Deepak Machado : on personal growth

Top 5 Problematic Qualities of Mediocre Leaders!

Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.

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I read recently that 80% of employees tolerate a bad leader!!

That is 80% folks!! No wonder certain companies fall behind the curve while others lead in all the front. Not only that, it has become a commonplace. I thought it was high time I wrote something about this to let you know how serious this is.

We have a pandemic going around. But the bigger pandemic has been brewing about since a long time in organisations. 4 out of 5 friends I spoke with did not admire their bosses. They work because they have no other choice and fear losing out their jobs. One of my close friends lost her job because she stood up against her manager for pointing out what was right!

So, the threats are quite real.

I recently came across the following cartoon; I think it’s the reality, although funny!

Covid-19 digital transformation cartoon

After spending close to 12 years in corporate world, I’ve had fair share of good, great and not so great managers. I have learnt a great load of stuff from the good / great ones and learnt nothing under the ‘not so good’ ones.

As highlighted in the article, here are the Top 5 Problematic Qualities of Mediocre Leaders:

#1. Mediocre Leaders Blame Their Team Members:

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy
6 - blame cartoon -

This one is classic!

It’s the end of the month. And I had been busy with the month-end reports after my regular work. And everyone in the team received an email that was forwarded by the head of my department. This was sent by the sales department head complaining about the time taken for certain decisions. I worked in the credit risk department. The email contained nothing else than the copy that was initially sent. I was confused about this email.

Then we were called into a room to get an explanation about the delay in the decision making process. And it was one of the worst things that could happen to whoever took the decision.

When I started writing this point, this was the incident that came to my mind.

As a leader, it is expected that you lead the team into positivity. And this kind of empathy is what is lacking from the leaders. Blaming others is quite easy. Holding others responsible is easy. What is not easy is to acknowledge the shortcoming that happened and look forward to a better working environment.

Weak leaders succumb to the normal pressures. If you are not able to be a punching bag for your team, I would seriously doubt your capabilities as a leader. The best of the leaders only point fingers at one direction: themselves.

Blame does not inspire others. It only affects the team spirit. Real leaders share the successes but take ownership of the mistakes and failures. If you are a manager who constantly blames others, take it that you’ve already lost the respect of your peers.

#2. Mediocre Leaders are Selfish:

The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.

john maxwell
Selfish Leader | Cartoon Movement

Have you ever had a manager who was selfish to reward himself with the opportunities that come along? I remember I’ve had one. There were substantial opportunities for a training program for a team member, but what happened was the opposite. The manager nominated himself for that training. I am not saying I was entitled to that. But I felt that there were others in the team who deserved the opportunity.

But what surprised me was that these selfish leaders have the talent to hide who they really are! They are quite good with others and make it look like they care for the world while always manipulating their outer appearances.

As highlighted in a post about selfish leaders, here are their qualities:

These points are self-explanatory themselves. In a peculiar way, selfish leaders are self-centered.

#3. Mediocre Leaders are Mean & Uncivil:

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.

john maxwell
A mean cartoon man kicks another man right between the legs. - Buy this  stock vector and explore similar vectors at Adobe Stock | Adobe Stock

Has your manager shouted at you in an open forum?

It feels terrible! Taking bullets coming your way that too in front of all your colleagues! These kind of leaders do not care for the feelings of their subordinates. All they care is to provide a kind of feedback that are justified by them shouting or making you feeling down.

I have rarely faced this kind of manager. And even if I did, I would confront them. But I have seen some of my colleagues being shouted at and I felt very uncomfortable with that. At some point, I have also experienced a manager demeaning the decisions taken by the team member in front of the team. This wrecks the self-confidence of the person.

Managers or Leaders need to learn the art of providing constructive criticisms. The new generation does not really appreciate their manager or superior being mean to them. The mistreatment of the mean managers is also the reason for the low level of satisfaction in most companies.

#4. Mediocre Managers are Incompetent:

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Incompetent Cartoon # 8035 - ANDERTOONS

A company I worked was a cash machine for the shareholders. But then there were some completely bad decisions taken by the management. They hired a consultant to reorganize the processes. What resulted was the complete destruction of the company’s vision and business model. Hundreds lost their jobs and the last time I saw the company was still struggling from the poor decisions

This was nothing but poor execution on part of the management and exhibited the incompetence of the management. What surprised me was that the people who took the decision to implement such changes remained in the company only to prove my points on the incompetence!

We seem numerous instances of such companies and management in the society. Incompetent managers apart from being selfish also ruin the company resources and act like nothing happened. The society expects the leaders to equip themselves with skills and qualities to take the society forward.

#5. Mediocre Managers Do Not Take Intiatives:

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower

steve jobs
Cartoon – Importance of Listening | HENRY KOTULA

One thing I have experienced working with many managers was that mediocre managers lack initiatives taking capacity. They would rather let the things go as they are and often say, ‘this is what we have always done!’

They resist change. Not only that, but they also discourage others from taking steps to improve the processes or bring in new initiatives in the team or the company. I have experienced this first hand.

Mediocre managers are master delegators while taking all the credit for the work done by the team.

If you are a manager, your primary responsibility is to take your team along with you to the vision of the organisation rather than being on a selfish ride. Take initiatives and encourage your team to provide ideas for reengineering the process.


The world needs more leaders who are at the forefront of the change. As the world is changing at a rapid pace we require better leaders and better managers to help with the transition. There are several opportunities for you to shine among other leaders in society. Don’t be a mediocre leader and remain in the ditch. Bring in change and bring in innovation.

May you be well, May you be happy!

QUALITIES OF MEDIOCRE LEADERS

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