Bad Leaders don’t exist.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 10.27.52 PMYou are either a leader or you are not. You cannot be a bad leader, you can be a bad person, a bad manager and a useless partner.

Leadership is leadership. If leadership is present, it is leadership. You cannot have bad leadership. A person could be leading people in a direction that we don’t agree with, they may be an opposition leader or a leader of the crime syndicate but that does not make them a bad leader. If a leader is able to influence people and they choose to follow this leader, leadership exists and you can only judge the action as leadership – bad leadership therefore does not exist.

Photo credit: nolnet / Foter / CC BY-NC

About RichSimmondsZA

Retired but still Disruptive
This entry was posted in LEADERSHIP and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bad Leaders don’t exist.

  1. Ian Bailey-Harris says:

    Thank you for the invitation on twitter. As stated earlier I do believe there is a quality scale, a scale of effectiveness for leaders. While I think labels are limiting, the labels we use for leaders who have empirically enjoyed a measure of success are : “Good”, “Bad” perhaps even “mediocre”. There may be more accurate words to describe their abilities,however it is fair to use these terms in generalizations albeit suffering somewhat from inaccuracy. Would you like some examples? I look forward to further understand your wisdoms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • RichSimmondsZA says:

      Ian thank you for your feedback. Conventional wisdom that subscribes to the quality idea says that quality is better than quantity. I always say try that with your partner – look them deeply in their eyes for 5 minutes and then ask how was that quality? They will simply slap you unless of course you have never looked them in the eye, then they may be thrilled!
      I would really like some of your examples. Another conventional wisdom is that the opposite of a leader is a follower, which it is definitely not and a perfect illustration of this is in the video on YouTube titled ‘The First Follower”. The real or what I call ’emotional’ opposite (because 80% of our communication is emotional ‘limbic’ communication) of a leader is a lazy person or procrastinator (someone who is not going anywhere and there is no action to follow!)
      In terms of the Bad Leadership idea, if someone is following a leader, they a leader, the question could be asked how can they be better and get more people into action by their example. Just thinking about it can someone set a bad example or is it simply an example?


  2. Ian Bailey-Harris says:

    There are many leaders who as a matter of fact “Lead us” without our consent. The difference may be simply “Being motivated or influenced” VS being obedient. We also allow others to engage in leading us without knowledge of how that relationship will play out. We can make a choice (at times) of how we will let this continue.

    When we say “lead” what is that referring to? It is a verb that points to a subject or object. Most organizations have a mission or objective in which leaders provide direction, management, innovation and motivation. There are evaluated on how well they do this. I do agree with you that morality or worthiness of the mission may be less relevant to the “Goodness” or “Badness” of the leader.

    I had a grade two teacher who told me that Black people were inferior and that I was worthless. The exact purpose of that leader was to teach, care for, motivate and present opportunities to me. As a result of this teacher’s incompetence, prejudice, lack of compassion and poor training, he actually defeated the purpose of the organization in which he was a leader. The organization (and it’s members) suffered as a result of this. This is an example what I call bad leadership.

    I look forward to more dialogue.


    • RichSimmondsZA says:

      Ian that is a great example, by definition however that is management that you are referring to, you definitely get bad managers, they are the ones who love titles and the bigger the title the more important they think they are. Leaders conversely are interested in the people and taking the people where the people need to go. That will mean they communicate the vision effectively to the people, the people then understand and choose to follow (they are not forced). Management forces you into a system and disregards people. MBA’s typically teach you that.
      What your teacher was telling you that he or she was insecure – many people who think they are leaders are actually insecure and they will show these types of behaviour. What we need to understand is that when insecure people assume a leadership role, they never lead and only try and manage. Invariably their are a lot of people who will suffer from this scenario.


  3. Ian Bailey-Harris says:

    Interesting paradigm. General or public perception is important. While I agree that this teacher was not “leading” but rather being an ineffectual “manager”, the impact of this teachers behaviour was not lost on a sea of others who observed this “leader”.

    I like how you have brought some clarity to the difference between management and leadership. We have to be careful not to allow the “Science of Leadership” taught in many MBA programs to disallow people to relate and express their experiences and feeling in a manner they best understand. In this we (the people) are saying as a collective. “We are being torn, ripped, diminished, marginalized and suffocated by bad leaders.”

    I do believe in the long term collective wisdom of the masses, this dialogue will serve to inform and empower people as the what to start to expect and provider in regards to leadership. Healthy growth is indeed “in the details” and depends on more than a superficial understanding of basic knowledge.

    As you have indicated leadership can and does come from anywhere, everywhere. It does not depend on org structure, honourifics, pedigree or natural selection. It is simply a choice “I want to lead”…consciously or otherwise.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s