12 Killers of Good Leadership

Leaders are learners. In fact, we should never think we’ve arrived. Always be teachable. Always grow. Along the way, there are certain qualities that can kill good leadership. A number of years ago I came upon a list compiled by Ron Edmonson which he called the “wrecking balls of potential.” If we fail to address these areas, they can prove to be fatal.


Here’s Ron’s list of leadership killers. I personally think they make a list for reflection and evaluation of our own actions and attitudes.

  1. Defensiveness – Good leaders don’t wear their feelings on their shoulders. They know other’s opinions matter and aren’t afraid to be challenged. They are confident enough to absorb the wounds intended to help them grow.
  2. Jealousy – A good leader enjoys watching others on the team excel — even willing to help them.
  3. Revenge – The leader that succeeds for the long-term must be forgiving; graceful — knowing that “getting even” only comes back to harm them and the organization.
  4. Fearfulness – A good leader remains committed when no one else is and takes risks no one else will. Others will follow. It is what leaders do.
  5. Favoritism – Good leaders don’t have favorites on the team. They reward for results, not partiality.
  6. Ungratefulness – Good leaders value people — genuinely — knowing they cannot attain success without others.
  7. Small-mindedness – Good leaders think bigger than today. They are dreamers and idea people.
  8. Pridefulness – Pride comes before the fall. Good leaders remain humbled by the position of authority entrusted to them.
  9. Rigidity – There are some things to be rigid about, such as values and vision, but for most issues, the leader must be open to change. Good leaders are welcome new ideas, realizing that most everything can be improved.
  10. Laziness – One can’t be a good leader and not be willing to work hard. In fact, the leader should be willing to be the hardest worker on the team.
  11. Unresponsiveness – Good leaders don’t lead from behind closed doors. They are responsive to the needs and desires of those they attempt to lead. They respond to concerns and questions. They collaborate more than control. Leaders who close themselves off from those they lead will limit the places where others will follow.
  12. Dishonesty – Since character counts highest, a good leader must be above reproach. When a leader fails, he or she must admit their mistake and work towards restoration.


So, which “killers” do you struggle with the most? What steps can you take to correct them? What would you add to Ron’s list?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Good list to review often and reflect on. Thank you.


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