What Leaders Hate

Every person has certain things that they really dislike, but for leaders this can be more pronounced as they are usually in constant contact with people. As you will see most things on the list below are things that should generally be avoided and by doing so they help you grow in aspects such as social intelligence. So in saying that lets dive straight in look at the most common things leaders hate.

  1. Having problems & not solutions
    For me, this has to be one of the thing that I dislike the most, the reason being that most leaders are often weighed down and quite busy and when people come to them with problems and not solutions as it tends to drain them. You also don't want to be labelled the person that is always whining and complaining where it gets to the point that your leaders try to avoid you.

    A suggestion would be that if you have a problem, try to come up with some potential solutions and then when you discuss it with your leader, you can focus on the solutions and not the problem.

  2. Entitlement mentality
    For those of you that don't know, the entitlement mentality can be defined as follows:

    A state of mind in which an individual comes to believe that privileges are instead rights, and that they are to be expected as a matter of course.

    So, in layman's terms, it means that you think that the world owes you something. For example, an employee may say that because they have been at the job the longest, they deserve the promotion. The promotion should be given to you if you have brought some sort of value to the team. If you have the mindset of "give me, give me, give me", people tend to not like that.

  3. Over reliant
    In these situations you will often find that people do the bare minimum, or expect basic things to be explicitly told to them, before they take any action. This often leads to frustration as typically you hire them because they are good at what they do. If you do find yourself doing this, you need to take a more proactive stance.

    I have recently had this experience, where a intermediate team member would come to me for assistance on any minor hiccup that he ran into and took no initiative in trying to solve the problem himself. The approach I took was to not provide him with the answers, but just a little bit of information so that he could go and learn how to investigate problems.

  4. Dishonest
    Leaders hate it when you are two-faced and say something to you, but when you are away they say the complete opposite. As I have said before, if you are not consistent in your behaviours, people will pick up on this and start to lose trust in you because they are unsure if you are speaking the truth.

  5. Disrespect
    A common thing that you may see in some teams, is that you have a person who likes to expose the leaders, or another team member, weaknesses in front of other people. Not only is this usually uncalled for, as everyone has some weakness, but it quickly breaks down trust between them.

    As with all things, disrespect may mean different things through different eyes. To some people, a simple thing such as not greeting people could be seen as disrespect, whereas to others this is completely acceptable. You need to learn what other people deem to be disrespectful and try to accommodate each other.

  6. Conceit
    Simply put, conceit can be described as follows

    Having excessive pride in oneself

    The problem with conceit, is that it often leads people to think that they should have gotten your role, as they could have done a better job, when this is not the case. When you have a new person enter a leadership position, the best thing that you can do is supportive of them. It really helps the leader feel more secure, especially if this is something new to them.

  7. Incorrect view of the leader
    Everyone has a desire to want to be understood, so it may come as a surprise to the leader that are seen as a dictating leader, but you don't think you are like that at all. In saying this, it is important not to judge people but see them for who they really are.

  8. Lack of ownership
    In this scenario, you often find that the leader has delegated some soft of work to you, but you find yourself "dropping the ball" or shifting the blame to someone else. This can be very frustrating for leaders, as they can often see through the masquerade. Even if you are only to blame for a small portion of your work, take responsibility for that piece.

  9. Passivity
    Have you ever been with someone who seems that they have had all their energy drained from them and have no form of enthusiasm? If so then, you will know what passivity is and how frustrating it can be for you. Leaders tend to be very passionate about what they do and may struggle to understand why you don't have the same level of enthusiasm as them.

    Another way this manifests itself is when you go to a meeting but your mind is somewhere else and you are not paying attention. People can often pick up when you are not "present" at a meeting. It is also important that you bring yourself into conversations and don't just sit there idly as the leader may start to question what you are actually bringing to the table.

  10. Not asking for help
    From personal experience, this use to be one of my problems. Not because I wasn't scared, but because I always wanted to solve the problem, as by doing that I would grow and learn. However, there is a time and place for this, as sometimes, if you just ask for help you can get to the solution a lot faster, which is especially important when time is tight.

    Another way leaders get frustrated is when members are not being honest with them if they don't completely understand what is being said to them. It is better to ask for clarification upfront than to go down the wrong path and only find out a good way down.

  11. Collecting injustices
    I think it is part of our human nature to keep a list of all the wrongs that a person has made over time, like the fabled black book that is kept in the cupboard. These will then all be pulled out on the day and all problems will spill out at once, which can actually cause much bigger issues than necessary.

    A better approach would be to be open about things and discuss them up front and find a resolution there and then. After all, as some point all these things will keep on building up and cause you to explode at some point.

  12. Lack of quality
    People are generally attracted to people who take pride in their work and no one really wants to have a poor product at the end of the day. Leaders also like people who go the extra mile and do their best to ensure that they deliver.

    You can easily tell the level of quality based on the amount of time that the leader spends on going over it. You don't want to be the person whom the leader has to have a "Plan B" as you may not get the work done. Instead, you want to be the person whose work rarely needs to be checked, as you just trust them. Make sure you double check your work!

I hope you found these items informative and useful to you. I myself know I am/was guilty of a few of these things, but with a bit of work they can all be corrected. If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the discussion section below.

Until next time...keep learning!

Mauro Da Silva

Learning everyday about software development, leadership & self improvement

South Africa