You are on page 1of 4



Negative leadership habits Part 1
By Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 19, 2017 - 12:00am

Habits start with a single cord when twisted, and repeated that strand of cord becomes a cable.

Habits are powerful. And winners know that if they cultivate winning habits they continue to win and
achieve greater heights. And when you look at people who do not seem to be achieving progress in
life, love or careers they most often times embrace habits that are not healthy and they can be
destructive as well.

Leaders have habits too. And while most of the head honchos of my corporate clients manifest, they
carry very healthy, admirable and excellent habits that have propelled them to their current positions
of leadership and have brought their business organizations to the top of their industry.

But there are still leaders or lesser ranks in their organizations who still hold on to unhealthy
leadership habits that pose as impediments towards their organization’s success and have actually
debilitate themselves from having a better future in their career as well as their personal life.

Let us take a look at some unhealthy leadership habits and perhaps in identifying any one of them
being aware of these while rectifying them can contribute to preventing a destructive, unhappy or
adversarial workplace.

Leadership flaws can easily be corrected with a slight tweak in behavior.

1. Talk too much listen too little.

This sends often times unconsciously a message saying: “You are not important to me…” “you’re
wasting my valuable time…” This happens because leaders presume they already know what the
person is going to say.

Listen more, talk less.

2. Trash talk and rude words.

Sometimes leaders use auto-pilot expressions: cussing and cursing as an outlet for their frustrations.
Others are quick in making critical or sarcastic comments that hurt people while leaders think they
are being cute and witty.

Show sensitivity and empathy.

3. Temper tantrums

Every time the leader loses his or her temper the immediate impression is that the leader is losing
control. Reputation as being volatile and unpredictable becomes the reputation and causes tension
throughout the workplace that kills creativity and productivity.

Chill! And apologize.
4. Glass half empty view.

When an idea is presented, these kinds of leaders immediately respond with: “I don’t think it will
work…” This kind of negativity is actually a disguise for an attitude that says, “I know better.”

Consider the idea and study the merits first.

5. Grab credit and suck up.

This is one of the most destructive leadership behaviors that have caused good people to leave their
organizations. People work, and the leader grabs the credit. This is an expression of “sucking up” to
the boss and the tendency of those who love to “suck up” is that they tend to “kick down” on others.

Recognize and give credit to those who contribute and work on merits not on politics.

6. Power play.

These kinds of leaders always view the workplace as a battleground. They withhold information so
they have weapons to use at the proper time that would advance their interest and positions. They
play politics all the time.

Name drop their bosses’ names and other dignitaries and causes factions and divisiveness within the

Serve do not dominate and rule.

7. Withhold recognition.

Insecure leaders would not want to show appreciation and would never recognize their people’s
accomplishments. They tend to think that people are expected to perform anyway and they are being
paid for the services they render. This kind of leader drives away good people as they feel that they
are not appreciated in the first place.

Compliment and appreciate them.

There is just no more room, time nor space for leaders to be exhibiting these unhealthy habits that
undermine people and slow down progress. Leaders have to be trained. Just like any other skills in
life, leadership skills have to be updated and upgraded and subjected to serious training.

I will continue tomorrow and present some more unhealthy leadership skills meanwhile, it would be
good to withhold judgment and conduct an honest evaluation of your own situation before you clip
this page and then start sending out to people you do not like.

Before we start pointing fingers we need to first ascertain that we have clean hands.

(Experience two inspiring days with Francis Kong learning leadership skills in this year’s first run of
Level Up Leadership March 15-16 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries contact
April at +63928 559 1798)

Negative leadership habits Part 2
By Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 19, 2017 - 12:00am

It has been said that there are six phases to a project:

1. Enthusiasm 2. Disillusionment 3. Panic 4. Search for the guilty 5. Punishment of the innocent 6.
Praise and honor for the non-participants

If this is the case in your organization then you can be sure of two things:

1. You have a lousy culture in your organization.

Close Ad X
2. And that is because you have lousy leaders and bosses who have created that culture in your

Many leaders have unhealthy leadership habits and when they do, they cause people unnecessary
stress and stifle their productivity.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
One wise guy says: “My boss told me to have a good day. So I went home to be as far away from
him as possible.” Some of us have “bad hair days” once in a while. But many people in the workplace
have “bad boss day” almost every day of their lives.

I have to emphasize and re-emphasize to the many participants that would enroll in my Level Up
Leadership that majority of the people do not leave their jobs, they simply leave their bad bosses.

Today is part two of our material entitled: “Negative Leadership Habits” where we left off yesterday.
I hope you find this material helpful in your own leadership journey. So here are the rest of the
negative leadership habits:


Good leaders are humble and they always pass on the credit to their team. The not-so-good leaders
cannot resist telling his or her people just how smart they are. They love to use the phrase… “I
know… I know…” So the way to deal with this habit is to hold your words and think first: “Is what I
am about to say worth saying?” And if the conclusion is no, then just smile and say, “Thank you.”
That will always be a winner.


“Traffic is horrible.” This is an excuse because you and I who are born in the country I love know this
as a fact of life and is no longer acceptable as a reason. Or “I was in a client meeting.” May be true
but is this the case all the time when the leader cannot be reached constantly? Leaders need to first
evaluate why such reasons are always being given. And when it is, then credibility in leadership

One prescription I would like to provide is so simple and potent and self-corrective. JUST BE

There are leaders who would go endlessly with tales and stories of the “Good Old Days” and how the
“Situation was better…” ad infinitum ad nauseam…

Solution? Live in the present and focus on the future.


Most people do not demand much but they sure appreciate being appreciated. Gratitude is a skill
that should always be developed. Saying “Thank You” is an exercise a good leader should not tire of


There are so many things leaders do that are simply dumb and unnecessary. For example, office
romance or paying too much attention on one individual simply because he or she comes from the
same province or were once school mates or frat buddies. Yes-men and yes-women always get
special graces from the boss but this is not healthy. It kills motivation and drives away initiative of
others to deliver their best as they have already pre-judge that future promotions and opportunities
will never go their way but will be handed to the boss’ favorites.

One word to deal with this: “Meritocracy.”


There are targets to achieve. I know that. There are goals that should be met. I understand that. But
leaders are to be coaches and mentors that would provide the inspiration and the guidance to get his
or her team to meet the goals. Sometimes obsessive leaders are too consumed with the need to win
even when winning does not matter. It is a root cause that leads to workplace conflicts, ceaseless
arguments, credit-grabbing, etc.

How do you deal with this? Concentrate on things that really matter. Think long term.

I am just heating up but the space is not enough. In my many years of my own business leadership
experience and the issues I hear from my corporate clients, now that I am doing a lot more speaking
and training, here is the one effective piece of advice I would like to present. And it sounds so self-
serving but I can assure you it is not.

Just ask the thousands of those who have experienced it; and that is the fact that leaders need to be
trained and potential leaders should be sent to leadership trainings.

Their people skills need to be developed, updated and upgraded. Two days of column space is
insufficient and two days of leadership training would not be able to cover all but at least more could
be discussed and addressed.

John F. Kennedy said: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I agree. And let me
add something to this: “Leadership and leadership training are indispensable to each other as well.”

(Bring your leaders to the Shangri-La Hotel Makati and experience two inspiring days of leadership
training with Francis Kong in his highly acclaimed and updated Level Up Leadership this March 15-16.
For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928 559 1798)