20 Habits of Untrustworthy Leaders

It takes more than good character to be a trustworthy leader. Don’t trust leaders who can’t get the job done, even if they are wonderful people.

An incompetent leader – who tells the truth – is an untrustworthy leader.


7 sources of untrustworthy leadership:

  1. Inexperience.
  2. Ignorance.
  3. Neglect.
  4. Incompetence.
  5. Selfish intent.
  6. Lack of character.
  7. Immaturity.

Untrustworthy leaders:

  1. Don’t trust themselves. They change their mind when they should stay the course.
  2. Minimize difficulties.
  3. Don’t know when to quit or change course. They lead into dead ends and failure.
  4. Run around with their finger in the air, seeing which way the wind blows. There’s a difference between listening to follow and listening to lead.
  5. Dangle carrots. They promise promotions but don’t deliver, for example.
  6. Lack compassion.
  7. Are ungrateful and bitter.
  8. Never apologize.
  9. Lack emotional control.
  10. Don’t trust others.
  11. Keep you guessing about what they really want.
  12. Lack transparency and candor. Don’t trust leaders who won’t tell you what they think.
  13. Get lost in the weeds and lose sight of long-term goals and purpose.
  14. Disconnect. Don’t trust isolated leaders who keep others at arms-length.
  15. Bury their head in the sand. Don’t trust leaders who won’t confront brutal facts.
  16. Reject feedback.
  17. Defend rather than explore.
  18. Hold others accountable but let themselves off the hook.
  19. Don’t stand up for others.
  20. Act like they didn’t screw up when they did.

5 ways to deal with untrustworthy leaders:

  1. Establish if they are a know-it-all. There’s no hope for someone who thinks they know when they don’t.
  2. Determine if the issue is character or competence. Remove leaders who lack character.
  3. Maximize their strengths.
  4. Compensate for their weaknesses.
  5. On a personal level, continue doing a great job, but protect yourself.

You might be a good person, but, are you a trustworthy leader?

How do you spot untrustworthy leaders?

How do you deal with untrustworthy leaders?

Thanks to my friends on Facebook who got my juices flowing on this topic.