The 5 Most Painful Leaders to be Around

Some leaders are painful to be around. To be honest, sometimes you and I are the pain.

We’ve all been the leader others complain about.


The 5 most painful leaders to be around:

  1. Nit-pickers. You’re a bad case of heartburn when you belittle the 80% that’s good with the 20% that’s bad. (Enjoy the 80%. Improve the 20%.)
  2. Ball-droppers. You’re a toothache when you don’t follow-through and follow-up.
  3. Drama-makers. You’re an empty glass in the desert when everything’s a crisis.
  4. Down-in-the-mouthers. You’re a stone in a shoe when you always need a pick-me-up from your team.
  5. Hand-wringers. You’re an energy suck when all you see is what could go wrong.

Don’t expect success if you’re a constant pain.

5 surprising ways to advance your success with others:

#1. Care deeply about relationships. (It’s not just results.)

The most important relationships are with people who depend on you.

If you care about your future, care about relationships with coworkers, supervisors, and direct reports. The people closest to you are most relevant to job satisfaction, opportunity, and advancement.

#2. Invite and act on feedback.

  1. I’m working on connecting with the team. (Context enhances feedback.)
  2. What do you see me doing that strengthens connections?
  3. What do you see me doing that weakens connection?
  4. What suggestions do you have? (Seeking input elevates the status of giver and receiver.)
  5. Would you tell me when I do something that works? Doesn’t work?

#3. Advance the agenda of others, without sacrificing your own.

  1. What challenges are you facing?
  2. What’s important about this?
  3. What crossroads are you facing?
  4. How can I help?

Those who add value are always welcomed.

#4. Understand the difference between advising and advocating.

Advisers aren’t attached to advice. Freedom goes down as advocating goes up.

#5. Say what others fear saying.

  1. Point out inconsistencies.
  2. Describe negative patterns.
  3. Challenge and confront in private.

What types of people are a pain to be around?

How might leaders advance their success with others?