When it comes to identifying what kind of a leader you are, how do you identify yourself?
I’m sure you have read a lot about being an effective leader and how leadership impacts an organization’s success, but have you ever thought about what are the signs of a weak leader? Who is a weak leader and how do we identify a weak leader?. The term weak leader does not necessarily mean that someone who is not a strong leader is by default, is a weak leader. But a weak leader definitely marks out certain identities that mark him as a weak leader. There are several leadership training programs that focus on what is leadership and how to work on building leadership skills. Yet the term identifying weak leaders is not much explored. Let’s explore a few signs that necessarily mark a weak leader. While you read, check for yourself, if there are any signs that correlate with you and how best you can overcome them.
5 Signs of a Weak Leader
1. They focus on position:
The early signs of a weak leader are that they focus much on the power that automatically comes with their position. They mistake their position as their identity to be a leader. With position by default comes to power, authority, privileges and people. But what doesn’t come by default with the position is politeness, humbleness, opportunity to help others, creating a positive influence on others, building the trust of subordinates, earning cooperation of fellow beings and respect from the organization. This has to be purposefully developed and learned by a leader. Now, this is something that a leader must be able to distinguish that what comes obviously and what needs to be worked for. This is exactly where the weak leaders make a miss. They grossly mistake their position to command and instruct people but forget that trust and cooperation come by taking people along and not sitting at the top and shouting for the tasks to be done. Check for yourself that how are you taking your new position. Are you finding yourself at a place where people are listening to your orders by force or by choice? This minor difference at your workplace can make a major difference in how you are perceived by your team members.
2. They refuse to take ownership of responsibility:
So when was the last time that you took the onus of something that did not work as you had expected to work? When was the last time that you shouted on your people because the task was not done the way you had wanted it to be done? Or when was the last time when you were shouted at by your boss for not completing the task within the timeline and you cursed your subordinates for not giving you the reports on time? If all or something sounds familiar to you, its time to check if you take the ownership of the responsibilities assigned to you or miss on the onus and find solace in blaming the other party, parties or third person, for that matter. It’s genuine to understand that there are few things beyond our control, which cannot be taken into our stride, yet there are many other things which we should have taken care or control of, from the very beginning. But just because we missed or chose to miss, we find it instinctively easy to blame others. That’s purely the sign of a weak leader. A strong leader, on the other hand, would take the entire blame on himself and save their team members from facing the obnoxious consequences. Now, here the facts may be known to all, but this act of a leader makes him very strong among his team members. The team members become more committed, trustworthy and extend their full cooperation. This helps the team members to go an extra mile and work more than what is expected from them. This is where a strong leader scores the brownie points against the weak leader who prefers to save his face first rather than helping his team members to self-realize and work with sheer trust and spirit of cooperation.
3. They lack decision making skills:
One of the most pertinent signs of a weak leader is his or her lack of decision making ability. They are highly indecisive. They keep on waiting for hours, days, weeks or maybe years for decisions that must have been taken in a few minutes. I do not say that decisions must be taken in a haste. There are several decisions that must be prudently thought of and their consequences must be well considered, before taking a decision, but ultimately the decision must be taken. Procrastinating the decision for an unlimited time on the pretext of pondering over a decision, is definitely the sign of a weak leader. Whether it is implementing a new strategy, hire a new employee, fire an unworthy employee or make an important discussion with the authority, a weak leader keeps finding an excuse for not been able to take a decision. A leader becomes a strong and effective leader when he displays the courage to take a decision, take a stand and work on it.
4. They keep complaining about insufficient resources:
Knowingly or unknowingly, a weak leader is mostly found complaining about lack of resources to complete his task. Whether its production, people, preparation, he is always in a habit to crib for limited resources available at his disposal. However, there is nothing like insufficient resources, but its all about unresourceful people with little imagination and initiative to work. As a matter of fact, it is the responsibility of the leader to make the things work and not the other way round. A leader is responsible to generate and work for resources and make the same available to his team. If the leader himself keeps complaining of a lack of resources, how would he work towards making the same available to get the task accomplished? This also reflects the sense of dependency of the leader, which in any case makes him a weak leader. A leader must be strong enough to make the things work for his team. This is what works towards building team trust.
5. They indulge in the acts of insubordination:
A weak leader not only complains about the lack of resources but is also generally found indulging in acts of insubordination against his own superiors. Here it is important to suggest that insubordination reflects your deeper values and belief systems. If in case you do not respect your superiors then neither can you expect the same in return from your superiors nor from your subordinates? In case you do not agree with your superiors, the best way is to speak with them directly. Put forward your opinion and views in a simple and straight way. There is no point either manipulating, exaggerating or reflecting a passive-aggressive behaviour towards your boss. This doesn’t work either way. Neither the productivity improves, nor the efficiency. Therefore, rather than indulging in any acts of insubordination, the strong reflects his true personality by either facing the situation directly or moving away from the situation. But not indulging in insubordination. This is the mark of a true leader.
We hope that the above-mentioned hints would help you to build your insights about how to be a strong and effective leader. There are no such essential lists that have ever been created that helps to distinguish an effective leader from an ineffective leader. There are different situations, which are handled by different people in different ways. However, it becomes pertinent to mark that the signs of a weak leader are essentially not present in an effective leader. I believe, a true leader makes his people rise above from where they currently are! Someone puts it aptly by saying:
“ If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, You are a Leader”