Dealing with Destructive Leadership

Wise leaders give and receive correction.

Incompetent leaders tear down and poison relationships.

Correction cp. criticism:

  1. Correction builds up. Criticism tears down.
  2. Correction looks to the future. Criticism camps in the past.
  3. Correction makes something better. Criticism points out what’s wrong.
  4. Correction is for the advantage of others. Criticism is for personal protection.

Criticism is a relationship killer.

Destructus Maximus:

Critics belong to the genus Destructus Maximus.

Anyone can tear down. It takes insight, skill, and compassion to build up.

You’re a relationship killer if:

#1. You assume people have negative motives. (Yesterday’s post.)

#2. You magnify the faults of others and minimize your own. (Yesterday’s post.)

#3. The last time you affirmed, thanked, or showed appreciation the Wooly Mammoth grazed the ancient plains of the Arctic.

You’re a destructive leader if you haven’t said thank you in 24 hours.

If you think showing gratitude is for weaklings, you’re a relationship killer.

If the thought of showing appreciation to three people today makes your palms sweat, you’re a Destructus Maximus.


  1. Go on daily gratitude walks. No criticism allowed!
  2. Give personal affirmations to direct reports at least twice a month. Put it on your calendar.
  3. List the positive qualities of the person you’re meeting with – before you meet with them.

#4. You’re a relationship killer if you haven’t apologized since the Paleo Diet was invented by Fred Flintstone.

You’re a critic if you’re never wrong.

Leaders who use their strengths to evaluate others are critics.

You might need to apologize if:

  1. Team members are floundering.
  2. Your organization feels like a funeral.
  3. You can’t remember the last time you apologized.


  1. Take responsibility for the success of your teams.
  2. Avoid using the faults of others to justify your own shortcomings.
  3. Say, “I was wrong,” when you make mistakes.

What do leaders do that poison relationships, teams, or organizations?

How might leaders strengthen relationships?

What simple behavior suggested above might you practice today?