team, they have to accept responsibility for its failures, and bad leaders will always try to wiggle their way out of “trouble” and blame others.

What can be done to address this?

Unfortunately, not a lot, as it’s a character flaw that more often than not can’t be corrected, and usually means that the person who can’t stand up and be counted when they need to has been promoted beyond the level of their competence or ability.

And it also means that it’s time for the company to start looking for someone to replace them before the rot really starts to settle in.

Monika Dmochowska

Monika Dmochowska

Talent Acquisition Specialist, Tidio

If there is a hole in the wall at home, you probably will try to fix it — the same with the weaknesses of leaders, because a fish spoils from its head.

Not knowing oneself and one’s talents

To me, a leadership weakness in an organization is not knowing oneself and one’s talents. If you’re not aware of your abilities, you can’t use them — it’s like having a treasure you can’t use.

Consequently, leaders are not using them entirely to benefit their team and the organization. Consider resolving leadership weakness by purchasing psychometric tests for employees, such as the Clifton Strength test, which shows our most vital talents.

The next step is to discuss the test results in the team so that everyone, including the leader, works on their character traits.

This proposition is just an example, but in my opinion, weaknesses or deficiencies of leadership capabilities can be solved only by investment directed at their fulfillment.

Jamie Opalchuk

Jamie Opalchuk

CEO and Founder, HostPapa


Today’s workplace is always linked. As a CEO, I believe that mobile devices have facilitated communication between managers and staff long after the office has closed.

Managers may provide feedback on the fly and never allow a trivial decision to impede development.

The issue is that a ubiquitous, constantly connected leadership style can be damaging to both managers and team members. Leaders should be aware of constant connectedness’s impact on their teams.

This may disempower employees who assume they must be available 24 hours a day due to their management’s requirements or who believe their supervisor must approve everything.

Leaders must actively delegate decision-making authority to team members.

This is not to say that management should participate in every decision. Establish clear expectations and be quick to communicate, “I have confidence in your judgment.

Randy VanderVaate

Randy VanderVaate

CEO and Founder, Funeral Funds of America

The biggest leadership weakness is micromanaging

Leaders need to set the vision, provide guidance, and empower their team members to make decisions and take actions within that vision.

If a leader feels the need to micromanage everything and direct every little detail constantly, it shows a lack of trust in their team members and a lack of confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.

This will often create an environment of distrust and fear instead of one of collaboration and innovation.

The best way to fix this weakness is by developing trust with your team members (and additional training if needed). Show your employees that you believe in their skills and abilities, and give them the freedom to make decisions within the framework of your overall vision.

Alex Shute

Alex Shute

Founder, FaithGiant

Carrying the burden all by yourself

One leadership mistake that I have also been guilty of is carrying the burden all on my own.

Yes, you will be a source of strength for the team, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot lean on your team as well. Being a good leader is all about having trust that your team has your back as much as you have theirs.

Sometimes, the best ideas come from a collective team effort.

Be open with your team

An excellent way to fix this weakness is to be open with your team. It’s more than okay to ask for help, even if you’re the leader. Healthy communication and proper delegation of tasks are also important.

A leader isn’t required to be the best at everything.

Theodore Klein

Theodore Klein

Managing Partner, Boston Strategy Group

Applied Improvisation programs are highly effective in enhancing leadership

Many of our clients have found that Applied Improvisation (AIM) programs are highly effective in improving and enhancing the leadership competency of professional staff members and managers.

They identify leadership weaknesses in a non-judgemental setting and address the key development concerns of a majority of employees.

AIM teaches active listening and respect for individual perspectives and can achieve many intra-organizational improvements.

Furthermore, they accelerate staff development and are highly effective in building rapport and connections among business units with differing objectives. They are a key component of any corporate learning and development program and in diminishing resignations.

They also help build leadership, collaboration, executive communications, and management skills and competencies.

Lindsey Allard

Lindsey Allard

CEO and Co-Founder, PlaybookUX

Stubbornness to try and adapt to new processes

A major leadership flaw I saw in my early days as an employee was the stubbornness to try and adapt to new processes. I worked for companies and managers who would not even think about changing things up, and it made things difficult for the employees and — I believe — held back the company.

At the time, I didn’t recognize it as a weakness, but now I look back and shake my head thinking about the lack of changes in the companies I worked with.

This leadership weakness holds back many companies, and it can be extremely frustrating to work underneath. I try to do everything to stay away from this, and I communicate my ability to try new things openly because of what I saw in the past.

Kavin Patel

Kavin Patel

CEO and Founder, Convrrt

Struggling to balance between attaining goals and establishing a vision

As a CEO, I believe that 46% of business owners believe that the most critical duty of a leader is to accomplish goals, closely followed by “establishing a vision” (38 percent). Neither defining a vision nor achieving goals can be accomplished in isolation.

Without objectives, a vision would never be realized. Without a vision, goals will lead to an aimless firm.

As a result, both must be present and well-executed in order for a business to reach its full potential. However, many leaders struggle to balance the two.

This is either because the leaders haven’t found out how to construct a set of goals and accompanying methods for achieving the vision, or they have goals but aren’t very good at achieving them.

Determine which side of the fence you fall on and work toward striking a balance.

Nathan Hughes

Nathan Hughes

Marketing Director, Diggity Marketing

Not stating clearly what they expect from their team

One of the biggest weaknesses a leader of any team can have is not making clear what they expect from the team. Unclear objectives and instructions can lead to the team failing to achieve what the leader wanted. It defeats the purpose of forming a team.

A leader needs to know what the aim of creating a team is. Often, not being able to clarify your expectations is because you are not sure of them either. A leader should also make sure there is no misunderstanding about the instructions. They should repeat the instructions and be approachable for queries on them.

Maria A. McDowell

Maria McDowell

Founder, EasySearchPeople

Indecisiveness, lack of confidence, and narrow-mindedness are frequent leadership flaws

Becoming aware of your weaknesses through checklists and self-assessments can be the first step towards improvement. Avoiding situations that take advantage of your weaknesses is important.

If you’re unable to avoid them, engaging with someone who has experience in that area can help you determine how to work on it and overcome it.

Investing in professional help can be more effective than self-assessment in some cases.

There are many resources on the internet to help you understand your weaknesses in leadership, and many of the tests can be found free of charge. With practice, you can definitely improve your weaknesses, gain confidence and become a more decisive leader.

John Jacob

John Jacob

CEO and Co-Founder, Hoist

Having a fear of appearing weak

That fear can lead a leader to avoid making the correct decisions while seeking out the ones that make them appear best.

It also leads to a leader failing to acknowledge their shortcomings, which only highlights those shortcomings even more.

In my experience, the best leaders are ones who are confident in their strengths and in their weaknesses and know who to rely on to help support them for the sake of the people working beneath them.

Anne-Marie Faiola

Anne-Marie Faiola

CEO and Founder, Bramble Berry Handcraft Provisions

Too often, company leaders forget to take time to connect with their teams personally

This builds camaraderie and allows employees to feel seen and appreciated.

It also can help motivate them to grow into higher-level roles at the company. Finding ways to connect on a consistent basis is really important.

For example, a CEO can do a 10-minute Q&A at the end of every company meeting or have open office hours once a week that anyone can attend. There are so many ways to connect in a virtual world easily, and not doing it is a missed opportunity.

Michael Nemeroff

Michael Nemeroff

CEO and Co-Founder, Rush Order Tees

Not being able to say no

A leader must be able to say no, or else they’ll be swept left, right and center.

Making decisions isn’t always easy, but a true leader will be able to decide the risks worth taking, the decisions worth making, and when it is not a good opportunity for their business.

When a leader is unable to say “no”, they end up getting burnt out quickly, unable to focus on specific tasks, and sometimes even taken advantage of.

Chun-Kai Wang

Chun-Kai Wang

Developer, Snake.io

Often leaders tend to accomplish goals without having a strong vision

Leaders usually have this drive to be successful wherever they are to be the best in everything. However, this can get toxic if not controlled early.

It is important always to have a clear vision before you start working towards a goal.

You need to work on your goal-setting skills as well. If you focus more on short-term goals instead of long-term ones, you can quickly be out of track from your final goal.

Start with setting specific and measurable goals that have a long-term vision and always keep the vision in mind, as this will help create a more profound working experience.

It will also boost your productivity levels when you’re driven towards a way bigger goal for the long run.

John Gardner

John Gardner

CEO and Co-Founder, Kickoff

Not being open to change

The digital world has made it crucial for leaders to evolve and constantly be open to change.

If you stick to your methods, unfortunately, you won’t succeed.

The digital trends make users flock from one platform to another and expect businesses to adapt to their behavior. Because there are so many options available, users migrate to the one that does when a business doesn’t keep up.

In order to fix this problem, a leader should have a strong digital marketing team that keeps up with trends and make it their decision to evolve and adapt to what the users need.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I become more open to change as a leader?

Embrace a growth mindset: Recognize that change is an opportunity for growth and improvement. Adopt a mindset that values learning, development, and adaptation over maintaining the status quo.

Stay informed about industry trends and innovations: Keep up to date with the latest developments in your industry. That way, you’ll stay ahead of the curve and be more open to changes that can benefit your business.

Encourage feedback from your team: Create an environment where your team feels comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback. This way, you’ll get different perspectives on potential changes and be able to make more informed decisions.

Create an environment that fosters creativity and innovation: Encourage your team members to think outside the box and develop new ideas. This can be achieved through brainstorming sessions, innovation workshops, or simply by giving your team the resources and autonomy to experiment and innovate.

Be willing to take calculated risks: Change often involves taking risks. Assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of change, and be willing to take calculated risks if the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Learn from past experiences: Reflect on previous changes you have made – both successful and unsuccessful – and learn from those experiences. This can help you develop a more sophisticated approach to change and avoid repeating past mistakes.

Involve your team in the change process: Engage your team in planning and implementing change. Not only will this help you gain buy-in from your team members, but it will also ensure that the change is well thought out and supported by those who will be directly affected by it.

How can I prevent leadership weaknesses from developing in the first place?

Preventing leadership weaknesses from developing is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness and a willingness to grow. Here are some strategies to consider:

– Continually reflect on your actions and decision-making processes
– Keep up to date on industry trends and best practices
– Build and maintain strong relationships with your team and colleagues
– Encourage a culture of open communication and feedback
Value work-life balance and self-care to avoid burnout

As a leader, how can I overcome the fear of failure?

Identify the cause of your fear: Sometimes, understanding the cause of your fear of failure can help you overcome it. Take some time, think, and consider what might be causing your fear. Be honest and approach it with an open mind.

Embrace a growth mindset: Look at failures as a stepping stone to learning new things. Embrace a growth mindset where failure is an opportunity to learn and grow as a person and leader.

Set clear goals: Setting clear and achievable goals can help you gain a sense of control and measure success. When you set specific goals, think about how you will achieve them and realistically measure your progress.

Build a support system: Building relationships with trusted colleagues, mentors, or coaches can help you overcome the fear of failure. Get feedback and support from trusted people who can help you see things differently.

Take risks: Taking calculated and intelligent risks allows you to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. It’s essential to take risks in your role as a leader, and it’s also imperative to have a plan B. Confidence comes from taking risks, both highly successful ones and failed ones.

Remember that failure is a part of life and is not the end of the world.

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