The seven deadly sins of leadership


This blog is about many different topics you encounter every day as project managers. I believe my experience, knowledge and observations will be useful for your professional development, and I hope that this blog may become a good platform for discussions on topics like management, emotional intelligence, agile, leadership, project management methodologies, IT project management and more.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

The seven deadly sins of leadership

Technical leadership

In the previous post, I wrote about two different types of leadership: inborn leadership and technical leadership. I promised to consider the subject of applying technical leadership in terms of how you should not do. Watching for years how other leaders behave I found out that many of them make mistakes of the same types. So today, I want to write about them.

1. Leadership for the sake of leadership

As I said earlier, leadership is a skill. It requires appropriate and moderate application. However, there are managers who can do irrational things just because they think they should demonstrate their leadership non-stop. For example, when an urgent technical problem requiring quick solutions was occurred, one team member offers a good rational solution. The manager does not accept it, but either offers his/her own less successful solution, or adds confusion with some additional meetings to find alternative solutions. Here, as we see, the first aspect of the perverse understanding of leadership takes place. Many people think that the leader should always be the most active in the decision-making process. Nevertheless, this is not true. There is a huge number of situations where just to approve, to step aside and not to interfere – the best tactic of the leader. Think about it: don’t you do too many unnecessary actions to just demonstrate your leadership?

2. Inconsistency

It is very important that the decisions made that affect other people be justified. It is highly desirable that your colleagues/team can see how you came to a definite decision. It is worth to forget solutions like «I want so!»

If your behavior is consistent and the chain of your actions and decisions on the way to the goal is traceable for others – you will not only strengthen your leadership positions, but will automatically nurture the confidence and motivation of people who you work with.

3. Irresponsibility

As you know, leadership is often associated with making decisions. In connection with the perverted perception of the concept of a leader, many believe that everything that leaders do is decision-making. That is, take full responsibility for when things went wrong – it’s not for a leader. What do you think about the guide who led you to the completely wrong place and said: “Well, I have nothing to do with it” or even worse «It is your fault you followed me”? The true leader is always responsible for where he/she go to and where he/she will come to as a result. If you like, you can think of taking responsibility as a moral duty, which is a kind of payment for leadership benefits, but never forget about it.

4. Imitation

Some people try to be a leader using the method of imitation. It is especially unfortunate when trying to imitate inborn leadership type. It always looks unnatural, silly and funny and it’s much easier to detect such behavior than it may seem. Do not pretend a leader: you get nothing except the rejection and loss of respect from colleagues / teams.

5. Confidence in a wrong decision made earlier

I’m not talking here about when you have problems you should immediately abandon the decision you made earlier. Problems arise all the time and we, as managers, understand this perfectly. Here I am talking about the case when there is all objective evidence that the decision was wrong. And here it is no longer necessary to resist. Some believe in the dogma that the leader is not mistaken, but it’s absolutely wrong. All are mistaken. But as we found out earlier, due to the great responsibility the leader must acknowledge mistakes and correct the further way. Imagine the captain of a sinking ship who convinces everyone that there is no cause for concern and continuation of the designated course – the best thing we can do. It is a sad picture. However, I do not cease to be surprised by this naive feature of some managers.

6. Non-recognition of other’s merits

The leader is responsible where he leads to. This postulate creates a false impression that in the case of local or global success, it is a merit of the leader. But this is not always the truth. Therefore, it is necessary to clearly understand what and who has done to achieve a common goal and to encourage it. It is important to do it systematically, fairly and publicly. If a leader does not recognize merits of others or appropriates their services to him/her, this is a bad leader.

7. Failure to lead by example

If you are a leader and you want to inculcate a certain pattern of behavior to your colleagues/team you should show a self example. Expecting or demanding a certain behavior that does not match yours is a losing strategy almost always, but for a long distance – definitely always. The effect in this case may be the opposite of what you planned. If your team sees the high quality of your work, your fidelity to the business, then each of its members will consciously or unconsciously aspire to be like you. The leader is one who leads, the leader is one followed by others.


I hope this short list will be a kind of reminder for self checking and, perhaps, can help to correct leaders behavior. After all, only the understanding of mistakes leads to their correction.

Posted on: July 27, 2018 09:23 AM |



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here