7 Traits of a Mediocre Leader

The majority of time we spend talking about the characteristics of great leaders and what you can do to start functioning like these people.  That’s all well and good but with self –evaluation being one of the hardest things for people to do, we tend to see most people thinking they are doing an outstanding job and blaming others for any issues.  I figured I would take an opposite approach and try to identify things that mediocre leaders do and how they can play a negative role on your team.

  1.     Delegating work and not authority

 Mediocre leaders don’t put their team members in a position to lead themselves.  Most of the time a mediocre leader is assigning a task they don’t personally want to do.  Delegating authority tells your team members that you trust in their ability to take over a project and gives them individual confidence that their boss believes in them.

  1.     Blaming outside factors for bad team culture

 A winning culture is built from the top down and it has to be something that all parties identify with and buy into.  When you have a bad culture, you have a problem at the top.  Outside factors can impact a team but a strong leader can learn how shield a team from a problem or use that issue to strengthen the bond.

  1.     Never falling on the sword

 Team members are going to make mistakes and suffer failures, some of them are able to handle it and some of them will struggle through them.  A mediocre leader will let that failure happen without stepping up to fall on the sword.  Struggles can easily start to snow ball as they continue to happen and can have a long-term effect.  Mediocre leaders allow that snowball to form and will often give it a push down hill.

  1.     Sacrificing your standards

 Are you willing to have self-inflected cracks in your armor?  The mediocre leader will have a fluctuating line for their standards.  Some members of the team will be able to get away with certain things and others won’t.  When a group of teammates can sit back and watch someone do whatever they want with no consequences you’re in trouble.  That begins the fracturing and resentment.  Those two things will cause damage that can never be repaired.

  1.     Glitz over Guts – Inability to recruit the right talent

 Filling your team with the right people is essential to any leaders success.  We can all go out and find thousands of people who look good on a resume and even sound good in an interview.  But being able to predict who will fit into your team and embody the standards you’ve established is the differentiator.  Mediocre leaders can get caught up in the smoke and mirrors instead of the meat and potatoes.

  1.     Inability to translate knowledge to execution

 Trust me there are a ton of very smart people walking the streets everyday.  Brilliant minds that understand every detail of a subject but lack the ability to translate that knowledge to execution.  Mediocre leaders understand the game but don’t know how to teach you to play.

  1.     Lack of willingness to adapt

 It’s a simple fact that we live in a world that is constantly evolving.  Things and people are changing all the time and we have to be able to evolve with them.  The mediocre leader is stuck in the ways things used to be done and everyone else’s should be adjusting to the old school ways of doing things.


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